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PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (TIE): Peter Mertens, Senior vice president, research and development, Volvo Car Group
After five years, Volvo is emerging from the painful product drought that followed its 2010 sale by Ford Motor Co. to Zhejiang Geely. The product revival led by Peter Mertens, head of r&d, began in the spring with a strong debut of the XC90 large crossover. It will continue with seven new or redesigned vehicles by the end of 2017.

Mertens, 54, guided development of the brandís new Scalable Product Architecture that will underpin most new models, allowing the XC90 to gain interior space while shedding 275 pounds. The XC90 also marks the debut of a new family of engines that will include three- and four-cylinder powerplants.

Volvo is partnering with Geely to develop the Compact Modular Architecture for smaller vehicles, which Mertens has said will cut product development time to 20 months from as many as 42 months for recent models. The efforts are shaking Volvo out of its worrisome sales slump.