Volvo Cars and its Chinese parent, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, have begun development of a subcompact vehicle platform in a Swedish r&d center that the partners opened last year.
The subcompact would be used exclusively by the Geely brand to compete against international rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the development.
Citing an interview with Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson, the newspaper said the subcompact car likely would go on sale in several years.
The paper said a key goal of the project is to engineer a subcompact car that meets safety and quality standards in Western markets where China's automakers have struggled to gain traction.
No other details were available about the project.
The subcompact would be the second joint project undertaken by the r&d center.
Last September, Zhejiang Geely disclosed that the center is developing a compact car platform that both companies could use. On Friday, The Journal reported that the compact car would hit the market in three or four years.
Zhejiang Geely acquired Volvo from Ford Motor Co. in 2010.
Meanwhile, the Brose Group announced on Jan. 22 that it would supply components for the compact car that Geely and Volvo are developing.
The German supplier said the vehicles will be launched in China and Europe.
Brose also will supply a variety of mechanical components -- such as door, seat and latch systems, power tailgates and electric drives -- to Geely's other models, according to a partnership agreement it signed with Geely this week.