Volvo will keep improving the looks of its XC90 as it continues building its flagship SUV in Sweden even after its range-topping, electric-only successor starts rolling off the line of the automaker's U.S. plant later this year.
"That is an advantage of building the new one in Charleston [South Carolina]," Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson told Automotive News Europe. "Why should we close down the old one in Torslanda when you still have a market for hybrids, especially in America and China."
The XC90, Volvo's No. 3-seller globally last year, with volume up 17 percent to 108,231, is offered with a range of powertrains, including a plug-in hybrid variant that offers roughly 50 km of electric-only driving in combination with a gasoline engine.
Volvo, which plans to be an electric only brand by 2030, has said its next battery-driven model, expected to be called the Embla, will become its new flagship.
Samuelsson said Volvo will continue building the second-generation XC90, which debuted in 2014 and was the first all-new model from Volvo after Zhejiang Geely Holding bought the company from Ford Motor in 2010.
"We will even look into upgrading it so it looks a bit better," Samuelsson added. "But, technology wise, we will invest in the new generation of all-electric cars."
Volvo last week announced a $1.1 billion investment at Torslanda, where the XC90 and XC60 SUVs are built, to prepare the plant to produce a new generation of EVs that the automaker says will offer better range and faster charging times at a lower cost.
Volvo wants half of its global sales -- an estimated 600,000 units -- to be battery powered by 2025. To make the transition Volvo has announced investments in the last two years totaling more than $4 billion (see chart, below).