European automakers have broken the mold in almost every way possible in recent years.
Europe's strategy for U.S.
Positioning, too, is changing dramaticially. European luxury brands once encouraged Americans to consider them as relatively unattainable -- no more.
BMW will offer the Mini next year, starting at around $18,000. Jaguar has the X-Type, starting at $30,595, including transportation. Two years ago, the lowest-priced Jaguar was nearly twice that price. Mercedes-Benz has a volume-priced car, the 2002 C-class sport coupe, with a suggested retail price starting at $25,595, and is expected to bring in the even smaller A class in 2004 or 2005.
That price squeeze on traditional U.S. models is expected to continue.
According to Comerica Bank in Detroit, the average new-car transaction price during the first quarter was $22,882. The Mercedes C-class sport coupe is priced only 11.9 percent higher than today's average transaction price. The last time Mercedes had a sticker price that low, it was the 1986 190E, at $25,080. At the time, that was more than double the average transaction price, which was $11,883.
These changes are making European luxury brands much more like volume makers. Both are trying to cut costs and spread them over the biggest volume possible. That is the potential payoff for the latest round of mergers and acquisitions.
General Motors owns Saab and 20 percent of Fiat Auto S.p.A., while Fiat has a 5.6 percent stake in GM. Ford Motor Co. owns Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. DaimlerChrysler, itself created by an acquisition, is tied up with Mitsubishi, which is a partner with Volvo until 2004.
Each automaker needs to share platforms, architectures, powertrains and as many components as possible. But the trick is to avoid damaging an upscale brand's reputation if some of the components are shared with lesser brands.
One sign of the times is that a former Saab executive, Kjell Bergstrom, is responsible for powertrain development for Saab, Opel/Vauxhall, Fiat, Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands. He is vice president of product engineering for a joint venture between GM and Fiat, in Turin, Italy. The venture has about 27,000 employees, five development centers, and 19 plants in 11 countries. Annual capacity is 7 million engines and 6.6 million transmissions.
Those engines and transmissions may not have much in common, but by the middle of this decade -- if the partnership is to succeed -- they will.
Here's a rundown of what the European automakers plan for the 2001-2005 calendar years.
Fiat Auto's Alfa Romeo brand is expected to return to the United States in 2004 or 2005 as a result of Fiat's partnership with GM.
The first U.S. model likely will be a redesigned Spider, developed off GM's new Epsilon platform. The front-wheel-drive platform has all-wheel-drive capability.
Successors to the 156 and 166 also could be earmarked for the United States.
DB7 Vantage: The DB7 Vantage coupe and DB7 Vantage Volante convertible are unchanged for 2002. The DB7 Vantage, launched in the United States in 1996, is a relatively new model by Aston Martin standards, implying there will be no redesign soon.
V12 Vanquish: U.S. dealers expect to receive the new 2002 V12 Vanquish in September -- about six months later than planned. Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez and Premier Automotive Group Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle delayed the vehicle to adjust some details. For instance, they vetoed the Ford Ka air vents that were in the prototype.
The V-12 engine is expected to rocket the car from 0 to 62 mph in five seconds, while a top speed of 190 mph is promised. Maximum power is 460 hp, up from 420 hp in the DB7 Vantage. Maximum torque is 400 pounds-feet.
A six-speed manual transmission that operates without a clutch will be standard. The Formula One-style gearbox is controlled by two electronically operated shift paddles mounted on the steering column.
Aston Martin unveiled the V12 Vanquish at the Geneva auto show in February.
Suggested retail in the United States is expected to be about $228,000.
Third car: Aston Martin has not announced its sales ambition for the brand, but the company confirms that a third car will be needed to hit the target. No details have been given, but a car is expected to debut around 2005.
Some insiders say total annual sales in the 4,000-unit range are being considered. That will be a tall order: Worldwide sales last year tallied just 1,000 units, and this year's sales are expected to be about 1,300.
Aston Martin plans to build an assembly plant in Gaydon, England, adjacent to Land Rover headquarters, for the new car. The plan is under review by local authorities.
Aston Martin is part of Ford's Premier Automotive Group, along with Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo.
All Audi models sold in the United States will be available with GM's OnStar service starting this fall.
A4: The redesigned 2002 A4 sedan goes on sale in late October, powered by the same 170-hp, 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual in the current generation. Audi's new six-speed manual transmission and 220-hp 3.0-liter V-6 engine will be optional.
The car's wheelbase is stretched 1.3 inches and the length grows by 2.7 inches, creating more passenger room.
