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XC90 delay irks Volvo CEO

U.S. sales of the XC90 slipped 10 percent in 2012 to 9,513.

Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson is not happy that the automaker has waited more than a decade to introduce a second-generation XC90, especially since the premium large SUV was once the brand's best seller.

"What we have learned about the XC90 is that you have to be very careful when delaying product development, you are borrowing money from the future and you have to pay it back with interest," he said. "It was not very smart to delay that program."

Global sales of the XC90 fell 21 percent to 31,290 last year compared with 2011, according to Volvo.

It's a long way from 2004, when the BMW X5 rival was Volvo's No. 1 seller with a volume of 84,032. It was still tops for Volvo in 2007 with 79,140 sales before being beaten by the V50 station wagon in 2008.

In Europe last year, XC90 sales fell 29 percent to 9,416 units, according to figures from JATO Dynamics. U.S. sales of the XC90 slipped 10 percent in 2012 to 9,513.

Demand is not expected to rebound until the all-new XC90 goes on sale in Europe and the United States in early 2015.