Volvo PV444 – the "little Volvo" turns 70
The Volvo PV444 was the start and the symbol for the new Volvo after the Second World War, and marked the start of its export drive to the USA. 1 September will mark the 70th anniversary of its premiere in royal presence.
On 1 September 1944 an exhibition opened that would become very important for the development of Volvo. The location was the newly built Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm.
Out in the world the Second World War was still going on. But Volvo was looking ahead to the peace that would come shortly. The exhibition was to show what the then 18 year old company had done previously, what they were producing at the time, and what the public could expect when peace came.
The exhibition covered the entire Volvo Group and visitors got to see everything from a tank to hole grinding machines - and two new Volvo cars: The PV60 and the PV444. They were called "Volvo's doves of peace" in Volvo's customer magazine, Ratten.
The PV60 was a pre-war design meant to have premiered in 1940, but when the Second World War broke out the plans were scrapped because production of civilian cars by Volvo practically ceased.
The big star at the exhibition at the Royal Tennis Hall was, without a doubt, the "little Volvo", the PV444. Visitors stood on several levels to catch a glimpse of the car. What they got to see was a prototype that could not even run.
When the PV444 was unveiled in September 1944, work to develop the model had only been going on for a couple of years. Around 40 designers were working on developing the new car. A full scale wooden model was built and painted black, with silver paint denoting where there were meant to be windows. It was completed in March 1944 and shown to Volvo's founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson. After having looked at the car for a short time, both gentlemen took a decision that would affect Volvo's entire future as a car manufacturer - the car would be built.
During the exhibition and briefly thereafter, 2300 sale agreements for the PV444 were signed. But it would be some time before any cars could be delivered. During the years that followed, prototype cars were subjected to tough testing, and it was only on 3 February 1947 that the first car was signed off, with production starting in earnest the next month.
The PV444 was not just the first smaller car made by Volvo. It was also the first model with a monocoque body. The four-cylinder engine was a completely new design and was Volvo's first overhead valve design for a passenger car. The engine was 1.4 liters and its first version was capable of 40 hp SAE. All of the so-called A model PV444s were painted black using cellulose paint with metal parts inside the car painted in a light green color.
Among the prominent visitors to the inauguration on 1 September 1944 were Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, Princes Carl and Eugen, and Prince Carl Johan, uncle of King Carl XVI Gustaf. They were received by Volvo's founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson.
When the exhibition in Stockholm closed after ten days, 148,437 visitors had passed through. The queues regularly snaked along Lidingövägen outside of the Tennis Hall. Every day a PV444 was raffled among visitors to the exhibition. Everyone who had a phone subscription in Stockholm had received a free ticket. Many paying visitors also came and paid an entrance fee of one krona. Income from ticket sales was donated in full to the Red Cross.
When the PV60 and PV444 were presented Volvo's exports were modest. The magazine Ratten said the cars would: "make the public here in Sweden happy and even to some extent abroad once peace is reinstated". But it was with the PV444 that Volvo would establish its historically most important export market: the USA. On 15 August 1955, the first trial delivery of PV444s arrived in Los Angeles. The year after, Volvo had made its way to second place among the import brands in California.
Originally, it was intended for 8,000 PV444s to be built, a rather bold goal given that Volvo had previously never built more than 2,000 cars. But the "little Volvo" hit the mark just right. Almost 200,000 PV444s were produced up to 1958. If you include the modernized PV544, which was produced until October 1965, the total becomes exactly 440,000 cars. 160,000 of these were exported and 280,000 were sold in Sweden.