The redesigned A4 Avant wagon, convertible and possibly a coupe will follow next year.
Audi's new continuously variable transmission will be available on A4 and A6 fwd models.
A 300-hp, twin-turbo S4 version will be available in mid-2003.
A6: The 2002 A6 will get the new 3.0-liter, 220-hp V-6 that replaces the 200-hp 2.8-liter V-6.
A 2002 S6 Avant wagon bows this fall. Powered by a 340-hp, 4.2-liter
V-8, the S6 Avant features an automatic transmission with Tiptronic controls on the steering wheel, dual exhaust, sport suspension, and aluminum-trimmed front grille, roof rails and exterior mirror housings.
An S6 sedan is not planned for the United States, but a twin-turbo, 460-hp V-8 RS6 version is under consideration.
The A6 may be redesigned for the 2004 or 2005 calendar year.
A8: The second-generation A8 will arrive in the spring or summer of 2003. Audi's flagship sedan, the oldest model in its lineup, was launched in 1994.
In the meantime, the company is expected to add a 414-hp, 6.0-liter
W-12 to its U.S. lineup this year. It will go in the A8L, which is the A8's long-wheelbase sedan.
TT Coupe/Roadster: The TT Coupe and Roadster are due for a redesign around 2002 or 2003 if Audi decides to continue the low-volume model.
Volkswagen AG owns Bentley Motor Cars and Rolls-Royce, but the latter becomes part of BMW AG Jan. 1, 2003. VW will retain the Bentley brand and the current Rolls-Royce and Bentley production facilities but will stop building Rolls-Royce models in 2002. After the split, VW wants to boost Bentley sales to 10,000 a year, roughly five times the current level. To achieve that goal, the first step will be to create a so-called "mid-sized Bentley," which will be smaller and less expensive than current models.
Arnage: Bentley has dropped the 4.4-liter V-8-powered Green Label model for lack of demand. The more popular Red Label sedan is powered by the long-serving 6.8-liter V-8.
Continental R: For the 2002 model year, Bentley will offer just 50 units worldwide of the new special-edition Continental R Le Mans Series -- only 18 for the United States. The Le Mans package includes a special leather interior, flared wheel arches, red brake calipers, twin exhaust pipes on either side and special badging. Suggested retail is $328,900, including delivery.
U.S. customers still can order the short-wheelbase Continental T.
Azure: The Azure convertible is unchanged.
Mid-sized Bentley: Known internally as MSB, the smaller and less expensive model is expected to go on sale in the United States in the second quarter of 2003. The MSB assembly line will be installed in Crewe, England, alongside the existing Arnage line. The new model may be powered by the W-16 engine that was shown in the Bentley Project Hunaudieres concept car at the 1999 Geneva show.
Mini: Production of the new Mini began in April at a refurbished plant in Oxford, England. Production is expected to be about 30,000 this year, rising to around 100,000 units.
BMW expects to sell 20,000 units annually in the U.S. market, where the brand has been absent since 1967. U.S. sales begin in March with the higher-performance Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S.
The Mini Cooper will produce about 90 hp and the Mini Cooper S will have about 115 hp. Both cars will be powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine built in Brazil.
1 series: The rear-drive, front-engine 1 series will bow in 2004. The car will be positioned between the Mini and the 3 series.
2 series: A 2 series, which would be a coupe version of the 1 series, is under consideration for 2005.
3 series: The 3 series gets a mid-life facelift this fall. The most noticeable changes are restyled headlights and a mildly facelifted front fascia, along with a new chin spoiler and a reshaped kidney grille. The 3 series sedan and wagon will be the first models to receive the facelift.
If BMW remains on its six-year product cycle, the 3 series is due for a redesign in 2004.
Z3: BMW's two-passenger sports car is due for a redesign in fall 2002. The U.S.-built Z3 debuted in 1996.
5 series: The 5 series will be redesigned in 2003. It will receive many of the features debuting in the redesigned 7 series, which arrives early next year. The 7 series will feature a shift-by-wire, six-speed automatic and what BMW calls active roll stabilization, which uses sensors and two active anti-roll bars to counter body roll during cornering.
6 series: BMW announced in February that design work had started on a successor to the 6-series coupe. The new model likely will be introduced about a year after the 5 series redesign. Like its predecessor, the new 6 will be based on the 5 series. A 6 series convertible also is planned.
7 series: The redesigned 7 series debuts at the Frankfurt auto show in September. European sales begin in November with two V-8 models: the 735i and 745i.
The U.S. market will receive the standard wheelbase 745i sedan in late January. The redesigned V-8 in the 745i has the same 4.4-liter displacement as the old engine, but maximum power is hiked to 333 hp at 6,100 rpm from 286 hp at 5,400 rpm. Later in 2002, BMW will add a long-wheelbase version. The U.S. market also will get a new 6.0-liter V-12 expected to produce close to 400 hp. It would replace the current 326-hp, 5.4-liter V-12, probably next fall. BMW's flagship will be filled with new technology, including an all-aluminum suspension with active roll stabilization and electronic damper control.
BMW says the 7 series transmission is the world's first six-speed automatic. The driver can opt to change gears manually, using "paddles" mounted behind the steering wheel.
The 7 series also has radar-controlled active cruise control, which can be set up to maintain a safe following distance.
BMW will introduce iDrive, which reduces the number of buttons and switches in favor of multi-use controls. Several controls are in and around the steering wheel. Most other functions -- navigation, telephone, climate control and stereo -- all are on a single controller in the center console.
In a retro touch, after the driver inserts an electronic key with its own computer chip, the driver pushes a start button to start the engine, as in the Z8.
Z8: The $128,645 Z8 sports car bowed here a year ago, so no major changes are on the near horizon.
X3: BMW expects to add a small sport wagon based on the 3 series, probably in 2003. BMW executives hinted that the X coupe concept, unveiled in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, indicated what a smaller version of the U.S.-built X5 sport wagon might look like. If so, the X3 will be much more car-like than the X5.
X5: The high-performance 350-hp X5 4.6is goes on sale this fall. A redesign is not expected until 2005.
X7: There has been much speculation about whether BMW will produce a big, luxurious sport wagon. If approved, the X7 might not bow until the next generation X5 debuts.
360 Modena: The 360 Modena line is expected to remain untouched for several years. The 360 Spider, Ferrari's first convertible with a power-operated top, was added to the Modena's U.S. lineup in April.
456: This replacement for the 456 is due around 2003.
F550 Maranello: The V-12 F550 Maranello coupe and convertible are due for a facelift in a year or so. With revamped electronic engine management controls, Ferrari may be able to squeeze about 20 additional horsepower from the 485-hp V-12. The updated model may be designated F500M.
The F550 Maranello is only available with a stick shift. As part of the update, it may get an optional automatic transmission.
The convertible version is called the F550 Barchetta Pininfarina. U.S. deliveries began in June. All 127 earmarked for the United States this year have been pre-sold.
FX: The supercar successor to the 1988 F40 and the 1995 F50 is due here around 2003, possibly following a European introduction in late 2002. Chassis and body panels are expected to be made of carbon fiber. The FX is expected to be equipped with a new 6.0-liter, normally aspirated,
V-12 engine pumping out nearly 650 hp. A price beyond $400,000 is likely.
X-Type: The new X-Type sedan, the first Jaguar with awd, went on sale Wednesday, Aug. 1. About 2003, Jaguar will add a high-performance sedan, the X-Type R. The "R" designates Jaguar's high-performance cars.
S-Type: The first major change since the rwd S-Type sedan bowed for the 2000 model year arrives next spring with the addition of the high-performance S-Type R. Horsepower may be close to 400.
XJ8: Jaguar replaces the XJ8 sedan late in 2002 with a model code-named X350. The sedan is expected to make extensive use of tough, lightweight aluminum in areas such as the body shell. A supercharged version may follow two years later.
XK8: The XK8 debuted in the United States in October 1996, replacing the 21-year-old XJS. Jaguar will not let the XK8 linger that long. The earliest an XK8 replacement can be expected is around 2005, after the new F-Type is introduced.
F-Type: Jaguar announced plans in February to develop a production version of the F-Type concept. Sales begin in 2004. The timing could be right for the F-Type to share components with a new entry-level Lincoln that will target the BMW 3 series, expected about the same time. The F-Type, which is not an XK8 replacement, was shown as a concept at the Detroit auto show in January 2000.
Freelander: Land Rover's smallest sport-utility is expected here by December.
U.S. models receive the 2.5-liter V-6 with a five-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features include hill descent control, which helps stop skids on steep downslopes; four-wheel traction control; and antilock brakes adapted for off-road use. The V-6 was developed by Rover under then-parent BMW AG.
Defender: The lack of passive restraints continues to bar the Defender from the U.S. market. It appears that the U.S. subsidiary will receive the redesigned Defender in 2004. The stripped-down Defender has been out of the U.S. lineup since the 1997 model year.
