Revamped volvo

 The old Volvo S60 stuck around too long.  A sharp-looking upscale midsize car when it first appeared in the year 2000, it sold well at first. But Volvo left it alone while other automakers kept improving their entry-level luxury cars, and after nine years on the market with no significant changes, it sold so poorly in 2009 that Volvo just stopped building it.  The company doesn’t even make an entry-level midsize car for the 2010 model year.

But they’ll build on next year.  The first photos of the 2011 S60 have surfaced, and the automotive press thinks it puts Volvo back in the game.

Edmunds Inside Line says the new design has “road presence that allows it to compete on a serious level with the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.”  The new car, Inside Line writes, is “more sculpted, with curvier headlights, broader shoulders, dramatic hood creases and a more upscale look overall.”

Autoblog likes the “coupe-like roofline and the aggressive overall styling,” but notes that the car is a long way from being a guaranteed success.  “Once out on the road, the new S60 will be gunning for the likes of the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Acura TL and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, all of which comprise of the most competitive segments in the industry.”

Of course, being a Volvo, the car will include some unique safety features as well.  Motor Trend notes, “Volvo is tight lipped so far in regards to powertrain details, but we do know that it’ll be the first Volvo model to come standard with the brand’s Pedestrian Detection system. If you haven’t heard, the technology brakes a vehicle automatically if a pedestrian is detected and the driver doesn’t react quickly enough.”

The car will make its first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show next March.  Kicking Tires reports, “Volvo says it should be on sale in the U.S. in late Summer 2010.”

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, the chief executive of Mercedes-Benz, has announced that the German automaker plans to release a series of cars that will deliver upscale features in smaller packages. “Under its tentative plan, Mercedes would import by 2012 at least one of four next-generation compact models it will start selling in Europe in late 2011,” says the Wall Street Journal.

The new models will likely compete in the upscale small car class, which includes the German Audi A3, Volkswagen GTI and BMW 1-Series – but currently does not offer a competing model from Mercedes. “The executive, identified by his trademark moustache and wire-rim glasses, is adding the small-car models with the aim of attracting new and younger drivers to the Mercedes-Benz brand,” reports Bloomberg.

In addition to being smaller, the new models should be more fuel-efficient and more affordable for younger buyers