Volvo's new S90, set to be unveiled next week, will bring new owners to the brand while competing head-on with German luxury sedans, the company's chief U.S. marketer says.
The S90 will replace the aging and slow-selling S80 as Volvo's flagship when it goes on sale in July. The S90 uses Volvo's new Scalable Product Architecture, as well as its new family of four-cylinder engines, and will be offered as a plug-in hybrid.
"It is really important for us to introduce the S90 and to be credible in the segment," Bodil Eriksson, Volvo Cars of North America's executive vice president for marketing, said in an interview. "It is about the journey we are making as a brand."
Rivals will include the Mercedes-Benz E class and BMW 5 series -- each of which slumped in 2015 while chalking up more than 40,000 U.S. sales through November.
S90 pricing will be announced in January at the Detroit auto show, where the sedan makes its worldwide debut.
The car likely will be joined by a V90 wagon, V90 Cross Country -- a high all-wheel-drive wagon -- and a long-wheelbase model. There is also unconfirmed talk about a coupe.
Eriksson said Volvo expects to sell between 5,000 and 7,000 S90s in 2016 in the United States, which is expected to be car's second biggest market after China. In 2017, its first full year of sales, Volvo expects U.S. S90 sales of 15,000 to 20,000, she said. "It would be one of our most important cars."
S80 sales have dwindled to less than 2,000 annually in each of the past three years following Ford Motor Co.'s sale of Volvo to China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in 2010.