LOS ANGELES - Volvo's redesigned S40 sedan shares underpinnings and many components with the Mazda3 and the Europe-market Ford Focus, but Volvo Cars North America bets most people won't notice.
Only the S40 comes with a five-cylinder engine, as well as an optional turbocharged version. The interior material grades are much higher. And the vehicle design gives occupants more room.
But underneath, the S40 rides on the same chassis as its lower-rung counterparts, although Volvo tuned the strut front suspension and multilink rear pieces to meet its needs.
Volvo executives say they were able to get more out of platform sharing this time than they did with the previous S40, which shared many parts with the Mitsubishi Carisma.
Paul Gustavsson, Volvo Cars director of new-car projects, said the company saved 20 percent in r&d and parts costs by sharing component sets. It also freed up Volvo engineers to spend time in other areas.
"We spent the money we saved in areas where Volvo customers expect it, such as a better standard audio system, insulation, improved ride comfort, all-wheel drive and, of course, safety," Gustavsson said at the car's press introduction here.