SPA has been under in-house development at Volvo for the past four years and is the cornerstone of the company’s ongoing USD 11bn transformation plan. It will be introduced with the all-new XC90 and then rolled out across the product range in future. The benefits of SPA are twofold.
First, the flexibility of SPA liberates Volvo’s engineers and designers, allowing them to devise and introduce a wide range of new and alluring design features at the same time as improving driveability, introducing world-first safety features, offering the latest connected car technologies and creating more interior space.
“SPA and the XC90 are firm evidence of our Volvo-by-Volvo strategy. The XC90’s outstanding combination of luxury, space, versatility, efficiency and safety will bring the SUV segment into a new dimension, just as the original XC90 did in 2002,” says Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development of Volvo Car Group.
Secondly, SPA will change the way Volvo builds cars in future by allowing a wide range of cars, powertrains, electrical systems and technologies – all of differing complexity – to be fitted on the same architecture, generating significant economies of scale. The new SPA chassis technology reduces weight and improves weight distribution, improving driving pleasure without compromising on ride comfort.
“SPA gives us a fresh technological start. Around 90 per cent of the components in the all-new XC90 and upcoming models are new and unique. We are raising the bar to the very top of the premium league when it comes to quality and technology level in every vital area,” says Dr Mertens.
With SPA, previous design limitations in areas such as wheelbase, overhang, vehicle height and the height of the front are removed.
“This has created greater freedom for us to design cars with a confident stance, dynamic proportions and a number of distinctive design signatures. Our three recent concept cars have demonstrated this capability. Even though the all-new XC90 is an entirely different type of car, you will recognise the connection instantly when it is revealed in two weeks,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.
The new face of Volvo: ‘Thor’s Hammer’ running lights
Today, for the first time, Volvo is revealing images of the front end or ‘face’ of the new XC90 SUV, which is distinguished by its T-shaped running lights, christened ‘Thor’s Hammer’ by the design team after the shape of the hammer used by the famous Norse god of thunder, Thor.
“Anyone who looks in their rear-view mirror is going to know immediately that there is a new XC90 behind them,” says Mr Ingenlath. “The XC90 is a car that has presence on the road.”