Discovery: The redesigned Discovery is due around 2003, and it may have a Ford-derived powertrain. A long-wheelbase version may be offered, like the Range Rover.
Range Rover: A redesigned Range Rover with a V-8 developed by BMW goes on sale in Europe at the end of 2001 or early in 2002. U.S. models will probably go on sale in mid-2002. Even though BMW sold Land Rover to Ford after the redesign got under way, Range Rover still is expected to get a BMW V-12.
Maserati returns to the United States in March -- about six months later than originally expected. Ferrari North America Inc. is in charge of U.S. distribution, via 35 dealers. Most Maserati dealers also will be Ferrari dealers, and vice versa. Ferrari has 29 U.S. dealers. Maserati dealers must provide a separate showroom and employees dedicated exclusively to the Maserati brand.
4200GT: U.S. sales will begin with a coupe and convertible. The Spyder is expected to debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September on a shortened wheelbase relative to the coupe. U.S. cars get a new naturally aspirated 4.2-liter, 32-valve, V-8. Maximum power is expected to be around 400 hp. Other markets get a 3.2-liter, twin-turbo V-8. U.S. sticker prices will be about $85,000 for the coupe to around $98,000 for the convertible. U.S. sales for the convertible begin in 2002, followed a year later by the coupe.
Quattroporte: Maserati is expected to add this V-8 sedan in 2004. It will be about the same size as the Mercedes S class.
All-wheel drive will be optional on nearly all Mercedes-Benz vehicles by 2003. Exceptions include the C-class sport coupe, the CL coupe and the SL coupe/roadster.
A class: The U.S. market is expected to receive the redesigned A class, probably around 2004. By 2004 or 2005, the A class could be the platform for a fuel cell car for North America.
C class: U.S. sales of the new 2002 C class sport coupe and the high-performance C32 AMG began in July. The C320 sport wagon, the first C-class wagon sold in the United States, will be added in September.
The sport coupe is new for all markets. U.S. buyers receive only the most powerful version -- the C230 Kompressor, with a supercharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional.
CLK: The CLK55 AMG Cabriolet is new for the 2002 model year. The CLK is due for a redesign in the fall of 2002.
SLK: The 2002 SLK32 AMG is expected to go on sale in the United States this month or in September with a supercharged, high-performance V-6. The current SLK is built on the old C-class platform. The SLK is due for a redesign around 2003.
E class: The redesigned E class, due in the fall of 2002, will have a strong family resemblance to the S class. And like the S class, the new sheet metal is smoother and tauter with a more muscular appearance. The front grille is raked steeply back with a hint of a smile in the front bumper, which turns up at the corners.
Mercedes keeps the four-headlight scheme that was pioneered on the current E class, but the new headlights look taller with a narrower oval. The lights feature clear lenses and new, high-intensity lights and reflectors. Gone is the part silver/part amber color of the old lights. And, like the S class, the taillights do not extend into the trunk lid.
The E class likely will add features such as high-pressure headlight washers, rain-sensor windshield wipers, radar assist for parking and possibly intelligent cruise control, which maintains a pre-set following distance in highway driving.
Another optional feature pioneered in the S class that could make its way to the E class is active body control, a hydraulic suspension that keeps the body nearly flat as it rounds a curve.
The usual Mercedes practice would be to introduce the new E-class sedan first, followed by one or two significant additions every year, such as a new wagon, awd and high-performance AMG versions.
S class: The S class is due for a facelift in 2003.
CL coupe: The low-volume CL coupe debuted in December 1999, so no major changes are planned in the next few years.
SL: The redesigned SL will debut in September at the Frankfurt auto show, with sales starting in Europe shortly after. U.S. sales begin in the spring of 2002. The most obvious new feature will be a folding steel roof similar to the SLK, replacing the soft top. The V-12 model will feature a cylinder cut-out system that boosts fuel economy. Mercedes expects the SL to be the first production car with brake-by-wire technology.
Maybach: Mercedes' Rolls-Royce fighter makes its European debut in early 2003 with a U.S. introduction later that year.
SLR: The SLR -- a two-seat Ferrari fighter -- is due in Europe in 2003. It could arrive in the United States in late 2003 or early 2004. The SLR concept car had steer-by-wire, although Mercedes remains mum on whether it will be on the production model.
M class: The M class receives a minor facelift for the 2002 model year, including new front and rear bumpers and fascias. The ML500, with a bigger V-8, replaces the ML430. The M class is due for a redesign around 2005 and likely will share major components with the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee.
G class: The U.S. market gets the G500 in December or possibly January 2002. One model will be offered: the long-wheelbase four-door model with the hard top. The 5.0-liter V-8 generates a maximum 296 hp at 5,500 rpm; maximum torque is 336 pounds-feet at 2,800 rpm. A redesign is planned for 2005.
Mercedes has not previously imported the Gelaendewagen, which began life as a German military vehicle.
Boxster: The Boxster will receive a facelift around 2004.
911: Most models receive a slight facelift this fall, plus a larger, more powerful engine. The engine on the 911 Carrera coupe/cabriolet and the 911 Carrera 4 coupe/cabriolet is bumped to 3.6 liters from 3.4 liters, raising output to 320 hp from 300 hp.
Cayenne: Porsche's new sport wagon goes on sale in fall 2002. The Cayenne will be built in a new Porsche factory in Leipzig, Germany. The vehicle is the product of a joint venture with Volkswagen AG, but VW does not introduce its version until early 2003. VW will build its version separately, and the two siblings will not share engines.
Carrera GT: Porsche unveiled the Carrera GT as a concept car at the Paris auto show last September, and CEO Wendelin Wiedeking made it sound like a sure thing for production. If the car were approved, he said, it would go into production in 2003. The awd concept has a normally aspirated V-10 rated at 558 hp. Wiedeking said the retail price would be at least $315,000.
To say the luxury automaker is in transition is an understatement. BMW AG takes over the Rolls-Royce brand from Volkswagen AG on Jan. 1, 2003, but VW will keep the production facilities in Crewe, England. Next year, VW will stop building the current Rolls-Royce lineup -- the Silver Seraph sedan and the two-door Corniche convertible.
BMW is building a Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England, and a plant. The factory will employ about 350 people and will build about 1,000 cars per year -- roughly double worldwide Rolls-Royce sales in 2000.
BMW probably won't be able to start production of its new Rolls-Royce model until at least the summer of 2003. The typical rollout would be to introduce a sedan first, followed a year or so later by a coupe and/or convertible, and later, a high-performance version.
Design of the car reportedly was finalized in 1999, but few details have leaked. BMW officials have said only that the new Rolls will not be based on a BMW 7-series platform.
Silver Seraph: For the 2002 model year, Rolls-Royce will commemorate the end of 55 years of Rolls-Royce manufacturing at Crewe, England (out of 97 years total) with what the company informally calls the "Last of the Line" series of the Silver Seraph.
The limited edition gets special badging and leather trim. The front lower quarter panel will get a badge with a Union Jack background that says, "Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Crewe, England." U.S. deliveries begin this fall, at a suggested retail price of $229,990.
9-3: Saab's redesigned 9-3 will be developed off GM's new Epsilon mid-sized car platform and bow in summer 2002. The new fwd platform is the basis of an entire family of new
9-3 models that likely will include a sedan, wagon and a Volvo V70 Cross Country-like awd wagon.
Roadster: Only the third concept car in Saab's history will be unveiled at the Frankfurt auto show in September. The two-passenger roadster is based on GM's Epsilon platform, and, if approved, could go on sale as early as late 2003.
9-5: The 9-5 receives a facelift for the 2002 model year that includes a new grille, clear-lens headlights, new taillights, and restyled front and rear bumpers that blend with the car's body. Engineering upgrades include Saab's first yaw control system; improved antilock brakes; and more sophisticated, adaptive airbags. The redesigned 9-5 will bow around 2005.
Sport wagon: Saab wants a sport wagon, but what GM platform Saab will share is in debate. Under consideration are the platform used by the 2002 Buick Rendezvous and the new luxury Sigma platform that will be used for the rear-wheel-drive 2003 Cadillac CTS sedan and a new awd Cadillac sport wagon. The new Saab wagon will bow in 2004.
Large sedan: A sedan that is larger than the 9-5 is under consideration. If produced, it could debut around 2005, a Saab source said.
Golf: The next-generation Golf is not expected to bow until the 2003 Frankfurt show. The A-pillar on the redesigned car will be pulled farther to the front, giving it an almost van-like shape. The wide C pillar will be retained. The Golf's wheelbase and length will be longer, creating a roomier cabin. A four-door GL model will be added this fall.
Cabrio: Volkswagen plans to give its Golf-based convertible a folding metal top for 2003, similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz SLK. Volkswagen wants three convertibles in its line -- the Cabrio, New Beetle and Jetta.
GTI: The 2002 GTI will have more power and torque. The turbocharged 1.8-liter engine will generate 180 hp and 175 pounds-feet of torque, up from 150 hp and 155 pounds-feet of torque on the 2001 model. An optional five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic will be offered with the more powerful 1.8T engine.
The GTI VR6 equipped with the 174-hp, 2.8-liter six-cylinder engine will be available with less content and at a lower price. Later in the model year -- possibly April or May -- the GTI VR6 will receive the new VR6 engine with 201 hp and a six-speed manual transmission.
Jetta: It also gets the new 201-hp VR6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic for the mid-2002 model year. A six-speed manual transmission will be available later. The 1.8T engine is boosted to 180 hp from 150 hp. The five-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic will be available with the 1.8T engine. The redesigned Jetta will bow in 2003.
New Beetle: Sales continue to slip. Has retro styling lost its appeal? Sales dropped 2.8 percent last year and 18.1 percent during the first six months of this year. From time to time, VW will attempt to stir interest in the New Beetle with new models and options.
Short-term, a new sporty Turbo S model, available early next year, will be added to the line. Equipped with the 180-hp 1.8T engine and six-speed manual transmission, it will feature special interior and exterior sport trim, including dual exhausts, 17-inch alloy wheels, and restyled front and rear bumpers. The long-awaited New Beetle convertible will bow in spring 2002.
Long-term, it's unclear whether a replacement will be produced.
Passat: The 2002 Passat W8, the first Passat powered by an eight-cylinder engine, arrives in dealerships in early 2002. It is the first of three upscale vehicles coming from Volkswagen between 2002 and 2003.
The top-of-the-line W8 Passat will be about $35,000 and is an important cog in Volkswagen's strategy to drive the brand further upscale. With the W8, the Passat will have a range of four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. The 4.0-liter W8 generates 275 hp. It is mated to Volkswagen's awd system and a six-speed manual gearbox.
D1: Can a new VW sedan complete with the Mercedes E class and the BMW 5 series? That's the intent of VW's new D1 sedan, which is scheduled to go on sale in 2003. It will be offered with the W8 engine and a new W10.
EuroVan: Its price was slashed by more than $5,000 for the 2001 model year to $26,790, including destination, and it gets VW's new 201-hp V-6. But this still is a niche vehicle that likely will be replaced by the new Microbus -- if that vehicle is approved.
Microbus: Memories of the 1960s are stirred by the word Microbus. The concept created much excitement when it was unveiled at Detroit's auto show in January. Ditto for the Geneva show. The Frankfurt show in September is the Microbus concept's next stop. After that, VW likely will consider whether production is the next step.
Sport wagon: The not-yet-named VW sport wagon goes on sale here in early 2003. For the U.S. market, Volks-wagen will use the 2.8-liter, 201-hp VR6 engine, the same powerplant used in the existing EuroVan. A W-8 engine and a W-10 engine also are expected.
S40/V40: The years are numbered for the S40 sedan and V40 wagon. NedCar, Volvo's joint venture with Mitsubishi that builds both cars in the Netherlands, closes in 2004. Their replacements will be built at Volvo's factory in Ghent, Belgium, in 2003 and share components with the next generation Ford Focus and the Mazda 323 and Protege.
The wagon, likely to be renamed the V50, will serve as the basis of a small, awd wagon that may be introduced the following year.
S60: A sporty variant will be added to the S60 line next year. The sedan will be based on the awd Performance Concept Car unveiled at the Paris auto show last September. The vehicle featured a 300-hp, 2.4-liter turbo engine. The production car may be labeled the S60R, based on the "R" designation used for performance-oriented Volvos in the past. To pave the way, the regular S60 gets optional awd this year. U.S. sales begin late this month.
V70/V70 Cross Country: Volvo is considering a less-expensive, fwd version of the V70 Cross Country.
S80: The S80 is due for a minor facelift this fall.
V90 Cross Country: Volvo expects to introduce a taller, slightly more truck-like sport wagon next year based on the Adventure concept car shown at the Detroit auto show in January. Though the name has not been disclosed, the likely moniker is V90 Cross Country. The vehicle shares the large-car platform with the V70 Cross Country wagon.
C70: Volvo probably will drop the slow-selling C70 coupe and convertible after the 2002 model year.
Staff Reporter Luca Ciferri, Automotive News Europe Staff Reporter Bradford Wernle and Automotive News Product Editor Rick Kranz contributed to this report