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Volvo to preview a sleek new look at auto show

(MoneyWatch) Volvo, known for safety and staid design, will preview a sleek new look at the Frankfurt International Motor Show opening this week. While the Volvo coupe in Frankfurt is only a concept car, company officials say it signals the design direction of future models.

Now owned by the Chinese car company Geely, Volvo has hired designer Thomas Ingenlath, formerly at Volkswagen, to craft a new look. "The Volvo concept coupe reveals how we can shape our cars from now on," says Ingenlath. That will even be true in the redesigned XC90 SUV, to be introduced next year, he adds. The new look in the coupe also draws upon design elements of the P1800, a sports car the company sold in the 1960s and '70s.

The Frankfurt show is a showcase for primarily European car makers, but Chevrolet will show a Camaro convertible, Jeep will display a special edition of its Wrangler and Ford a new crossover called S-Max that will likely be sold only in Europe.

Here is a look at some of the other new models being introduced in Frankfurt:

Volkswagen Golf  VW is showing the Golf R all-wheel drive model and an electric e-Golf. A concept version of the Golf Sportsvan that, as the company tells it, melds a compact car with a minivan for more passenger and cargo space. The Sportsvan, likely to be produced next year, includes some advanced safety features like blind spot warning.

Audi A8 With booming U.S. sales this year (up nearly 15 percent over last year), Audi is working to keep its luxury line fresh. The top of the line A8 will have design tweaks in the grille, headlights and taillights. The biggest version, the A8L, will be five inches longer in the new model. The 3.0-liter diesel engine, with a version already on sale in the U.S., increases to 258 horsepower.

Land Rover hybrid diesels Both the Range Rover and Range Rover sport models will get these hybrid versions, pairing a an electric motor with a 3.0-liter diesel engine for total horsepower of 335. Land Rover says these SUVs can travel up to a mile on the electric motor alone. Though to be sold initially only in Europe, these hybrid diesels are likely to wind up in the U.S., to help the company meet the tightening federal MPG standards.

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