The Beijing Auto Show had two themes, Dragons and SUV’s, but one other issue was stretched into the growing array of L cars. Lengthened cars have become the norm in China, even humble Citroen Elysee gained an extra 10cm in its B-Pillar to allow for extra rear leg room. Audi’s come in L form as standard, the A6L set the precedent, the A4L gained the sales volume to make it a success. BMW followed suit with the introduction of the BMW 328Li at the Beijing Auto Show and the fellows from the Mercedes stand opposite to BMW were enamored by the stretched 3-Series, patiently queuing in line to take a turn at sitting in the lengthened-compact sedan. How long until we see a C-Class L? Not long I think.
The rumor mill is currently issuing news of a forthcoming Volvo S60L that will be produced in Chengdu at the years end. Volvo are aiming to produce an estimated 200,000 cars per year at the new Chengdu facility. The XC60 is also expected to go into production at the same time, giving Volvo two strong cars on which to base its China plans as both stretched cars and SUV’s are in big demand. The S60 is already available in China as an import, the S60 is produced in Holland and its import status makes it relatively expensive at 280,000RMB and rising for the 1.6T version, the 2.0T is 300,000RMB and rising.
Volvo already produces the S80L in China via the Chang’an-Volvo tie up, sales of the S80L have been minimal and it hasn’t been able to make a dent in the market that is controlled by the Audi A6L, BMW 5L and E-Class L.