+++ The AUDI engineering team has decamped to the Arctic with a range of prototypes of an Allroad version of the new A1. Like its siblings, the A4 Allroad and A6 Allroad, it’s a jacked-up, SUV-inspired version of the standard model, offering rugged looks and a degree of off-road-ability. It’d go head to head with the Ford Fiesta Active when it arrives. It will sport wider arches, along with a wider, squared-off front bumper, 2 bonnet vents instead of 3, a raised ride-height and a slightly reshaped wing. Sitting at the top of the range, the Allroad is likely to only be offered with the more powerful 150hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo. It will not be fitted with four-wheel drive but instead an advanced traction control system. There will probably be an extra drive mode for the new model, too, marked ‘Allroad’, which will prepare the car’s drivetrain for tougher terrain. +++

+++ ELECTRIC Vehicles (EVs) are better for the environment than internal combustion engine (ICE) models even when charged up with electricity generated by coal-fired power stations, according to new research. Data from Bloomberg shows CO2 emissions from EVs were about 40 % than those from ICE models in 2018. Furthermore, the UK saw the biggest difference in emissions between the 2 categories of car due to its large renewable energy industry. Even in countries like China, which are more reliant on coal-fired electricity, EVs were still found to be cleaner than ICE cars from the points of view of CO2 emissions. The research helps clarify some of the details surrounding the lifetime emissions of EVs, which don’t pollute on the road but do consume electricity that’s often generated by fossil fuels. As a result of the data, Bloomberg predicts EVs will become cleaner in the future as utilities companies ditch coal plants in favour of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar farms. South-east Asia is the region most behind the rest of the world in converting to renewable energy, but the research forecasts China will make swift progress on this front as its renewable energy industry grows and takes a larger share in the country’s power generation market. Bloomberg says the widespread adoption of renewable energy will decrease average emissions by up to 90 % in the UK and over a third in Japan by 2040. The organisation also predicts the global share of zero-carbon electricity generation will rise from 38 % in 2018 to 63 % by 2040, with emissions from ICE-powered cars falling roughly 1.9 % every year up to 2040 and pollution from EVs dropping by between 3 and 10 % annually in the same period of time. Colin McKerracher, transport analyst at Bloomberg, commented: “When an internal combustion vehicle rolls off the line, its emissions per km are set, but for an EV they keep falling every year as the grid gets cleaner”. But while lifetime CO2 emissions may be lower for EVs, questions still remain over charging infrastructure, and sourcing methods for EV battery minerals, such as cobalt. +++

+++ FORD has been caught testing a very early version of its all-new Fiesta-based small SUV. It will evolve into a replacement for the firm’s EcoSport. The as Puma named SUV will join the Fiesta Active in the company’s compact crossover range and the manufacturer will hope the new model can rectify the shortcomings of the EcoSport by offering extra interior and boot space, plus a more premium cabin. It will take an evolutionary approach to design, with a recognisable nose and similar headlamps to the Fiesta, with built-in daytime running lights. Black cladding will give the car a rugged look, while bulging wheelarches and roof rails bring it in line with rivals. The new model is all but certain to feature Ford’s latest range of 1.0-litre 3-cylinder EcoBoost turbo petrol engines, along with the familiar 1.5-litre 4-cylinder diesel. A choice of either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic gearboxes will also be available. It is possible four-wheel drive could also be offered as an option, borrowing tech from the EcoSport. This will mainly be to give superior all-weather traction, rather than genuine off-roading capability. I expect the 4WD transmission to only be offered in conjunction with Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine and a 6-speed manual gearbox. The EcoSport’s 4-tier trim range is likely to be carried over, separated into Trend Essential, Trend Ultimate, Titanium and ST-Line specs. There’s a good chance a plush Vignale version could be offered, too, given that the luxurious trim is said to have hit its internal targets on the current Fiesta. This early glimpse of the SUV means we’re unlikely to see it in dealers until the first half of 2020 at the earliest. When it arrives, expect it to carry a price premium over the Fiesta Active, which currently starts from €21.965 in The Netherlands. A standard Trend Essential could cost from just under €23,000, with the Vignale at around €28,500. +++ 

