BOSSES at Geely have hinted that the Chinese firm’s subsidiary Volvo could build more sporting versions of its cars in the future. Speaking at the reveal of the new S90 Excellence (right), Geely chairman Shufu Li confirmed recent speculation that his company had been in contact with British sports car maker Lotus, but denied suggestions it was ready to buy the brand from current Malaysian owner, Proton. “We never talked about acquisition,” Li said. “We have not made any arrangements and that is it.”
However, he did add that he is building a circuit that will be up and running next year.
When asked if it was purely for personal enjoyment, or whether Volvo could use the facility to test its cars, Li replied: “The race track is open for everyone.” Last year, Volvo finally bought out Polestar, the Swedish tuner and outfit that runs its European motorsport programme. When asked to respond to Li’s admission that his new track could be used for the development of more extreme models, Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said; “A premium car mater also has to develop emotional value to justify the higher price. This is where a brand like Polestar comes into play.
“We have bought that brand and we are going to develop it in the direction of premium, pure performance cars. They will be developed in the direction of electrification. Polestar models will give a very high performance to our customers. ” It’s likely that a laster S90 saloon would be first on the list, because the Scalable Platform Architecture chassis -which underpins that car, the V90 and XC90 SUV – has been designed from the outset with electrification in mind.
The 401bhp S90 T8 Twin Engine hybrid -which was also shown in China last week – is a hint at what could come from the brand. Its output could be boosted to as much as 500bhp fora Polestar variant. It’s thought the tuning division will also be able to use Volvo’s smaller Compact Modular Architecture, which will underpin the next-generation V40 hatchback. This is also being engineered to support plug-in hybrids and pure EVs.