Volvo has just launched the new three-seat XC90 Excellence Lounge edition in India at a price point of Rs 1.42 Crore. That makes this new flagship offering Rs 10.76 lakh more than the standard XC90 T8 Excellence four-seater, which is already brimming with luxury.
Surprisingly though, amidst the slowdown that the auto industry is facing currently, India is the first country in the world to get this ultra-luxury Excellence Lounge variant of Volvo’s full-size SUV. India is also the largest market in the world to get the top-spec Excellence variant of XC90; over 100 units of this trim of the luxury hybrid SUV have already been sold in the country.
In fact, it is because of this success of the XC90 Excellence that Volvo decided to test the waters with an even more premium offering – the Excellence Lounge – in India. The variant was expected to make its global debut in China after the concept version was showcased at the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show. However, the fact that it has been offered first in India instead cements this market’s importance for the Swedish automaker. To begin with, Volvo India will import 15 units of the Excellence Lounge in India and will subsequently bring in more if the demand rises.
Incidentally, it is not just the XC90 that gets the Lounge treatment but also the S90. The flagship sedan with the three-seat configuration was showcased at the 2016 Guangzhou Motor Show and features the same 17-inch fold-away touchscreen, a place to rest your feet and a storage area for shoes in place of the front passenger seats like in the XC90 Excellence Lounge. However, on the sidelines of the XC90 Excellence Lounge launch in Mumbai, Charles Frump, managing director, Volvo Cars India spoke to Autocar India and stated that there were no plans of launching a high-spec ultra-luxury variant of the S90 sedan in India anytime soon.
Although, considering the fact that Volvo India has shown a 25 per cent growth in sales in the last fiscal year and a 11 per cent growth in sales in the first half of 2019 (as compared to the same time period in 2018, with 1,159 units sold), the Swedish automaker certainly seems to be bucking the de-growth trend of the Indian auto industry. And with clear takers for ultra-luxury offerings at a relatively sensible price, Volvo might want to consider a top-spec S90 offering for India; or at least a petrol-powered variant to take on the likes of the market leaders – the Mercedes-Benz E-class and the BMW 5 Series.