The current second generation Volvo S80 came out to market back in 2006. Now almost 8 years has passed, and we all think it is already overdue for a redesign.
Actually the S80 should be redesigned because both of its exterior/interior already look outdated, and there are much to be enhanced for its mechanical parts too.
But we are quite sure that the highly anticipated redesign will not happen before 2018. Below are some of our analysis.
Back in 2005 and 2008, when Volvo was still belong to Ford, the Chinese automaker Chang’an Motors (which headquarters is in Chongqing) signed a manufacturing contract with Ford, that to build the Chinese market S40 and S80 (including the long-wheel-base S80L) in Chang’an Motors’ Chongqing and Daqing factories. The contract terms are 10 years for both models.
Actually in Chang’an Motors factories, some of the Ford vehicles that share the same platforms (Ford C1, EUCD platforms), together with the Volvo S40 and S80 are build/assembled on the same production lines.
When Ford sold Volvo to its current owener, Geely (another Chinese automaker), in October 2009, this contract is still effective.
This means, the Chang’an contract will expire in 2018 for the S80. If Volvo redesigned the S80 now, it need to provide the corresponding new production technique and tools to Chang’an too; but this does not work because now Volvo has nothing to do with Ford, and since Chang’an is Ford’s Chinese market partner, providing new Volvo product information to Chang’an means Volvo is sharing its new technology to Ford, for free. Obviously Volvo will not go for this route.
Therefore the only choice for updating the S80 now and not waiting until 2018 is: Volvo pays a hefty premium to Chang’an Motors to settle the contract prior to its expiration. According to our source, the parent company (Geely) considers the extra compensation does not worth the benefit that ending the contract, and updating the aged S80 four years earlier. The major reason is due to the fact that S80 is not a popular model and its profit margin does not justify the contract settlement payment.
So that’s it, we will be stuck to the 2nd-gen S80 for four more years. But anyway, from my point of view, patience is a virtue. By the way, Geely still put some enhancements to the Chinese market S80L, for example now its engine is paired to a completely new double-clutch transmission.