50 years of cars that have got Sweden and the world rolling
Over the course of 50 years, Volvo's Torslanda factory has produced more than 6.8 million cars that have rolled out across the world. Models such as the Amazon, P1800 and 240 have become a part of Sweden's cultural heritage, and models such as the XC90 and S80 are set to do the same in future. Here you can see a cavalcade featuring some of the models that have rolled out of the Torslanda factory over the past five decades.
A Volvo Amazon was the first model to emerge from the new factory in Torslanda in 1964. At that time, the model had been in production since 1957, had quickly become popular and had another Volvo model, the PV544, as its main competitor.
The Amazon was one of the cars to characterise the Swedish road landscape throughout the 1960s, and lived on until 1970. However, when the factory closed for the holidays on 3 July 1970, its story drew to a close after a total of 667,322 cars manufactured with two, four and five doors.
The second model to be produced from the start in the new Volvo factory was the Volvo P1800, the beautiful sports car launched in 1961. With the aid of Roger Moore as Simon Templar in the British TV series The Saint, the P1800 acquired a halo that still shines 50 years later. Today, the P1800 is the most sought-after of Volvo's classic models.
The autumn of 1966 saw the launch of the first entirely new model since the opening of the Torslanda factory: the Volvo 140. This established in earnest Volvo's worldwide reputation as a leader in the field of safety, with new features such as a dual circuit braking system, disc brakes on all four wheels, a split steering column and a body with energy-absorbing zones front and rear.
Six months later came the 145 combi, which eventually created a predilection for Volvo's estate cars, not just in Sweden but on many markets around the world.
1974 saw the launch of the model that would come to symbolise Volvo Car Corporation for many years: the Volvo 240. Few car models have had such a long lifetime, with the 240 series living on until 1993. More than 100,000 car builders in the Torslanda factory have contributed to it rolling out across the world over the years.
At the start of the 1980s, a turbocharged version of the 240 series was also launched – the first turbo from Volvo and now a much sought-after collector's car.
Between 1974 and 1982, the 240 series – along with its 6-cylinder sibling the 260 – was the only model produced at the factory in Göteborg.
In 1982, however, the 240 cars were joined by a model that would symbolise a new age for Volvo Car Corporation. The 700 series, in the form of the Volvo 760, was launched in 1982, and was supplemented by the Volvo 740 two years later.
Many people, particularly in Sweden, reacted to the size – it looked so much bigger than the 240 they had grown accustomed to. But the design was playing tricks on the eye – the 740/760 was the same length and height, almost to the millimetre.
The angular design also contrasted with the more rounded shapes being produced by many other car manufacturers at the start and middle of the 1980s. However, this had been carefully balanced to create timelessness, plenty of space and – surprisingly to many – good aerodynamics.
In 1991 it was time for a revolution!
And this was made up of the three figures 8, 5 and 0: the Volvo 850 which was launched in 1991. This car project was the largest and most expensive in Volvo's history, and was described by Pehr G. Gyllenhammar as the most important to have happened in Swedish industry.
With its transverse, five-cylinder engine, the Volvo 850 was something completely new, not least in the sense that it was the first Swedish-developed, front-wheel drive Volvo ever.
However, it was another – more traditional – Volvo model that was first to be launched in the 1990s, namely the 940 and its big brother the 960, which started being produced in the first year of the decade.
As the Millennium started to draw near, it was time for the successors to the 850 series to take their place in Torslanda, in the form of the S70 and V70. The following year, 1998, saw the launch of the large S80 saloon. Designed in Volvo's studio in California, it radiated elegance and authority like few other Volvo models. It was also named the "World's most beautiful car" in the design-conscious country of Italy.
The new Millennium started hectically in the Torslanda factory. The new V70 and XC70 took their place on the production line, based on the same technology as the S80. Once again, Volvo confirmed its position as a world leader with regard to safety, principally through new features such as the Inflatable Curtain side impact curtain and WHIPS – Whiplash Protection System.
In 2002 Volvo stepped into an entirely new model segment, SUVs – Sport Utility Vehicles – which have long been a big seller in the USA. Many critics felt that the new XC90 was coming to the party too late, but they were to be proved wrong.
The XC90 was admittedly a large seven-seater, but with the safety, environmental performance, road-holding and practicality of a regular car. Customers loved it and the awards simply continued to stream in, including being named "Truck of the Year" in the USA.
Even before the first car rolled off the production line in Torslanda, 15,000 orders had been received, and production was soon in the region of 60,000 cars per year.
When the first generation XC90 goes out of production later this year, it will have constituted the largest single export product from Sweden ever.
Six different Volvo models are currently manufactured in Torslanda: the S60, V60, V70, XC70, S80 and XC90. And if we add the V60 plug-in hybrid, which requires a separate process due to its high-tension technology, that makes seven. All are produced on the same line, with a mix that is governed by how customers all around the world have ordered their cars – logistics so complicated that it is difficult for an outsider to understand.
After 50 years, our workforce of more than 3,000 employees is now preparing for the next generation of Volvo models, based on the all-new SPA architecture. First to be launched, later this year, will be the all-new XC90.