+++ Chinese car manufacturer GEELY has announced it will make a new, all-electric saloon to replace its aging Emgrand EV. However, unlike the Emgrand, Geely will attempt to sell this new model globally as well as domestically, pitting itself against established electric car manufacturers such as Tesla, Hyundai and Nissan. Details on Geely’s new all-electric saloon are still sparse. Geely says the body of this new model, with its long bonnet, swept back roofline and retractable door handles, has been styled to maximise aerodynamic efficiency and increase driving range. The company claims a drag coefficient of around 0.24, which matches that of the Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Ioniq EV, while improving on the Nissan Leaf’s 0.27. I expect an improvement in performance over the previous Geely EV saloon. Powered by a 128 hp permanent magnet electric motor, the Emgrand EV covered 0-100 km/h in 9.9 seconds and achieved a top speed of 140 km/h, while its official driving range stood at around 250 kilometres. Given that the latest Nissan Leaf will sprint from 0-100 km/h in under 8 seconds, the latest Tesla Model 3 will easily crest 160 km/h and the new Hyundai Kona Electric has a 45 kilometre, Geely will have to up its game to be competitive on the global market. The new all-electric Geely saloon is expected to debut later this year. Prices and full specifications are yet to be announced, but we’ll update you with the latest information as soon as its available. +++ 

+++ HYUNDAI is set to launch a new, third generation i10 next year. The car’s overall profile will be broadly similar to today’s model, which has been on sale since 2013. Expect evolutionary design changes for the car, with detailing inspired by newer models such as the Kona. The Korean brand is likely to boost perceived quality and introduce more advanced technology, including greater connectivity features, wireless phone charging and more active safety systems on top models. Space isn’t likely to increase significantly, as the current i10 is only fractionally shorter than the latest Kia Picanto, with which the new model will share its platform and mechanicals. Engines are expected to include the familiar 1.0-litre 3 cylinder and the turbocharged 1.0-litre triple likely to make its way over from the range-topping Picanto. Further details are thin on the ground, but expect prices to rise slightly to reflect the improvements and changing markets. We’ll see more details closer to the i10’s reveal next year. +++ 

+++ I’ve enjoyed reporting on JAGUAR LAND ROVER (JLR) ’s good times during its remarkable turnaround under Tata ownership: booming sales, with production rising from 241,000 cars in 2011 to 614,000, profits soaring and the workforce rising to 44,000 globally. So last week’s announcement of huge losses with a 6.9 % drop in sales resulting in a programme of €2.9 billion-worth of cuts (including 4,500 job losses) was incredibly sad, if not exactly unexpected. So what, or who, is to blame? CEO Dr Ralf Speth told me: “The automotive industry is facing unprecedented multiple external political and regulatory disruptions and technological changes simultaneously. Just to name a few: Brexit, China, China/US trade, CO2, diesel, diesel taxes especially in the UK, taxes and duties, WLTP and I could go on”. So the perfect storm, it seems. And as JLR reminds us, it’s neither big enough (about the quarter of the size of its big rivals) nor small enough to ride these choppy waves. One senior JLR exec told me the company has just “simply grown too quickly”; something I put to Speth. “Not at all”, he said. “We haven’t grown too quickly, we’ve grown in a very organic way”. I suspect many of the 4,500 soon-to-be former JLR employees might disagree. Among the news of further investment in electrification of JLR’s range at plants in the Midlands and the promise that we’ll see a more resilient, high-performance JLR in the future, there was no mention of learning from mistakes, of which many have been made. That was sorely missing from the carefully crafted ‘messaging’. I hope this is a more analytical JLR, one that launches a new Defender (and other promised new models) for sound financial reasons rather than romantic ones. We’ve heard whispers that ensuring that car makes more money is one of the reasons it’s been delayed. That’s the type of brave thinking we need to see more of. +++ 

+++ Ford has shed light on plans to build a LINCOLN badged EV on the same platform that will underpin the Mustang-inspired electric crossover. The company’s president of North America, Kumar Galhotra, has promised the Lincoln model will retain the brand’s “quiet luxury” mantra and be “absolutely” distinct from the Ford crossover. “The BEV technology gives us so much freedom to sculpt that vehicle exactly how we want it”, the executive added. “We’re going to create elegant Lincoln BEVs”. The Blue Oval is working on no less than 16 EVs to launch by 2022. CEO Jim Hackett recently promised there will be a “big surprise” coming next year, while another executive confirmed plans to build an all-electric F-Series pickup. The company expects to spend $11 billion on its first wave of EV development. +++ 

