Still Time For One More XC90 Facelift Before EV Takeover, Says Volvo

Volvo is preparing to unleash a new generation of EVs ready for its total switch to electrically powered vehicle sales in 2030. But the imminent arrival of a new flagship SUV doesn’t mean the end of the elderly XC90, which Volvo says it will facelift and keep in production.

The new, still semi-secret SUV previewed by 2021’s Concept Recharge, which could potentially be called the Embla, starts production at Volvo’s U.S. plant later this year. But the XC90 it effectively replaces is built at the carmaker’s Torslanda plant in Sweden, and CEO Hakan Samuelsson says that gives Volvo the perfect opportunity to produce both models, at least initially.

“That’s an advantage of building the new one in Charleston,” Samuelsson told Automotive News Europe. “Why should we close down the old one in Torslanda when you still have a market for hybrids, especially in America and China.”

Related: Volvo To Build Electric SUV That Slots Between XC60 And XC90 In The U.S. From 2025

Last year’s Concept Recharge previews the upcoming XC90 replacement

The second generation XC90 was introduced in 2014 and proved such a successful design that Volvo didn’t facelift the model until the 2021 model year, when it updated the bumpers and grille. But Samuelsson told Automotive News Europe that the SUV is in line for another refresh.

“We will even look into upgrading it so it looks a bit better,” Samuelsson said. “But, technology wise, we’ll invest in the new generation of all-electric cars.”

The changes are likely to be limited to cosmetic enhancements designed to make the older machine look more like Volvo’s new generation of EVs. So rather than switching to fully electric power, it will focus on existing hybrid and combustion technology. Despite its age, the XC90 increased in popularity last year, with sales rising 17 percent to 108,231 in 2021.

The investment required to freshen up the XC90 will be a drop in the ocean compared with the $1.1 billion Volvo recently announced it is spending at the XC90’s Torslanda plant to prepare for the next generation of EVs that will eventually consign the older ICE SUV to the history books.

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