Getting under the skin of Volvo’s XC40

Volvo XC40 sketch

In September I visited the Volvo Design team at their Gothenburg studio to talk about the new XC40 compact SUV. This was not a typical PR press tour – it was just me and photographer Andrew Shaylor, representing Car Design News.

My job was to delve into the design story of Volvo’s latest car for the CDN site, for Interior Motives magazine and for the upcoming Car Design Review yearbook.

Alas I didn’t get to see much of the studio, where the next generation of Volvos would have been visible in their various stages of completion, but I was able to get up close to (and climb into) the new car and meet many of the people behind it.

During the day I interviewed:

  • Robin Page, senior vice president of design
  • Maximilian Missoni, vice president of exterior design
  • Ebba Maria Thunberg, design director for colour and materials
  • Conny Ewe Blommé, senior interior design manager for the XC40
  • Eric Gunnarsson Hörnsten, lead interior designer of the XC40
  • Anders Gunnarson, exterior design manager for the XC40

The above six are of course just the tip of a Swedish iceberg – a host of other people were involved in creating the latest Volvo. But it was fascinating to hear the same story told from six different perspectives, and to assemble that jigsaw of information into the story of the car for CDN’s specialist audience.

Key quote
“We see our 90 and 60 cars as being like a lion, with authority and potential energy, but this one is more like a bulldog”
Robin Page, senior vice president of design, Volvo Cars