Volvo is preparing to abandon its alphanumerical naming system

Volvo’s alphanumerical naming system is familiar, straight-forward, but tilted towards the unimaginative side of the scale. The firm will start from scratch in the coming years, and it plans to give its future models an actual name.

«If you look at cars today, they all have XC, T8, AWD, double-overhead-cam — their full specifications on the rear of many cars. Now, we’re talking about a new architecture, one that’s born electric and all electric. I think it’s good and clear to mark that this is a new beginning. That’s why we’re not going to have numbers and letters, an engineering type of name. We’re going to give cars a name as you give a newborn child. We have a very interesting and creative discussion going on about this now,» company boss Håkan Samuelsson told Auto Express.

He stopped short of providing more details about where Volvo plans to take its naming system. Historically, the company has almost always used numbers, letters or a combination of the two. The first car it released was the ÖV 4, which stood for öppen vagn 4 cylindrar («open car, four cylinders» in Swedish). Volvo gained a foothold in the United States thanks to the PV544, among other models. Some of its greatest hits include the P1800, 240 (and its six-cylinder-powered variant, the 260), the Bertone-designed 780, and the 850. Notable exceptions to this decades-old rule include the Amazon (also known as the 120 series) and the Duett (called PV445 in some markets).

Regardless of Volvo’s next approach to naming cars, the change will be a big one. It sounds like the next-generation XC90 will inaugurate this new naming system. It’s expected to make its debut before the end of 2022 with a suite of surprisingly advanced semi-automated driving technology under its sheet metal. Next, the Swedish company will turn its attention to the other side of the crossover scale. It will reportedly launch an entry-level soft-roader positioned below the XC40 and developed to lure younger buyers into showrooms. We previously thought it would wear the XC20 nameplate, though that’s seemingly no longer the case. Regardless, the crossover will offer an electric drivetrain and it will «very likely» be made in China, according to Samuelsson, to keep costs in check.

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