Volvo Car Corporation is now releasing the first photographs of its all-new sedan in the compact segment, the Volvo S40.
With a revolutionary interior design, class-leading safety, plus power-trains that encompass both five-cylinder engines and four-wheel drive, Volvo's entry-level model is taking a confident and decisive step forward.
The new Volvo S40 has its premiere showing at Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
The Volvo S40 is the first entirely new model from Volvo Cars following the success of the Volvo XC90, the car that redefined the SUV segment.
The all new Volvo S40 replaces the current S40 which was launched in Europe in 1995. It will be the entry model in Volvo's S-range, which in addition consists of the larger Volvo S60 and S80 models.
"With the new Volvo S40, we offer our customers large car benefits in a compact format. This, combined with an exciting design and exceptional road manners, makes the new S40 a highly potent challenger in this segment," says Volvo Cars President & CEO Hans-Olov Olsson.
Expanding the brand further down the age spectrum is an important part of Volvo Cars' strategy - it is particularly important that the entry-level model should appeal to young buyers.
"We want to attract customers into the Volvo family as early as possible, and the new Volvo S40 will definitely appeal to younger buyers," comments Hans-Olov Olsson.
From the outside, the new Volvo S40 is unmistakeably a Volvo, a modern evolution of traditional design language.
The interior is a revolution, with a slim free-floating centre console - the first of its kind in the automotive world - creating an aura of exclusivity, simplicity and space.
"The centre console is a design icon for the new Volvo S40," says Henrik Otto, Design Director at Volvo Cars.
"We intend to pursue our position as innovators in the car design world, not looking at what our competitors are doing. It is therefore far more valuable to keep an eye on what they're not doing," continues Henrik Otto.
In the new Volvo S40, Volvo Cars continues its ground-breaking use of high-tensile steel. In the new frontal structure, four different grades of steel are used in a high-tech interplay to provide maximum safety for the car's occupants.
"Naturally, our goal is that the new Volvo S40 should be the safest car in its class, offering precisely the same safety levels as our larger models but within more compact dimensions," says Hans-Olov Olsson.
The new Volvo S40 is being introduced with a choice of 5-cylinder engines with the 162kW (220hp) turbo-charged T5 model topping the range, as well as a 100kW (136hp) 4-cylinder turbodiesel. The diesel will not be sold on the Australian market.
The Volvo S40 T5 can also be specified in an AWD version, that is to say with Volvo's electronically controlled four-wheel drive, and with a 6-speed manual gearbox.
The engine range for Europe will be supplemented with 4-cylinder petrol engines.
The new Volvo S40 will be built in the Volvo Cars factory in Ghent in Belgium, which has been remodelled and modernised for this purpose at a cost of 340 million Euros (appr. AUD196 million).
Production gets under way in the third quarter of this year. In 2003, the new Volvo S40 will only be sold in Sweden. Introduction in Australia will start progressively from late in the second quarter of 2004.
The sales target for 2004 is 70,000 cars, of which 20,000 are earmarked for expected demand from the USA, the largest single market for the new Volvo S40.
The new Volvo S40 is the first in a range of new Volvo models sharing common technology. Next in line is the Volvo V50, a sports wagon that will reach Australian showrooms late in the third quarter of 2004.