Volvo S40, 2008

Volvo S40, 2008

When the current generation of the Volvo S40 and V50 were introduced in 2003, Volvo Cars had its sights firmly set on younger buyers with high demands on sportiness and premium feel.

The new Volvo S40 and new Volvo V50 are making a joint entry onto the market with considerably refined design. A range of new features further sharpens their competitive edge in the hunt for discerning young car buyers.

Fresh figures from both the US and Europe show that the company's focus on younger target groups has made a significant contribution to sales.

It's the figures for the USA that are most noteworthy:

* The proportion of S40 buyers under 35 years of age has increased from 23 percent to 45 percent.
* The proportion of singles has risen by 10 percent, from 30 to 40 percent.
* The overall average age of S40 customers has dropped by ten years from 50 to 40.

In Europe, the proportion of V50 buyers whose main alternative was a premium car such as the large German makes is now touching 47 percent - compared with 24 percent for the previous Volvo V40.

The proportion of customers younger than 44 years has risen by ten percent from 45 to 55 percent. And in Europe too, it is the more emotional reasons for purchase that are gaining ground among V50 buyers, more of whom are families with children than in the case of the S40.

Improved storage

Both design and technical refinements in the new Volvo S40 and V50 focused on improving the models' already highly appreciated characteristics and on tackling weaknesses identified by customers, for instance when it comes to interior storage space.

Sharper driveline range

The driving characteristics are already among the most renowned strengths of the two models.

One new feature is that the T5 engine gets a performance hike of 10 horsepower, giving an output of 230 hp. There are also five other petrol engine versions available, plus a bio-ethanol Flexifuel variant:

* 1.6 100 hp
* 1.8 125 hp
* 1.8F 125 hp (Flexifuel)
* 2.0 145 hp
* 2.4 140 hp
* 2.4i 170 hp

Diesel engines, which account for 55 percent of S40 and V50 sales in Europe and 25 percent in total:

* 1.6D 109 hp
* 2.0D 136 hp
* D5 180 hp

One change here is that during the second half of 2007 the D5 engine will also be available with a manual gearbox, offering the driver no less than 400 Nm of torque compared with the automatic transmission's 350 Nm. This engine is one of the first to meet the expected Euro 5 European exhaust emission levels.

The E85-powered (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent petrol) Flexifuel variant producing 125 hp is becoming increasingly competitive. The Volvo S40 and V50 Flexifuel are sold in nine European countries and in 2007 account for 8 percent of these models' total sales.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More