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Volvo sets new S90 sedan to catch Audi, BMW, Merc

Volvo Car Group, the Chinese-owned Swedish automaker, has launched a new model to try and gain ground in the premium segment dominated by German luxury brands. The carmaker offered a preview of the S90 sedan on Wednesday. The car comes with high expectations after Volvo's new flagship SUV, the XC90, helped boost sales in recent months despite a slowdown in China, the world's biggest auto market. The S90 was earlier set to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Gothenburg-based Volvo, which is overhauling its model range to propel sales in the US back above 100,000 units per annum, expects it to sell 50,000 units in 2017, agencies reported, quoting chief executive Hakan Samuelsson. To watch the video click here Volvo is aiming at annual global sales of 800,000 cars in 2020, for which it will need to take on larger rivals like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volkswagen’s Audi. The S90 will come with three power options: petrol, diesel and a plug-in hybrid. One report suggested the car could be launched in India around Diwali next year. "You need the sedan to be serious in the premium market," Samuelsson said, adding that 15,000 o the cars will be produced next year. "We will have around 50,000 when we have full production," he said. Samuelsson expects a substantial improvement in earnings this year from the 2014 operating profit of 2.25 billion Swedish crowns (£173 million), adding that sales so far had not been affected by VW's emission scandal. Diesel engines have been in the spotlight since Volkswagen admitted in September that it had installed software in up to 11 million vehicles worldwide that understated their emission of smog-causing nitrogen oxides. "So far we haven't seen anything in our numbers, but this will be a huge discussion in the business in the future," Samuelsson said. Total sales at Volvo, bought by China's Geely from Ford in 2010, are up 5 per cent so far this year at 441,002 cars, driven by strong demand for the XC60 and XC90. Volvo has seen its turnover in the United States, once its biggest market but now eclipsed by China, eroding over the past decade. Still, its US sales have increased by 18 per cent this year. Volvo expects total sales of around 500,000 cars this year, which would be a record for the Gothenburg-based company.