Volvo dropping ‘R’ performance range
( Motorauthority ) - Volvo has confirmed that it will stop selling its R-badged performance lineup at the end of the 2007 model year. Originally launched during the mid-1990s with the first T5R model and continuing with the latest S60 and V70 range, the R performance line has failed to turn around Volvo's conservative and safe image as its designers had hoped. This latest news comes as little surprise considering previous reports confirmed Volvo wasn't going to replace the V70R model with the release of the new V70 wagon.
Speaking with Automotive News, Volvo CEO Fredrik Arp said there will still be performance oriented models but the cars won't be carrying the R label. New models in the pipeline include a sports version of the C30 hatch as well as a V8 powered S80 flagship.
The problem was not with the cars themselves, but with the image of Volvo as a performance brand. Both the S60R and V70R featured 300hp turbocharged engines mated to Haldex AWD systems and an electronically controlled chassis with Ohlins shock absorbers. Unfortunately, the bulk of Volvo's customers are not interested in performance cars and sports enthusiasts aren't usually inclined to test-drive a Volvo when buying a car.
Volvo sold less than a third of its R-model cars that it had hoped to but remains committed to maintaining a performance range. "We are not giving up the title feature in our products," Arp said, "we are working on the next phase, but it will not be immediate."