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"The S90, as our flagship sedan, represents a huge leap forward for Volvo. It officially stakes our claim in the premium mid-sized sedan segment." - Jari Kohonen, Volvo vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region

Swede sensation

The new Volvo S90 exemplifies a quantum leap for the marque.
Oct 1, 2016 5:50 AM

VOLVO may identify its direct competitors as the German luxury manufacturers - Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi - but the Swedish carmaker says it offers "a different kind of premium".

Jari Kohonen, Volvo vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region, explains: "We are not 'going after the Germans' with our driving dynamics as we see no point in that and it is not who we are as a brand. We are offering something different - something people want."

Unlike the competition that also includes Lexus and Jaguar, Volvo luxury stems from its Scandinavian roots which embraces "unparalleled quality and craftsmanship".

"Our idea of luxury also lies in the entire driving environment and experience. For example, to us, our optimum driving experience is described as 'relaxed confidence'," he adds.

Before assuming his Asia-Pacific role, Mr Kohonen was the global director for revenue management, which means he has intimate knowledge of the company's growth and sales figures worldwide.

He was in Singapore this week for the official launch of the S90 mid-sized sedan. The brand new S90 replaces the S80 and is bigger, sleeker and sportier than its predecessor.

Like the XC90 sport-utility vehicle, it has a two-litre turbo and supercharged engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with a clean, uncluttered cabin featuring a large centre touchscreen.

As part of the Volvo brand's transformation, the carmaker invested heavily in a state-of-the-art chassis and simulation rig in Gothenburg.

"The S90, as our flagship sedan, represents a huge leap forward for Volvo. It officially stakes our claim in the premium mid-sized sedan segment," says Mr Kohonen.

He adds that the S90 is a car for those who want technology that makes their journeys less stressful, but without being "too overstated".

To that end, CleanZone technology was employed to ensure the cabin air is pristine.

"We go through great lengths to ensure that we deliver an engaging and controlled drive in the most comfortable environment possible," says Mr Kohonen.

For the future, he would like the Volvo brand to acquire a "human-centric" image, one that is different from its main premium competitors.

"It will be a truly global, proudly Scandinavian product which is designed around you."