Volvo is going after Gen Z with this small electric SUV | Top Gear
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Wednesday 4th October

Volvo is going after Gen Z with this small electric SUV

The Swedish firm wants to appeal to younger Gen Z buyers for the first time, and phase one is this small electric crossover

Published: 10 Nov 2022

‘Volvo is going to reveal the small electric SUV you can vaguely see on the left of this grainy screengrab’ was going to be the rather dry opening gambit for this story, gleaned from a sneak preview slotted into the reveal of the new EX90 seven-seater in Stockholm yesterday.

But wait! What’s vastly more interesting is that Volvo sounds keen to use this secretive new model to appeal to young people, something it’s never really done before in the 95 years it’s existed up ‘til now.

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Speaking in the aftermath of the event, CEO Jim Rowan said that he wanted to branch out from the Swedish firm’s traditional, um, mature clientele by using online buying and short-term, subscription-based ownership to lure in younger drivers.

“Take a smaller SUV, which is more for city driving, maybe for first-time buyers,” he explained. “Gen Z - 18-, 19-year-olds - is our next market. We don’t talk to Gen Z right now, the brand has never really spoken to that younger demographic. We are absolutely heading in that direction.

“If you bring a small SUV, competitively priced, and you have that subscription-based ownership - you’re only signing up for three months at a reasonably lower cost - they won’t even go to the dealership. They will buy online. I guarantee you.

“And then you have a direct relationship with those customers at a really early age. And if we do our job properly, we’ll keep those customers and we’ll trade them up, because they get married and have a dog and have kids and want a second car…”

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Rowan reckons it’ll be like changing your smartphone, so by the time Volvo’s roped you in with an insurance package and other offerings, you’ll think it’s too much hassle to bother switching.

He added: “This is when it becomes sticky, and that’s when you get a really strong relationship with the customer. Because you get so many benefits and you think ‘I’m just going to stay on the platform’.”

So what else do we know about this small electric SUV? Er, literally nothing except that it’ll be revealed sometime in 2023. And Volvo wouldn’t budge on further details when we asked; there’s not even a high-res version of that screenshot we can share with you, hence the combo of screengrabs and stage-side camera-phone shots. Very mysterious.

Still, we can take an educated guess at some details. For example, take a look at the silhouette next to the (quite massive) EX90 up there in the gallery: considering the size, bodystyle and powertrain… kinda points towards the name Volvo EX40, doesn’t it? Suppose we’ll find out next year.

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