Fleet News

Volvo sets its sights on top executive marques

VOLVO is planning an executive car showdown with its new large model range - and Jaguar's forthcoming S-type will be one of the prime targets. The S80 saloon unveiled in Gothenburg is to be pitched to win a greater share of business for the Swedish company against products from established prestige manufacturers.

Sleek styling, significant innovation and keen pricing are claimed to be key factors which will help the new-generation car score heavily against rivals from Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi. Although the car goes on sale immediately, UK supplies are unlikely to be available until September. It plans to import about 1,800 units this year prior to sales totalling 6,000 in 1999.

Initially, it is offered with a choice of two petrol engines - a 2.4-litre five-cylinder and a 2.9-litre six-cylinder - but a 2.5-litre turbodiesel and a 272bhp 2.9-litre biturbo T6 are expected to be added in the next few months. Priced from £24,500 to about £37,000, the first Volvo to be offered only as a saloon is thought to be the first large front-wheel-drive car since the Austin Ambassador to feature a transversely-mounted power unit.

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