Volvo dealers are hoping for a vehicle at the other end of the spectrum for American buyers: A big luxurious sedan that can challenge BMW's 7 series, Audi's A8 and Mercedes S class.
"We're missing that next step up in the luxury line," said Randy Pullen, the general manager of a Volvo dealership outside Atlanta, Georgia. "We have to create a broader selection of product."
The Volvo lineup is also missing a subcompact car and is facing a growing need to replace aging vehicles. The XC90, its largest crossover, will be 12 years old when it's renewed in 2014.
The S80, its biggest sedan, will be nine years old when it's revamped in 2015.
The average lifespan for models in Europe is about seven years.
The S40 and V50, Volvo's smallest sedan and wagon, are both eight years old, and the company has yet to announce when they will be replaced.
Volvo pulled them from the U.S. market last year because of poor sales.
"We have not made a decision on whether to go further up and down" in the various car segments, Chief Executive Officer Stefan Jacoby told reporters March 6 at the Geneva auto show.
Volvo intends to focus in the coming years on "core" cars, such as the midsize S60 sedan and crossover XC60, its two bestsellers, he added.
Volvo is also talking with other carmakers about sharing development costs for future compact cars, Jacoby said, declining to identify the candidates.
In China, Volvo's fastest-growing market, the Swedish company needs more cars with an extended wheelbase to appeal to the chauffeur-driven market, said Bill Russo, a Beijing-based senior adviser at Booz & Co.
Mercedes, BMW and Audi all offer models with extended wheelbases in the market. "If Volvo will significantly grow its business, its next stage of development has to be to bring a higher level of localized cars to this market, and I think that's where they're headed," Russo said.
Volvo makes the longer S80L model for China at a factory co-owned by former owner Ford and Chongqing Changan Automobile Co.
The Swedish carmaker aims to open its own plant in Chengdu in late 2013, and plans a second factory in Daqing.
In the United States, Volvo's largest market, the company needs more fuel-efficient cars, which are becoming increasingly important amid high gasoline prices, said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends at TrueCar.com in Santa Monica, California, which tracks sales and price trends.
Volvo should also consider bringing diesel cars, which have "contributed greatly" to VW's growth, to the United States, Toprak added.
Sources: Bloomberg; Automotive News Europe