Volvo’s continued brand overhaul has taken another step with the automaker’s announcement of its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), a new platform that will underpin a range of compact cars that Volvo plans to launch in 2017. The new CMA platform will be similar to the company’s existing Scalable Platform Architecture, which already underpins some of the brand’s bigger models, including the XC90 and the S90 luxury sedan.

The announcement presents a clearer picture of Volvo’s plans as it begins reinventing itself as a bonafide luxury brand. Essentially, having two platforms will allow the company to streamline its production and create a more systematic way to manufacture its new models. Both platforms will still share engines and safety systems, but for the most part, each will be used exclusively depending on the size of the vehicle.

Specific details surrounding Volvo’s future car plans are still being withheld, but we already know that the next-generation V40 and the XC40 crossover will be a part of this transformation. Eventually, Volvo will replace every single model in its lineup in the next four years and double its annual sales volume to around 800,000 units. By comparison, Volvo sold 465,866 units in 2014.

The aforementioned XC90 SUV and the S90 sedan are the first two models that will usher in this new era for Volvo. Once the CMA platform is put to use, expect to see Volvo’s small car lineup to finally take shape.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

If there were still some skeptics who weren’t sure of what Volvo’s intentions are, the announcement of this new platform should finally put those doubts to rest. I admittedly didn’t see this one coming because I thought that the Scalable Platform Architecture would be used across the brand’s entire lineup.

Now that the Compact Modular Architecture platform is here, it does open up a world of possibilities for Volvo. In addition to the obvious flexibility the new platform provides, the company also said that the CMA was designed to embrace electrification. That’s a pretty clear sign that we should expect an electric car or two to be part of Volvo’s completely revamped lineup.

I’m interested to see how Volvo proceeds on using this new platform. It hasn’t made any announcements on that front yet, but if I were to make a guess, I think that the CMA will be used as the backbone of an EV model, a small hatchback, a small sedan, and a mini SUV that will compete against the likes of the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Down the road, I wouldn’t be surprised if Volvo gets in on the sports car segment too. Now that would be a complete reversal of the brand’s image. It’ll still pride itself on being a pioneer of automotive safety, but with this new platform in tow, it won’t be just about that anymore.

It really is a new day for Volvo and I’m excited to see what tomorrow’s going to bring.

Volvo XC40

2018 Volvo XC40 Exclusive Renderings
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Read more about the Volvo XC40 here.

Press Release

Volvo Cars is to extend its range of compact cars into new segments on its highly-innovative Compact Modular Architecture (CMA), a smaller but equally advanced version of Volvo’s acclaimed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The company’s first car on CMA is expected to be launched in 2017.

Volvo Reveals New Compact Modular Architecture
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CMA’s introduction in 2017 means that all future Volvo cars will be built on just two fully scalable and wholly modular vehicle architectures.
The simultaneous development of SPA and CMA has formed the cornerstone of Volvo’s product renewal and growth strategy, which involves the replacement of every single car in its line-up in the next four years and an annual sales volume of up 800,000 cars. This process started with the launch of the XC90 and will continue shortly with the launch of the new S90 premium sedan.

CMA allows Volvo Cars to offer customers of compact cars the same type of premium engineering benefits as owners of its larger cars built on SPA. Shared technology between SPA and CMA will include powertrains (both conventional and new plug-in hybrid variants) and the infotainment, climate and data network and safety systems taking the Swedish car maker ever closer to its vision of no deaths or injuries in its new cars by 2020.

“The flexibility of CMA liberates Volvo’s engineers and designers, allowing them to devise and introduce a wide range of new and alluring features whilst at the same time improving drivability, offering world-class safety features and connected car technologies,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Car Group.

Volvo Reveals New Compact Modular Architecture
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CMA will also change the way Volvo Cars builds its products in the future by allowing a wide range of cars, powertrains, electrical systems and technologies of varying complexity to be fitted on the same architecture, generating significant economies of scale and a more streamlined manufacturing process.

Volvo Cars’ CMA has been designed from the outset to embrace electrification – offering a new Twin Engine plug-in hybrid variant designed especially for the new architecture.

“We are in a terrific position with CMA. We have developed this new architecture as a plug and play component. This means that on Volvo’s next generation of compact cars you will benefit from the advanced technologies available on our XC90 today,”
said Dr Mertens.

Volvo Cars expects to significantly increase its global volumes with the coming range of CMA-based cars, which will have a truly global footprint and take the Swedish brand into exciting new product segments.

“CMA is a key part of the continued growth strategy of the Volvo Cars brand,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President, Sales Marketing and Customer Service at Volvo Car Group. “Apart from offering all the benefits and features of a larger premium car, such as the industry-leading safety, powertrain and infotainment technologies, CMA will deliver a true and distinctive Volvo driving and ownership experience setting it apart from others in this growing premium segment.”

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