Today, Driven to write dons a metaphorical black armband as Volvo’s CrossCountry sales flop is quietly stuffed in a sack and drowned.
Spare a thought if you will for the unfortunate product planner, tasked with uncovering the next automotive sales sensation, while negotiating the myriad trapdoors luring the unwary and over-ambitious. Falling on their swords this week are those hapless individuals in Gothenburg who are having to make uncomfortable excuses to their superiors following the failure of the Volvo S60 CrossCountry, sales of which have been discontinued in the UK after only one year.
It wasn’t the most illogical of ideas I suppose, providing you’re prepared to assume that customers in the market for one of these all-purpose, raised-ride height Estates originated at Subaru and popularised by Audi, Skoda and Volvo might prefer a saloon cut from similar cloth.
Turns out of course they didn’t, but not before Volvo went to the expense of mocking up, production-engineering, assembling and marketing the model, only for 34 of the things to find asylum in Blighty since its introduction. A Volvo spokesperson told Autocar last week that UK sales ambitions for the model were always expected to be modest and that Volvo UK had sold all of the S60 CrossCountry models it was allocated; a neat piece of PR backspin, which of course we all unreservedly believe to be true.
What this same Volvo spokesperson didn’t see fit to add is that the model is hardly setting the US sales charts on fire either. North America of course is perhaps the S60’s largest market, with sales of 16,706 last year, but Volvo sold a paltry 287 S60 CrossCountry’s in 2015; its Estate sibling managing a non-stellar 2769 vehicles over the same period. North America has fallen decisively out of love with the wagon format, so even those sales were hard-won.
In Europe of course, the opposite is true. European sales for the V60 Estate last year (which incorporates the CrossCountry model) were up on the previous year and have been holding steadily around the mid-20,000’s since 2011, reinforcing the fact that European buyers like their Volvo’s primarily in 5-door form. European S60 sales this year (to March) were by contrast a feeble 988 cars. To put that into perspective, Citroen sold more C5’s over the same period – which for them was good going.
Frankly you really don’t have to be much of a product planner to conclude that the S60 CrossCountry was never likely to garnish anyone’s salad, but I suppose on balance it was worth a try. Nonetheless, it’s probably safe to assume the model will also be quietly discontinued in left-hand-drive markets over the course of the year, which should give Volvo’s PR department a little more time to work on their excuses.
Car Sales Data Source: Left-lane.com