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  • Interview: Harun Redzic, Senior Program Manager, Volvo XC60

Interview: Harun Redzic, Senior Program Manager, Volvo XC60

Engineering, Evolved

Gary Witzenburg
Jul 11, 2017
Photographers: Courtesy Of Volvo
When he was 12 years old, Harun Redzic escaped war in his native Bosnia and Herzegovina (formerly part of Yugoslavia) by immigrating to Sweden in 1992. “Yugoslavia was one big country after the second world war,” he relates, “then it was split up in 1992. Many people from the region went to Scandinavia, and my parents, my older brother, and I ended up in Sweden.” He grew up and earned his bachelor’s degree in Jonkoping, Sweden, in an “Upper Secondary Education” science program in a school called Erik Dahlberg’s Gymnasium in 1998.
Photo 2/18   |   Interview Harun Redzic Volvo XC60 Front
“I was good in technical subjects and interested in cars and sports. I got my driver’s license at 18 and moved to Gothenburg because the big universities are in big cities, and I wanted a master’s degree in engineering.” He entered the Master of Science program at Chalmers University in mechanical engineering. Four years and two Volvo summer jobs later, he earned that degree and a fulltime job from Volvo.
“In 2003, I got an offer to start in Production and Quality, at the same time doing my thesis work. So I worked two shifts. The first one was thesis work, which was connected to production efficiency, and the second was building engines on the assembly line.”
Photo 3/18   |   Interview Harun Redzic Volvo XC60 Rear
His thesis completed, Redzic was promoted in 2004 to supplier quality manager, responsible for quality of all the parts coming into the Gothenburg assembly plant from 30 global suppliers. “I worked with the engines and the cars in production, and I test-drove them coming out of production. But working at a car company with my engineering background, my dream was always to come to research and development and work on new products.” He searched internally for different positions and in 2006 took a job as product leader for roof systems.
Four years later, he moved to Global Customer Service to work with dealers and customers on extended service offers. “I was always striving to improve our products and customer service, so I got the job at Volvo headquarters and had a lot of interaction with our sales companies and dealers,” Redzic says. “Our goals were customer satisfaction and loyalty. You have to maintain your car, but we wanted to go further. Our vision was ‘Everything You Need’ as a customer at one place, your dealership.” In customer service, “a whole new world opened to me with the dealers and the commercial side, close to the customers. But I began to miss the product, the new-car programs.
In 2014 Redzic was promoted to senior program manager and vehicle line manager for Volvo’s 60 Series vehicles, beginning with the all-new XC60 crossover. “The vehicle line manager balances attributes and marketplace requests among all areas, the industrial side—development, manufacturing and purchasing—and the commercial side, working with the whole company as a product team. Having that background, both on the product R&D side and in the markets, this job was a perfect match for me.” We caught up to him during a break between test drives in Barcelona, Spain.
Photo 4/18   |   Interview Harun Redzic Volvo XC60 Grille
Truck Trend: This new XC60 rides on the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) as the larger XC90 SUV, S90 sedan, and V90 wagon. What changes were made to go from the XC90 to the smaller XC60?
Harun Redzic: The first-generation XC60 is our best-selling model and the best-selling vehicle in its segment in Europe. We knew we had a very good platform with the SPA and award-winning technology with the 90 Series, but we knew we would need to do more. So we did major research in the U.S., Europe, and China. We asked customers in this segment, both Volvo owners and non-owners, what attributes they valued the most and what they were willing to pay more for. And what came out first was design. Second was craftsmanship and quality. Third was the driving experience—fun to drive. So design, driving experience, and quality and craftsmanship were the attributes we worked very hard on. Plus, of course, we have Volvo safety in the platform and new safety features in this car.
TT: Other than size, what is different between this XC60 and the XC90?
HR: Let's start with commonality. Fifty percent of its parts, including the chassis, powertrain, and seats, are common with the XC90. Then we balance attributes. For the driving experience, we have tried to provide more confidence, more command and control, so it’s easy to drive.
TT: How does this XC60 differ from the previous generation? What are its advantages over the outgoing XC60?
HR: I think primarily the interior and exterior design, the driving experience, and the quality and craftsmanship. If you look at the materials we have selected, we have made very careful choices. In a Volvo, we use genuine materials: If it looks like wood, then it is wood. If it looks like aluminum, it is aluminum.
TT: Is it fair to call it a blend of old and new, retaining the flavor of the previous XC60 while inheriting a lot of new from the XC90?
HR: That is correct. This new one is slightly longer, lower, and wider than the previous-generation XC60, but the differences in size are very small.
Photo 5/18   |   Interview Harun Redzic Volvo
TT: What were the most difficult challenges, the toughest goals to achieve?
HR: We had a lot of pressure because we had to replace our best-selling vehicle. But when it came to what we did in development, we had confidence from the beginning. We started with eight design models and selected one. A lot of people were involved in that, and ultimately the entire team was satisfied with the selection, which is not always the case. Sometimes you have different opinions, but this one was pretty much a given in what we were going to do, and we redefined it during the program.
TT: We know that there will be a T8 hybrid version, but is this new XC60 a potential candidate for future full electrification?
HR: Yes. Both platforms, the larger SPA and the smaller CMA [Compact Modular Architecture], are capable of electrification, either hybrid or fully electric. Both platforms are ready for that.

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