+++ Future LOTUS models are set to be produced in China, as owner Geely is developing a €1.15 billion factory with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year. The facility in Wuhan will provide an opportunity for the Norfolk-based sports car manufacturer to build SUVs as part of its expansion under Geely ownership. The bulk of production at the new site would be taken up by Geely models, however. Lotus stated: “Lotus Cars is undergoing an exciting resurgence with the backing of Geely, and expanding the brand’s manufacturing footprint globally is a key part of the company’s strategy”. Geely is planning a €1.7 billion investment in Lotus, with the aim of diversifying its line-up. A Porsche Cayenne-rivalling SUV model due in 2020 will begin a planned model expansion for Lotus beyond sports cars, in line with Geely’s commitment to “restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand”. A limited-run, €2.3 million electric hypercar is set to be revealed later this year in concept form, with development well under way at Lotus’s Hethel facility. The opening of the Chinese factory is not thought to threaten UK jobs. As part of Geely’s plan, Lotus SUVs are set to be built in China while production of sports models, such as the Elise and Exige, will remain at Hethel. A company spokesperson said: “Lotus and our shareholders are fully committed to manufacturing at Hethel for Lotus sports cars and expanding our HQ here in Norfolk with investment in the site and recruitment of staff”. Geely is keen to leverage Lotus’ history, with company boss Li Shufu stating that he sees “no reason to move fifty years of combined experience to China; let them do what they do best in Britain”. At the time of writing, there are 182 job vacancies advertised at Lotus’ UK headquarters. Details of which models will be built in China are scarce, with the company set to confirm details “on additional locations and models” in due course. Geely took control of Lotus with the purchase of a 51% majority stake in May 2017, following earlier acquisitions of Volvo and British taxi manufacturer LEVC. +++

+++ First prototypes of a new LYNK & CO hatchback, expected to be dubbed 04, have been photographed testing ahead of an expected European market debut in 2020. Original expectations for the brand, part of Volvo’s Chinese parent Geely, were for it to focus on building SUVs and saloons; market priorities for China and the US. However, as part of Lynk & Co’s target for a full range launch in Europe in 2020, it is now well under way developing a hatchback variant that could be a volume seller alongside the SUVs. Styling-wise, even with disguise it’s clear to see that the hatchback will retain a strong family resemblance to the already revealed 01 and 02 SUVs, and the 03 saloon. The familiar front-end with dual horizontal intakes and split-level headlights features, while the trademark L-shaped tail lights can be seen at the rear. Like its siblings, the hatchback will use Geely’s Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform, also used by Volvo for the XC40. The modular platform allows different wheelbases, ride heights and rear tracks. The hatch is expected to be the smallest model in the line-up, sitting below the 4.5 meter long 02. Lynk & Co will focus on offering electrified only variants in Europe, while Chinese market models feature petrol engine options as well. Expect the hatchback to make use of the already-confirmed 1.5-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine mated to an electric motor on the front axle for the plug-in hybrid model, while a straight hybrid could also feature. Pure electric powertrains are expected later on. Bosses are keen to break public perception of Lynk & Co as purely a Chinese brand, with its models largely designed and engineered in Sweden by a team of “international talent”. It’s expected to make use of Volvo’s production facilities, with the first European models being produced later in 2019. +++ 

+++ National Electric Vehicles Sweden ( NEVS ), has announced that the Chinese property giant, Evergrande Group, a significant shareholder in electric car brand Faraday Future, has acquired a controlling interest in the company after buying a 51 % share of its holdings. NEVS bought Saab Automobile’s remaining assets, following the Swedish car company’s 2012 financial collapse. Since then, NEVS has tried to revive Saab (at least in spirit), forming a series of partnerships with a range of Chinese and Japanese technology companies. Spearheading this revival would be a Saab 9-3-based all-electric saloon called the 9-3 EV, plans for which first appeared in 2014. The company’s manufacturing plant in Tianjin, China was completed in 2017, tasked with building the 9-3 EV in a preliminary production run of 50,000 units, followed by a scaled-up run of 220,000 units. However, it seems that NEVS has been struggling to meet its production targets, as the first 9-3 EVs are only due to reach their Chinese buyers later this year; 2 years after production officially commenced. The recent cash injection, supplied by Evergrande Group, will be used to help increase production of the NEVS 9-3 EV and assist with the company’s research and development into autonomous cars. Following this, NEVS plans to expand its interest globally by commencing production of the 9-3 EV at its plant in Trollhättan, Sweden. Don’t get too excited, though; the car’s European release will likely be a long way off as NEVS aims to first establish its foothold in the Chinese market before moving overseas. However, when it does arrive in Europe, NEVS assures us that 9-3 EV will retain its “Swedish” character, offering the same levels of safety, technology and driving dynamics for which Saabs are known. +++

