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Volvo says it should have made its V40 hatch available in the U.S. long ago

Volvo V40 R Design
Volvo V40 R Design Image used with permission by copyright holder
Just like pretty much every major automaker, Volvo produces some of its models for the European market exclusively, and some just for the U.S. That means some consumers in one region or the other must merely fantasize about vehicles the brand decided wouldn’t be worth the trouble of bringing to the global forum.

The reason this happens is related to development costs and safety equipment. Europe has its own set of safety standards just like the U.S., so for an automaker to offer the same model in both regions, it has to pass both sets of tests. With those tests comes the necessity of smashing or dissecting dozens of “test vehicles” at the government agencies’ discretion, and of course the initial time and money to engineer high standards of safety.

With all that in mind, automakers take a hard look at all potential markets to estimate if projected sales are worth the cost to bring a model to that region. In the case of Volvo’s V40 hatch and XC40, the Swedish brand elected to keep its creations in Europe.

According to Volvo’s R&D Senior VP Peter Mertens, however, that decision was a mistake. “I think it was a mistake not having the V40, not being prepared for the U.S … but it was in that time when the company was in extreme trouble,” Mertens told Automotive News.

The “trouble” Mertens alluded to was of course when Volvo’s aging portfolio couldn’t match up to its German luxury rivals earlier this decade. Geely came to the brand’s rescue after Ford sold its stake, and since then, the automaker has produced several handsome concepts and production models.

Now Volvo, via Mertens, has declared that it’s ready to bring its full 40-series lineup to the U.S., including the S40, V40, and XC40. The compact crossover XC40 may prove to be a best-seller for Volvo in America as consumers continue to crave more small crossovers. Though the latest versions of each model won’t arrive on our shores for a couple years at least, the success of Volvo’s new XC90, and positive reception to its V90 and S90 models, should light a fire under the automaker to get more options into U.S. showrooms ASAP.

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