New Volvo Concept Universe previews next range-topping sedan from Sweden

VolvoVolvo is looking to gain a foothold in the fast-growing Chinese auto market, and the Swedish automaker is trusting to pique interest in the brand with a range-topping luxury sedan concept. The design aims to incorporate the simplicity of Scandinavian design while also trying to discern what the modern luxury car buyer truly wants.

The Concept Universe bows at the Shanghai Motor Show to show what Volvo can do near the top-end of the large luxury sedan market. And although this vehicle is definitely a design study, Volvo doesn't appear interested in hiding its intention of going upscale. Volvo CEO Stafan Jacoby calls the concept "a sneak preview of what people can expect from our next top-of-the-line sedan."

The great concept features a coupe-like roofline that combines with a recent interpretation of the boxy Volvos of the past. Another home age to older Volvo models includes convex style lines between the wheel wells. Up front, the Concept Universe appears to borrow some lines from the Ford Interceptor concept from the 2007 Detroit Auto Show with its bumper-less front end that is rounded off all around. The grille is completely new for Volvo, with a series of shrinking, rounded rectangles; each smaller than the next.

Volvo design boss Peter Horbury feels the vehicle looks hand-crafted and durable, adding, "We will compete with the best with our particular kind of Scandinavian Design. It is unmatched in performance and technology, but without superficiality or complication."