+++ NISSAN ’s U.S. arm said it plans to lay off up to 700 contract workers at its Mississippi assembly plant, citing slowing sales of its vans and Titan pickups. The company has about 6,500 direct employees and contract workers in Canton, Mississippi. The news comes as the Japanese automaker grapples with the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn in November. The lay-offs are unrelated to Ghosn’s ouster as chairman, spokesman Brian Brockman said. The automaker said it was cutting production shifts of Nissan vans to 1 from 2, and Frontier and Titan pickup trucks to 2 shifts from 3. Brockman said that while the affected direct Nissan employees on those shifts will be reassigned to other areas of the plant, some associates will remain unassigned. “Nissan is adjusting production capacity at its Canton manufacturing facility to match market demand and maintain healthy inventory levels”, the spokesman added. Nissan last month announced plans to lay off about 1,000 workers at two factories in Mexico. +++ 

+++ Chinese electric car brand NIO has announced on Twitter that it has completed the roll-out of its battery-swapping infrastructure along the G2 Expressway between Beijing and Shanghai. Covering 1.177 kilometres, the series of 8 battery-swap stations can exchange a flat electric car battery for a fully-charged one in 3 minutes. This infrastructure should allow drivers to cover longer distances in their Nio EVs without worrying about range. Nio’s map also shows a second arm to the system, a series of battery-swappers running from Beijing to Shenzhen, suggesting an extension to the network is in the pipeline. Currently, the battery-swappers are only compatible with the Nio ES8 electric car. Owners simply drive their vehicle into the battery-swapper and a series of automated rams and motors raise the car, unbolt and remove the flat battery, then replace it with a fully-charged one. The battery-swappers store and recharge the battery packs, ready for their next use, while periodically checking their condition to ensure only the “healthiest” cells are supplied to drivers. The automated battery-swappers have a footprint of only 3 regular car parking spaces, which Nio says allows for battery-swapping locations to easily upscale. In addition to this battery-swapping service, Nio provides a mobile recharging service called Nio Power Mobile. Designed for when drivers misjudge their car’s range, the scheme consists of fleet of van-mounted mobile power-banks, which can provide 100 km of range in only 10 minutes; or enough to get the driver to the next battery-swapping station. +++ 

+++ RENAULT expects to deliver sales growth in 2019, despite the imminent ouster of Chairman and Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn and tension with alliance partner Nissan. “Volumes progressed across almost all our regions in 2018, and we’re entering 2019 with expectations for a slight increase in sales”, Renault sales chief Olivier Murguet told. Murguet declined to comment on the leadership crisis engulfing Renault-Nissan following Ghosn’s arrest in Japan for alleged financial misconduct or any sales impact it may have. The French carmaker posted a 3.2 % increase in vehicle sales last year, boosted by a new Chinese joint venture and rebounding demand in Russia and Latin America. Acting chairman Philippe Lagayette said that Renault will appoint new leadership after the French government, its biggest shareholder, called for Ghosn’s replacement almost 2 months after his Nov. 19 arrest. The Renault board and its nominations committee are expected to meet within days to consider potential successors including Michelin CEO Jean-Dominique Senard, senior Toyota executive Didier Leroy and Ghosn’s Renault deputy Thierry Bollore, sources have told. Ghosn has been charged over allegations he failed to disclose close to $80 million in additional compensation for 2010-18 that he had arranged to be paid later. Nissan director Greg Kelly and the company itself have also been indicted. Both men deny the deferred pay agreements were illegal or required disclosure, while former alliance boss Ghosn has denied a separate breach of trust charge over personal investment losses he temporarily transferred to Nissan in 2008. Renault’s sales rose to a record 3.88 million vehicles last year, including some 166,000 sold through its new partnership with China’s Brilliance. Global sales excluding the joint venture fell 1.2 %. The carmaker only narrowly avoided being overtaken by arch-rival PSA Group, outselling the Peugeot maker by 6,530 vehicles. Unlike Renault, PSA avoided major disruption from tougher new WLTP emissions tests introduced in September, and increased sales 6.8 % to 3.88 million vehicles in 2018 thanks largely to its acquisition of Opel-Vauxhall. Renault’s share of the European passenger car market shed more than one point to 9.8 % in the 4th quarter, from 10.9 % a year earlier. While the global sales decline (excluding Brilliance) reflected setbacks in Turkey, Iran, China and India, Renault nonetheless outperformed a weak home market, with a 0.5 % gain in European vehicle sales including vans. The company said it expects automotive markets to be “stable” in Europe and globally this year, with Russia growing 3 % and Brazil expanding 10 %. Murguet also said Renault had no plans to stockpile vehicles in preparation for Britain’s exit from the European Union in March, in case London and Brussels fail to reach an exit deal. “Stockpiling is expensive and short-termist”, Murguet said, adding: “we’ll take an extremely pragmatic sales approach and adapt extremely rapidly”. +++ 

