|PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT (TIE): Peter Mertens, Senior vice president, research and development, Volvo Car Group|
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.