Swedish automaker Volvo, which was purchased by China’s Geely Holding Group Co earlier this year, plans to hire a team of Chinese designers to cater to local tastes as it prepares for its next model, Bloomberg reported.
Volvo’s next model, co-designed by design chief Peter Horbury and predecessor Stephen Mattin, is planned for 2012 and will be in the premium compact segment, the report said, citing Per-Ake Froberg, a Volvo spokesman.
The designers for this model would work at a research center being set up in Shanghai’s Jiading district, said Horbury.
Volvo’s Chief Executive Officer Stefan Jacoby aims to double sales to 800,000 cars in a decade, and China, which replaced the US to become the biggest auto market last year, is key to the goal. Design that appeals more to buyers in China and the US would help Volvo reposition itself as an upscale brand. Now the luxury-car market in China is dominated by BMW AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi.