This will complement the XC60 compact SUV, due to debut in production form at March’s Geneva show, the XC70, which accounts for 27% of V70 series estate car sales, and the XC90.
The C30’s SUV crossover stablemate will be joined by an estate car V30-badged variant as part of Volvo’s push into the burgeoning C-sector, successfully exploited by BMW’s 1 Series and Audi’s A3.
Volvo’s re-alignment of its range includes merging the S40 and S60 into one saloon to compete more directly with BMW’s 3 Series.
The S40 is due to be dropped by 2010 to make way for a new S60, which is unlikely to have a parallel V60 estate car due to it being too close in size to the V70 “wagon”, Volvo’s only sector leader.
Dealers are unhappy about Volvo’s saloon range being out of kilter with rivals, particularly German models, in size terms.
John Cleland, dealer principal of Cleland’s in Galashiels, who would not comment on the new model programme, said: “People come into our showroom and ask if there are four or five-door versions of the C30. When you say they are the S40 and V50, they get a bit puzzled.”
Analyst Jay Nagley, managing director of Spyder Automotive, said Volvo needed to “tidy up its saloon strategy mess”. He added: “S40 and V50 are perfectly good cars, half a size above Focus, but masquerade as 3 Series rivals. The S60 is a worthy misfit between 3 and 5 Series and the S80 is designed for the USA.”