Product manager for the new Volvo C40: “Design and high tech”

With the all-electric C40, Volvo is taking a radical step away from its history. “We do not want to do anything shy – it should work,” Volvo’s David de Val told Ny Teknik.

It can only be said that Volvo has not kept up with the load when it comes to the C40. The model is trendy, impractical and screams “design”. Does that sound like three words you could apply to the manufacturer’s long history of station wagons?

So, what are the benefits then? What do you want to achieve with your new trend product? Ny Teknik took that question to David de Val, product manager for what has been described as “the most impractical Volvo ever”.

When you developed the C40, what were the key elements that guided the product?

– We wanted to take a step where design could go for free rein. The compromise was always that design should be given as much leeway as possible. Then we did “edge design”, nothing shy – it should work.

How would you describe the car in three words?

– Only electrical, design and high tech.

With the C40, design is always highlighted as a priority. Is it the design team that has managed or has it been an engineering product basically?

– It’s both. We have been a small tight team that has worked together and who from the beginning knew what we were going to work with. The design department has been deeply involved all the time, but of course there are some compromises that need to be made about which spaces you have and which you do not. We have found a good balance, and the car is much more functional than you might first think.

David de val – Product Manager Volvo C40 Recharge. Photo: Gustaf Sjöholm

If you look at the typical customer for a C40, who is it and how is it different from an XC40 customer, or for that matter other Volvo customers?

– There are people who are really looking for design, and who are willing to give up certain functionality due to design. And of course they like it being electric. So, we think we should find customers who are looking for an emotional product. Which is also very good.

The segment with coupe-like crossovers has expanded considerably in recent years. Why did Volvo go in here and what is it that the C40 adds – or have you just glanced at what others are doing?

– You live in a world, and see what you see. But what we wanted to do was test design. This is our interpretation of doing something that can be perceived as sportier. We landed in this crossover style where you pulled down the roofline. We have also lowered the car, it is 56 millimeters longer than the XC40. This is what we consider to be a very nice design language where we have really taken the turns, says David de Val and continues:

– The segments are not as clear anymore as they have been. This is our interpretation and what it is called is secondary. We call it a crossover, it is a sporty and to some extent functional car.

Inside a Volvo C40. Photo: Volvo Cars

Which competitors do you see above all?

– I do not want to point out any brands specifically, it should do its own job.

The price, it starts at around 700,000 kronor, it’s not a Volvo for the masses, is it?

– It is not up to me to decide. We hope to find enough customers for this price position, it costs what it costs.

But will the C40 be sold for cash, or is it Care by Volvo or other financing you believe in?

– As we with C40 Recharge focus on new target groups who demand more flexible solutions, we believe that a large proportion of customers will subscribe to it. But C40 Recharge is also offered with other financing solutions.

Volvo C40. Photo: Volvo Cars

How does the semiconductor shortage affect the production of the C40, as well as the XC40 – can it be that there are restrictions or that certain options are cut?

– Just like the entire car and electronics industry, Volvo Cars has experienced a shortage of semiconductors since the end of 2020. We continuously adapt production in our factories to adapt to the material shortage. The purpose of these temporary measures is to stabilize the situation, and together with our suppliers ensure that we can return to normal production as soon as possible.

– It is a continued uncertain situation with rapid changes, but we expect a more stable situation towards the end of the year. We minimize the impact on our customers by prioritizing ordered cars.

So, how many electric cars will be produced in Ghent in 2022? Do you expect to maximize the capacity of 135,000?

– With well-stocked order books, our factories will go at full speed – to the extent that the availability of components allows it. In Ghent, more than half of the total production will consist of all-electric cars next year.

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by

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