Volvo Leading The Industry With Car Connectivity
Volvo Leading The Industry With Car Connectivity And Telematics As Standard On Every Model: Introducing Sensus Connect, Volvo On Call, And The Volvo On Call Smartphone App
Comprehensive connected car and infotainment platform is offered across the entire 2015.5 Volvo lineup
- Access to the Internet and a range of entertainment/navigation apps, including Pandora, Yelp, and Glympse
- 3G connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot and tethering capabilities
- Volvo On Call smartphone app with vehicle status, remote lock, unlock, and start, car locator and more
- 24/7 call center support with in-car roadside assistance support and on-the-go service scheduling
- Refreshed user interface links the digital dashboard and center stack displays
- Experience Sensus Connect, Volvo On Call, and the Volvo On Call smartphone app, at any U.S. Volvo showroom
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (August 22, 2014) – With consumers’ lives becoming ever-more connected, Volvo Cars of North America is proud to introduce Sensus Connect, Volvo’s connected car platform, combined with the Volvo On Call telematics solution, and the Volvo On Call smartphone app. As the first manufacturer to offer such a system as standard equipment across the entire model range, Volvo is carrying its approach to design and safety into the connected car era. Customers can experience the system on all 2015.5 Volvo models, which are available now at all U.S. Volvo dealers.
Sensus Connect was developed to support customers’ growing needs to access infotainment that would be most useful when in the car, and is intended to enhance the day-to-day Volvo ownership experience. All new Volvos come integrated with cloud- and app-based services to make customers’ travels – and lives – easier and more enjoyable. Elements such 3G connectivity service powered by AT&T, Wi-Fi hotspot and tethering capabilities, Internet, phone, and text message access (with text-to-speech), in-car infotainment apps, 24/7 call center support with in-car roadside assistance, and more, are all included.
Sensus Connect And Volvo On Call Features
When entering a Volvo with Sensus Connect, customers are first greeted with full-function steering wheel controls and enhanced, select voice control options for greater safety. The added functionality is integrated into the user interface in look, feel and operation, including the digital dash and seven inch center stack display. With 3G connectivity, customers can access a curated collection of entertainment- and navigation-related apps to:
- Stream music, Internet radio stations, and podcasts (Pandora, TuneIn, Rdio, Sticher)
- Find restaurants, gas stations, and discover points of interest (Yelp, Wikilocation)
- Share your location with others (Glympse)
- Check the weather forecast
On vehicles equipped with in-car navigation (standard on premier trim levels and above), the system has also been upgraded, with 3D graphics and lifetime map upgrades, and is available as a standalone add-on. And with the Volvo On Call button, customers have the convenience of 24/7 roadside assistance and SOS emergency service access (with crash notification when the airbags or seatbelt pre-tensioners have been deployed), along with stolen vehicle tracking, for greater peace of mind.
Volvo On Call Smartphone App
A free smartphone app is also available with every 2015.5 Volvo model, the Volvo On Call app (available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone) provides customers an instant status overview of their Volvo. The app can show the Volvo’s current location, the status of its windows and door locks, details on recent trips, the vehicle’s fuel level and average fuel mileage, and more. A number of functions, including remote engine start to heat or cool the car before arriving (based on last used settings), honking the horn and flashing the lights, requesting roadside assistance, and even sending locations directly to the in-car navigation system, can also be performed via the app.
Customers can learn more about Volvo’s Sensus Connect, Volvo On Call, and the Volvo On Call smartphone app, as well as experience the 2015.5 Volvo models, today at any U.S. dealer. Please visit www.volvocars.us/sensusconnect for more information.
Volvo Cars approaches crash-free future with opening of AstaZero proving ground
AstaZero is the world’s first full-scale proving ground for future traffic safety solutions. Its opening has brought Volvo Car Group a step closer to realizing their vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
An important measure towards achieving this goal will be the development of active safety systems, which will help to prevent accidents. These active safety systems will be the primary focus at AstaZero proving ground, located in close proximity to the Volvo Cars headquarters in western Sweden.
One of the facility’s greatest assets is its flexibility, with a design that permits the construction of unique, customized environments. As Pether Wallin, CEO of AstaZero says, “You can simulate all types of real-world traffic scenarios. At most proving grounds, the options are more limited.”