+++ SKODA ‘s forthcoming crossover will make its debut at March’s Geneva Motor Show. It will arrive at European dealers in the autumn, and will be the most practical and spacious model in its class according to the boss of the Czech firm, Bernhard Maier. The Nissan Juke rival will be the third SUV in Skoda’s expanding range, slotting beneath the larger Karoq and Kodiaq models. Under the skin will be the VW Group’s new MQB A1 platform. A 2645 mm wheelbase will give the car even more space inside than a Volkswagen T-Roc, a model that competes in a segment above. This focus on practicality and space is what will mark the Skoda out against its nearest competitors, according to Maier. He told me: “We always position our cars at the upper end of the segment, so we have a longer wheelbase, have a bigger boot and more space in the interior. This is a segment which opened up a couple of years ago, and as we want to take part and have a piece of the cake, this car fits perfectly. This is why we presented the Vision X and, as always with our vision cars, it gives you a view of what it will look like”, the Skoda boss explained. The finished model will closely resemble the Vision X concept seen at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. It will adopt more angular bodywork and sharper surfacing than the Karoq and Kodiaq, because it’s aimed at a younger, more style-conscious buyer. Maier added: “The car is following the needs of our customers. You have all the advantages of a big body, higher seating and more space, while not spending too much on the drivetrain, such as four-wheel drive”. While the platform can adopt all-wheel drive, Skoda will not equip its baby SUV with the tech in a bid to keep costs down. It will be offered with the VW Group’s latest batch of engines, most of which will be versions of the 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol found in the Fabia and Octavia. 2 variants are likely to be available (95 hp and 115 hp) while buyers wanting more power will have to go for the 150 hp 1.5-litre 4-cylinder turbo. A 1.6-litre diesel will also be offered, but it’s highly unlikely that there will be a plug-in hybrid version, at least initially. The SUV arrives in the midst of the largest campaign of launches in Skoda’s history and into a segment that is the fastest growing in Europe; by 2020 SUVs are expected to account for 34 % of new cars sold in the region. “This is why we’re starting our biggest product offensive with the introduction of new SUV models”, Maier said. “We are offering 20 models by 2020 and nine will be electrified. Some of these are successors, some are new line-up and some are quite groundbreaking”. +++ 

+++ TESLA will cut its full-time workforce by around 7% in a move to reduce costs and allow production of the Model 3 to be ramped up, according to an email sent to employees by Elon Musk. The CEO of the American electric car maker claimed it “will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months”. Musk also wrote that the apparent workforce growth of 30 % last year is “more than we can support”, so Tesla intends to retain just “the most critical” contractors and temporary workers. The email, sent to all full-time staff, cites Tesla’s “first meaningful profit”, of 4 % in the third quarter of 2018, in the 15 years the company has been established. However, that profit was due to the company selling only higher-priced variants of the Model 3 in North America, and Musk stated a need “to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles” by rolling out mid-range variants from May. Last June, Tesla cut around 9 % of its workforce, again as a cost-reduction tactic. However, the workforce was built back up to similar levels by the end of the year. Reportedly, the firm currently employs 45,000 people worldwide. Musk also wrote that “higher volume and manufacturing engineering improvements are crucial for Tesla to achieve the economies of scale required to manufacture the standard-range (350 kilometres), standard-interior Model 3 at $35,000 and still be a viable company”. +++

