Why Volvo changed naming plans for EX90 electric SUV

Former Volvo Cars CEO Hakan Samuelsson said in 2021 that the automaker’s replacement for the
XC90 would have a name that deviated from its longtime use of letter and number combinations.

“This car will have a name, more like a [newborn] child,” Samuelsson said during a presentation of the company’s EV-centric future on June 30.

Last October, Samuelsson hinted that the new crossover’s name would “start with a vowel.”

That same month Volvo filed for trademark protection in October for the name Embla, according to Australian news site Drive. In Norse mythology, Embla is the name of the first woman.

However, Samuelsson’s successor, Jim Rowan, who took charge in March, decided against such a dynamic change to the XC90’s name.

He chose something closer to the original — EX90 – for the first model under his leadership.

When asked for more insights into the name choice, Rowan provided the following comment through the company’s communications team.

“Different options are continually reviewed when it comes to the introduction of new models and many considerations need to be taken into account, particularly brand familiarity,” he said. “We have reviewed all the associated factors and ultimately the EX90 marks a new iteration on our current nomenclature and is reflective of our transition toward a full-electric lineup by 2030.”

Volvo wants half of its global sales — an estimated 600,000 — to be full-electric vehicles by 2025 and to be an electric-only brand by 2030.

‘More understandable’

Volvo dealer Garth Blumenthal said sticking with alphanumeric model names is “more understandable” for consumers.

“People are used to seeing XC90, XC60, and so on,” Blumenthal, CEO of Unstoppable Automotive Group, told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News. “I feel that continuity is more important than trying to reinvent the wheel.”

A dealer in northwest Germany said he isn’t concerned about car names.

“The main thing is that the cars look good and work well,” the dealer, who ask not to be identified, told Automotive New Europe.

It is too early to say whether the replacements for the XC60 and XC40 — the company’s No. 1- and No. 2-sellers globally — will be called the EX60 and EX40, a company spokesman said.

Volvo also could run in legal trouble if it applied the “E” naming formula to the S60 and S90 sedans, turning them into the ES60 and ES90, respectively. Lexus has a sedan model family that uses ES in its name.
Urvaksh Karkaria contributed to this report

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