The centre can accommodate a wide range of test conditions, such as those found on busy city roads, highways, multi-lane motorways and crossroads. These conditions are crucial for studying the way cars interact with moving obstacles such as other cars, pedestrians, cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, trucks, buses and even animals that suddenly appear. In certain studies, e.g. those involving complex traffic situations and high speeds, robots will operate the test vehicles.
“Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our active safety systems,” says Anders Axelson of Volvo Cars Safety Centre. He continues: “The facility will play several important roles: not only will it help us meet our safety vision, developing cars that don’t crash, it will also help us further develop safety functions that will address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists.”
Research and development
One of AstaZero’s main functions will be as a platform for the research and development of next-generation safety technologies. Here, in collaboration with universities and industry partners, Volvo Cars will undertake a range of initiatives, from strategic vehicle research and innovation projects to targeted research projects.
The work at AstaZero will also include the development and testing of autonomous driving technology, an intelligent driver support system designed to reduce accidents while improving the driving experience. Advanced systems are also under progress to further help prevent, for example, inattentiveness and driver fatigue.
Although meeting their target date of 2020 may be an ambitious goal, Volvo Cars has every reason to be optimistic. Indeed, as their innovative safety solutions have already shown, the future may not be that far off.
Anders Axelson, for one, is confident: “The Swedish automotive industry is at the leading edge of active safety. Thanks to AstaZero, we have great prospects for keeping our leading position. We’re the only car manufacturing company in the world to have set a goal of zero traffic fatalities for a specific date, and we’re the only country in the world whose government supports a zero traffic fatalities vision.”
AstaZero AB has built a 500 million SEK state-of-the-art proving ground outside of Gothenburg, Sweden. Based upon the collaboration between academia, industry and the authorities, the AstaZero facility will serve as an open, international platform for all interested stakeholders like vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, legislators, road agents, universities, and technical institutes from around the world. AstaZero’s industry partners consist of Volvo Car Group, Volvo Group, Scania, Autoliv and Test Site Sweden. The name Asta (Active Safety Test Area) relates to the facility’s connection to a vision of zero traffic fatalities.
AstaZero’s total surface area amounts to about 2 000 000 square metres with a paved surface of 250 000 square metres. The facility is encircled by a 5.7 kilometre highway connected to a city environment with four blocks, 40 by 25 metres. AstaZero also features a high-speed area consisting of a circle, 240 metres in diameter, with “drop add-ons” joined to a 700-metre long multilane road.
The rural road contains ten different points, both open and concealed, where objects will appear in front of the vehicles. The area is specially designed for different tests of driver behaviour and is well-suited for the use of hidden or suddenly appearing obstacles. At the road, there will be two T-junctions and a crossroad with signage in the specified language and changeable to suit customer requirements. The Rural Road will also have bus stops/lay-bys at two locations.
The City Area will primarily be used to test the vehicle’s capacity to interact with the surrounding environment to avoid hitting buses, cyclists, pedestrians or other road users. The area therefore covers a number of different sub-areas, such as a town centre with varying street widths and lanes, bus stops, pavements, bike lanes, street lighting and building backdrops. The City Area also has a road system with different kinds of test environments such as roundabouts, T-junction, return-loop and lab-area.
The multilane road consists of four lanes. These are connected to the High-Speed Area, with an acceleration road that is approximately 300 metres long, 7 metres wide and with turning loop for long vehicles. Several different scenarios can be tested on the multilane road, such as lane changes, different collision scenarios and crossing scenarios.
Located in the centre of the facility, the High-Speed Area consists of two acceleration roads. Acceleration road one is approximately 1 kilometre long. In addition to the two acceleration roads, it is also possible to use the Multilane Road for acceleration, which means vehicles can enter the High-Speed Area from 3 different directions. In this area, focus will primarily be on vehicle dynamics like avoidance manoeuvres at very high speeds.