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Volvo Cars to Challenge BMW, Daimler With V60 Wagon in Europe

Volvo's 2011 S60 Model Displayed at New York Auto Show
April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Volvo Car Corp. displays its 2011 S60 sedan model at the 2010 New York International Auto Show. (Source: Bloomberg)

Volvo Cars, the Swedish automaker owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., plans to challenge Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG with its new V60 station wagon in Europe.

Volvo forecasts annual sales of 50,000 of the V60, a sportier vehicle which goes on sale later this year, Tomas Ahlborg, the model’s project chief, said in an interview today from Verona, Italy, where the carmaker is holding test drives.

The V60 and recently introduced S60 sedan are key to Volvo’s efforts to boost sales in its European market and reach profitability under Geely, which four weeks ago bought the carmaker from Ford Motor Co. Volvo is targeting sales of 400,000 cars worldwide this year, up from 334,800 in 2009.

“This will be one of our very most important cars for the European market,” Ahlborg said.

The V60, which started production today at the Torslanda plant near Volvo’s Gothenburg, Sweden, headquarters, features a sloping rear windscreen that gives it a sportier look compared to the carmaker’s V70 and V50 station wagons. Volvo will use the model to challenge BMW’s 3 Series Touring, Volkswagen AG’s Audi A4 Avant and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Ahlborg said.

Volvo expects 90 percent of V60 sales to be in Europe, Ahlborg said. The car most likely won’t be sold in the U.S. as “the market for sports wagons is pretty small” in North America, he said.

Sales of the V60 should approach those of the XC60 crossover, Volvo’s most popular model globally and in Europe. Volvo’s seven-month sales of the XC60 totaled 48,000 globally, including 30,000 in Europe, spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said.

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