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Volvo aims to launch plug-in hybrid car in 2012

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Ford unit Volvo Cars presented a new concept car on Monday that combines a plug-in charged lithium battery with a diesel motor, technology which it aims to have on the market in 2012.

The logo of Volvo is seen on the front grill of a Volvo vehicle in a customer showroom at company headquarters in Gothenburg in this September 23, 2008 file photo. Volvo Cars presented a new concept car on Monday that combines a plug-in charged lithium battery with a diesel motor, technology which it aims to have on the market in 2012. REUTERS/Bob Strong

“This is a significant leap compared to our earlier plans of offering a regular full-hybrid on the market by 2012,” Volvo Cars chief executive Stephen Odell said in a speech.

The plug-in hybrid car, developed in partnership with Nordic power utility Vattenfall, can run on battery power for up to 50 kilometers, Odell said.

He said emissions would be below 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, about half the emissions of the best hybrids on the market, and called for politicians to introduce schemes for consumers to make the new technology affordable.

“We do of course expect that the purchasing price will be higher,” he said. “In this area we are keen to see further subsidies and incentives from the political arena to promote green choice among customers.”

PROSPECTIVE BUYERS FOR VOLVO

Odell told Reuters on the sidelines of the presentation that Volvo, put up for sale by its troubled owner Ford Motor Co. earlier this year, was still in talks with potential buyers but that Ford was in no rush to close a deal.

“Ford Motor Co has said there are a number of very interested parties in the company,” Odell said. “Ford is, with me as part of that process, talking to those parties, and not ready to give any signs beyond the fact that the discussions are ongoing.”

“We’ll go through due process and when it will end I don’t know. We’re not going to do this in haste.”

He said the talks were not yet at a point where Ford and Volvo Cars could “narrow the field” of potential buyers.

Reporting by Victoria Klesty; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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