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Volvo drops hint of 20 Series compact models

By Tony O’Kane, 20 Apr 2017 Car News

Volvo drops hint of 20 Series compact models

Is Volvo set to expand its model family with a brace of compact “20 series” vehicles? An unguarded comment by a US executive indicates smaller Volvos could be on the horizon.

There are rumblings from Swedish car maker Volvo of a fourth family of models, with a senior executive alluding to a new range of compact-sized vehicles looming on the horizon.

The car maker’s current model line-up stretches across just three size categories – the small 40-series models that compete with the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, the 3 Series/C-Class-rivalling 60-series and the large (think 5 Series, E-Class) 90-series vehicles.

SUV variants are designated by an XC prefix, as in the XC60 and XC90, while wagon/hatch variants are signified by a V, like the V60 and V40. Sedans are signified by an S in front of the numbers and crossover versions of hatches and wagons get a ‘Cross Country’ suffix.

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But an addition appears to be in the works, with Volvo North America boss Lex Kerssemakers letting slip to US car mag Car and Driver that a compact 20-series model family is in the company’s future.

“The 90 is the biggest, and the 40 is the smallest. And when there is a 20, it will be a smaller one,” he said.

Note the use of “when”, not “if”. That kind of language suggests the notion of a 20-series range isn’t just theoretical; it’s practically a done deal.

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It could be argued that scope to expand the Volvo range was already built-in when Volvo committed to its present model designation nomenclature years ago, with plenty of numbers between the existing 40-, 60- and 90-series groups to exploit.

And there’s precedent: in the past we’ve seen vehicles such as the C30, S50 and V70 in Volvo showrooms. Those designations only disappeared when Volvo consolidated its model line-up into three distinct groups following its divorce from Ford.

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But the relatively small company has been fairly conservative with its new model rollouts, and Kerssemakers’ mention of an impending 20-series range – which would presumably be positioned against premium compacts including the Audi A1 and, in XC form, the Audi Q1, Mercedes GLA and BMW X1 – is unexpected.

There’s no clarity on when we can expect a Volvo V20 or XC20 to arrive, but don’t expect it in showrooms just yet. Volvo’s next-generation 40-series is set to debut next year, and an all-new range of 60-series models will also kick off in 2018 with the second-gen XC60. The 20-series will have to follow in the footsteps of those.