VERONA, Italy (Bloomberg) -- Volvo plans to challenge BMW AG, Audi and Mercedes-Benz with its new V60 station wagon in Europe.
Volvo forecasts annual sales of 50,000 of the V60, which goes on sale later this year, Tomas Ahlborg, the model's project chief, said in an interview in Verona, Italy, where the carmaker is holding test drives.
The V60 and recently introduced S60 sedan are key to Volvo's efforts to boost sales in its European market and reach profitability under China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., which four weeks ago bought the carmaker from Ford Motor Co.
Volvo is targeting sales of 400,000 cars worldwide this year, up from 334,800 in 2009.
“This will be one of our very most important cars for the European market,” Ahlborg said.
The V60, which started production Monday at the Torslanda plant near Volvo's Gothenburg, Sweden, headquarters, features a sloping rear windscreen that gives it a sportier look compared to the carmaker's V70 and V50 station wagons.
Volvo will use the model to challenge BMW's 3 Series Touring, the Audi A4 Avant and the Mercedes-Benz C class, Ahlborg said.
Volvo expects 90 percent of V60 sales to be in Europe, Ahlborg said. The car most likely won't be sold in the U.S. as “the market for sports wagons is pretty small” in North America, he said.
Sales of the V60 should approach those of the XC60 crossover, Volvo's most popular model globally and in Europe.
Volvo's seven-month sales of the XC60 totaled 48,000 globally, including 30,000 in Europe, spokesman Per-Ake Froberg said
The V60 has a world debut at the Paris auto show on September 30.