+++ As the Tesla Model 3 climbs to the top of the luxury sedan market and most automakers prepare to spend billions of dollars to address the competitive threat, TOYOTA has apparently decided its rivals are being overly optimistic in their embrace of EVs. Speaking at a recent conference, Toyota North America chief Jim Lentz argued that Elon Musk has ‘overstimulated’ a belief that EVs will quickly grow to dominate the global automotive market. “I worry a little bit we are over-stimulated in our belief that EVs are going to take over the world quickly”, he said. “There’s not much growth in that industry”. The executive pointed to current sales data to make the point, claiming the combined sales of all hybrids, EVs, PHEVs and FCEVs grew to around 600,000 vehicles last year, with only 7 nameplates accounting for more than 2,000 units per month. There is no doubt that high vehicle cost has held back the growth of electric vehicles. Tesla has demonstrated that a steady decline in battery prices has changed the game, however, and many analysts predict the trend will continue until long-range electric powertrains cost less than a typical fossil-fuel alternative. “The question is how are we going to be able to afford to get the share, because right now cost and range anxiety is still an issue for customers”, Lentz added. “And gas at $1.69 a gallon isn’t going to make things much easier”. Toyota has taken a few big risks in alternative powertrains, spending more than 25 years and billions of dollars building hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The FCV commitment culminated in the Mirai, which has achieved sales of around 3,000 units annually. The technology is facing an uphill battle against battery power, as FCVs can only be refueled at a handful of specialized hydrogen stations in California while EVs can recharge at tens of thousands of stations across the country. Despite maintaining a more tempered prediction of EV growth, Toyota has not completely dismissed the technology. The company will introduce at least 10 all-electric vehicles sometime early in the next decade. +++

+++ The VOLVO V40 could be indirectly replaced by an SUV-coupé in the next 3 years, in reaction to falling sales and the need to accommodate electrification. Lex Kerssemakers, Volvo’s European boss, confirmed that the V40 will not be replaced directly but said that it would be superseded by a higher-riding model. He is confident that Volvo can achieve its annual sales goal of 800,000 units with its existing 3-pronged approach of the 40, 60 and 90-series cars, but added: “We probably need another bodystyle in the next 2 to 3 years in the 40 series. We need to do something more creative, which is why we decided not to replace the V40 directly”. While Kerssemakers didn’t describe the incoming car as an SUV-coupé, he did confirm that it will be higher-riding than the V40, allowing for easy, high ingress and egress. A higher car will also more easily allow for electrification, a version of which all of Volvo’s new cars will offer. “We can’t launch a car that isn’t equipped to be fully electrified”, Kerssemakers said. The V40 is the only remaining Volvo model that is not based on Volvo’s CMA or SPA platforms, which accommodate petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric powertrains. It uses Ford’s Global C platform, which dates back to 2003 and doesn’t allow for electrification. Kerssemakers confirmed that design of the new car is currently under way and said he hoped it would be ready in the next 2 years, using some of the same panels as other Volvo models. Referencing that production of the V40 will stop this year, he said: “We can’t wait too long to introduce the new car. We don’t want to lose our space in the segment. We are still confident that we can cover certain parts of the market, although not the die-hard hatchback fans”. To that end, the new model is likely to sit slightly lower than the XC40 and have a sleeker roofline, helping to appeal to existing hatchback owners while ensuring enough differentiation from the XC40. Last year 77,587 units of the V40s were sold, a drop of 23 % on 2017. By contrast, the XC60 sold 189,459 units in 2018 and the XC40 is expected to sell 150,000 in 2019, its first full year of sales. Kerssemakers noted that Volvo has seen many customers move from a V40 to an XC40, echoing the ongoing SUV trend of the last few years. Despite the popularity of SUVs, he added, referring to the 60 and 90-series saloons and estates: “We will continue to offer low cars. We believe there will be a market”. +++

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