Volvo will slash product development time to 20 months when it adds a second new vehicle architecture, r&d chief Peter Mertens said.
The replacement for the V40 and other compact cars will use Volvo's new compact modular architecture, or CMA, "and from then on," all cars will take 20 months to develop, he said.
Toyota and Mazda take about 26 months to develop vehicles, Mertens said.
Volvo's compact V40 five-door hatchback unveiled in 2012 took 42 months to develop, he said.
CMA is being developed jointly with Volvo owner Zhejiang Geely. It "will have a bandwidth" flexible enough for an affordable, competitively priced Geely car as well as a Volvo with "all of the attributes" of the Swedish brand, Mertens said at the Geneva auto show last week.
CMA will be used to replace the V40 in three years and used for other Volvo compacts, he said.
The redesigned XC90, which arrives at dealerships in Europe starting in June, uses Volvo's new scalable product architecture, or SPA, and took 30 months to develop. SPA will underpin all of Volvo's larger cars.
Eventually, development time for vehicles on SPA will drop to 20 months, Mertens said.
Mertens, a German, joined Volvo four years ago from Jaguar. He also worked for General Motors in Europe and Daimler AG.
He said Volvo has "thrown away," all the technology developed under and borrowed from previous owner Ford.
Volvo also is shifting to only one family of three- and four-cylinder super- and turbocharged engines. It will use only four transmissions: a manual, an eight-speed automatic, a six-speed automatic and a seven-speed dual clutch that will debut on its smaller vehicles.
Volvo previously had at least eight engine families and more than a dozen transmissions from its days with Ford, Mertens said.
"We have now finally cut all the strings," he said. "That is a good step."