Sophie Li on the EM90: Volvo’s first minivan


Car Design News speaks to Volvo APAC head of design, Sophie Li, about the new EM90 MPV 

It is not every day that a carmaker which has been around for the best part of a century reaches into completely new territory. With the EM90, Volvo has done just that.

This is the brand’s first MPV but is more than just a new shape with the same face. The design is fresh and brings a new emphasis on exterior lighting (even more so than with the also-new EX30), yet it still feels distinctively Volvo. Revealed in China, not Sweden, the EM90 is an effort to tap into the strong and growing market for MPVs, which by some analysts’ figures grew 15% year-on-year in October.


A totally new side profile for Volvo

The EM90 is inspired partly by the 1953 Duett (shown below) which celebrates its 70th birthday this year. Versatile, family-oriented and shaped in a way to maximise storage, the Duett had all the trademarks of an MPV but arguably sat more in estate (or wagon) territory. The EM90, by comparison, is very much a conventional MPV with a long wheelbase, an expansive DLO that wraps around the entire top portion of the car, and a squared-off rear end. It could not describe itself as anything other than an MPV.


The 1953 Volvo Duett ‘people carrier’ 

At the front, the cowl drops low beyond the windshield for maximum visibility and the bonnet is exceptionally short – but does not look out of proportion thanks to the short front overhang. “The silhouette is still very much designed with the Volvo principle of “Form follows function,” explains Sophie Li, head of design, APAC at Volvo Cars.

“Adhering to…

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