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Volvo Set on Shift to 4-Cylinders

Maker betting fewer cylinders will equal more sales.

by on Feb.09, 2012

The Volvo Concept You hints at the direction the maker plans to take, including its shift to small 4-cylinder and battery-based powertrains.

Volvo is committed to using only four-cylinder engines across its entire model line but it could take as long as five years to implement the strategy completely, according to John Maloney, the Chinese-owned Swedish maker’s U.S. president and chief executive officer.

During a keynote speech at the Chicago Auto Show, Maloney pointed to ongoing market trends and the likelihood that fuel prices will ultimately go up again to explain why Volvo is moving to an exclusive four-cylinder strategy even while key competitors emphasize sixes, eights and even 12-cylinder powertrains.

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“It just makes sense,” he said, noting that not only are fours more fuel-efficient but today able to match the power and performance of traditional, larger engines.  The technology also will make Volvo’s operations more efficient but simplifying the company’s purchasing and manufacturing operations.

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