2011 Shanghai Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- The Volvo Concept Universe, which previews the next-generation Volvo S80, debuted on Monday at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show.
- The Volvo Concept Universe gets a sleeker look than the current Volvo S80, with a long hood and more coupe-like proportions.
- The concept underscores Volvo's desires to be on an equal footing with BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
SHANGHAI, China — The Volvo Concept Universe, which previews the next-generation Volvo S80, debuted on Monday at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. It is a significant signpost for those who wonder what shape Volvo will take under its new Chinese owner Geely.
It is also noteworthy that the Volvo Concept Universe underscores the brand's drive to become a luxury automaker on a par with BMW and Mercedes-Benz and shake its "near-luxury" label. "Volvo Car Corporation aims to be the brand that best interprets what buyers of modern luxury cars want," said Volvo in a statement.
Without saying the words Volvo S80, the automaker broadly hinted that the concept represents its future flagship.
"The Concept Universe offers the world a sneak preview of what people can expect from out next top-of-the-line sedan," said Stefan Jacoby, president and CEO of Volvo Car Corp. in a statement.
The Volvo Concept Universe gets a sleeker look than the current Volvo S80, with a long hood and more coupe-like proportions. It is the work of longtime Volvo designer Peter Horbury, who emphasized the concept's "Scandinavian design" in a statement and said the goals were to create a flagship sedan "without superficiality or complication."
Powertrain details were not disclosed.
The cabin has a somewhat stark appearance and features a touchscreen "that approaches the hand when the driver reaches toward it," said Volvo in a statement. The cabin molds around the rear seat to "become part of the seating environment," said the automaker.
Edmunds.com says: Volvo's new Chinese masters clearly want to be masters of the universe. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent