S40, V70 Project Leader, Volvo
Volvo's S40 sedan and V50 wagon are two of the most important cars in the company's history.
Peter Ewerstrand was the man Volvo put in charge of the programs.
Volvo's small cars were developed in collaboration with Ford Motor Co., the first Volvos to be made on a Ford platform. The program, which includes Mazda, is called C1 Technologies.
The idea behind the program was to build three completely different cars -- the Ford Focus C-Max, the Mazda3 and the two Volvos -- on the same platform.
Volvos have always been praised for their safety and functionality, but seldom for being fun to drive. In this department, the S40 and V50 are a big improvement over their predecessors.
"I told the engineers I wanted a car that was neutral, which wouldn't switch too quickly from understeer to oversteer" Ewerstrand says. "You can get oversteer with the new S40, but it won't surprise you when it happens."
Ewerstrand supports the C1 objective: "If a certain part doesn't make a brand unique, sharing it allows you to spend more money on the parts that do make a brand unique."
Ewerstrand believes the S40 and V50 could combine to be the best-selling models among Ford's four Premier Automotive Group brands.