Volvo is considering ripping out the front passenger seat of its premium cars and replace it with a mobile office to satisfy Chinese motorists’ tastes.
The country’s auto market has already seen manufacturers develop long-wheelbase cars to meet demand for more space in the rear of cars, as lower labour costs mean China’s chauffeur-driven middle classes expect greater luxury.
Now Volvo is taking this trend to a new level, with a new concept that swaps out the front passenger seat for an electrically powered moveable “lounge console” that features a desk, 17-inch TV screen, illuminated mirror a variety of storage boxes. It also gives the back-seat passenger an uninterrupted view of the road ahead.
Unveiled at this week’s Shanghai motorshow, the idea highlights how Western manufacturers are reacting to consumer demand from China, which overtook the US several years ago to become the world’s largest car market .
The overall China market is expected to grow by 7pc this year to see almost 25m cars sold there this year, representing almost 30pc of the total 88m cars expected to be purchased worldwide in 2015, according to analysts at IHS.
The country’s premium car market, which was responsible for about 1.3m vehicles last year, is expected to grow at an even faster rate this year, with some auto manufacturers predicting it could hit 3m cars by 2020.
The lounge console takes the extra legroom concept to extremities
Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s senior vice-president of design, said: “The intention with this concept is to showcase two things that Volvo is aware of the needs of our executive customers and that with design innovation and modern materials we can effectively create passenger experience that is unique in the premium car segment.
Read more at Yahoo Finance.