The technical tie-up between Volvo and its former owner Ford will have dissolved completely by 2017-18 and the Swedish brand will be doing everything in-house, says CEO Stefan Jacoby.
Volvo is developing a new platform under the name SPA (Scaleable Product Architecture), capable of underpinning 70 to 80% of all the company's future cars, and is also developing new powertrains under the VEA (Volvo Environmental Architecture) programme.
The first fruits of that work will be seen at the Geneva Motor Show when Volvo reveals a single car to replace today's Ford-based S40 saloon and V50 estate.
Jacoby said: “The sweet spot in this segment is a hatchback, so there will no longer be a small estate.
“It will be a new V40 which in normal times we will produce at the rate of 90,000 a year.
“We will focus on four-cylinder engines with a capacity of 2.0 litres, diesel and petrol, with different outputs ranging from 150 to 300-plus horsepower.”
It will also remain Volvo's smallest car, alongside the C30, for the forseeable future: Volvo has no intention of following Audi into the supermini market.
Jacboy said: “The C-segment (compact family cars) is the limit for us for the time being.
“We have set the priority of replacing our existing portfolio and will look later at entering a new segment, but whether that is the A-segment (superminis) is questionable.”
Jacoby sees Volvo as a company that should be strong in the SUV market, and admits he would like to see a model below the current XC60.
He said: “Ideally we would have something smaller than the XC60 and there are a couple of segments it makes sense to go into. But we have to be careful about getting into too many niches.”
Jacoby also believes that within five years almost every Volvo will feature some form of electrification, from stop-start systems to full hybrid power.
The company will launch the V60 diesel-electric plug-in hybrid in Europe later this year, and at the Detroit show it is displaying an XC60 with petrol-electric power. This uses a similar electric system to that in the V60 hybrid with a 280bhp petrol engine being developed under the VEA programme.
“We are preparing a gasoline hybrid for the US market, but it is too early to say which model it will go into,” Jacoby said.