Volvo Car Group at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show
Volvo Cars forecasts record sales of at least 80,000 cars in China in 2014
China is poised to replace the US as Volvo Car Group’s (Volvo Cars) largest market in 2014 with sales of at least 80,000 cars, up from 61,146 in 2013, highlighting the company’s growing presence in the world’s fastest growing automobile market. Sales in the US in 2014 are expected to increase in line with the broader market.
The emergence of China as Volvo Cars’ leading market represents an important step towards the company’s long term goal of selling 800,000 cars a year and promises to break a 20 year cycle during which it has consistently sold around 400,000 cars a year.
“Growing demand for first-class safety and environmental performance makes Volvo an ever more attractive brand in the Chinese marketplace,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO. “As a company at the forefront of technological and environmental developments, Volvo Cars is well placed to enhance its reputation as a premium brand and further strengthen its position in China.”
The premium segment of the car market in China is forecast to grow by 20 per cent this year. Volvo Cars expects to outpace this growth, indicating it is gaining market share from its competitors. Volvo Cars’ confidence is borne out by first quarter sales figures for the China market, which reveal sales rose 25.4 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2013, to 17,286 cars.
During the first quarter, the Volvo XC60 SUV was the best-selling model, followed by the S60L long wheelbase sedan and V40 hatchback. The sales start of the V40 Cross Country as well as an ongoing expansion of the dealer network will further support Volvo Cars’ continued growth in China.
The Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid
At the Beijing Motor Show, Volvo Cars also officially debuts the Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid (PPHEV), underlining its commitment to bringing electrification technology to China. The ingenious petrol plug-in hybrid – an electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car all rolled into one – offers the driver an outstanding combination of dynamic driving pleasure and superb fuel economy.
The S60L PPHEV features the same electrification technology as the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid, which has been a groundbreaking success in Europe.
“Creating a powertrain that offers 306 horsepower by blending a 238 horsepower petrol turbo from our new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family with a 68 horsepower electric motor, proves that the most efficient car can also be the most fun to drive. This is our most technologically advanced powertrain ever. It brings us closer to our vision to offer zero emission motoring in the future,” said Håkan Samuelsson.
The S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid, with an exceptionally CO2-efficient 238 horsepower Drive-E petrol turbo paired with plug-in hybrid technology, will be launched in China early 2015. The car will be built in the Chengdu plant, which already now produces the petrol-powered Volvo S60L.
Volvo Cars can now also confirm that the first car to be assembled in the Daqing plant in northeastern China will be the Volvo XC Classic, a locally-built variant of the current Volvo XC90, production of which in the Torslanda plant in Sweden will cease this summer. The XC Classic will be sold solely in the Chinese market after its launch later this year. Other models to be built in the Daqing plant will be confirmed at a later stage.
Volvo Cars to unveil the ingenious S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show
Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) will reveal the Volvo S60L PPHEV (Petrol Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Concept Car at the 2014 Beijing International Auto Show. The ingenious petrol plug-in hybrid – an electric car, hybrid car and high-performance car all rolled into one – offers the driver an outstanding combination of dynamic driving pleasure and superb fuel economy.
The production version of the S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid, with an exceptionally CO2-efficient 238 horsepower Drive-E petrol turbo and plug-in hybrid technology, will be launched in China early 2015 and will be produced at the Chengdu plant. As such, the car forms part of Volvo Cars’ plan to contribute to the development and spread of new automotive technologies in China.
“The creation of a powertrain with 238+68 hp and 350+200 Nm of torque by combining a petrol turbo from our new four-cylinder Drive-E engine family and an electric motor proves that the most efficient car can also be the most fun to drive. This is our most technologically advanced powertrain ever. It brings us closer to our vision to offer zero-emission motoring in the future,” says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President, Research and Development at Volvo Cars.
The S60L PPHEV (Petrol Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) Concept Car features the same electrification technology as the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid, which has been a groundbreaking success on the European markets.
In the S60L, however, the diesel engine of the V60 has been replaced with a new, two-litre, four-cylinder petrol turbo from Volvo Cars’ new Drive-E engine family. It boasts 238 hp and 350 Nm of torque. Other key components in the super-efficient powertrain is a crankshaft-driven ISG (Integrated Starter Generator) between the engine and the 8-speed automatic gearbox and a 68 hp electric motor powered by a 11.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed under the floor of the load compartment.
CO2 emissions at 50 g/km
The driver selects the required driving mode via three buttons that give the car three entirely different temperaments: Pure, Hybrid or Power.
In the default hybrid mode, the carbon dioxide emissions are about 50 g/km. This corresponds to fuel consumption of just 2.0l/100 km.
At the touch of a button, the driver can also choose to cover up to 50 km on pure electric power – or use the combined capacity of the petrol turbo and electric motor to create a veritable driving machine with 238+68 horsepower, 350+200 Nm of torque and 0-100 km/h acceleration in 5.5 seconds.
“This on-demand possibility to choose between different driving modes makes the plug-in hybrid the perfect choice for the uncompromising customer who wants minimum carbon dioxide emissions combined with maximum driving pleasure,” says Peter Mertens. “The electric range covers the needs of most Chinese commuters, and the car has a total range of about 1,000 km in hybrid mode.”
The S60L PPHEV Concept Car can be recharged from a regular power outlet (230V/6A to 16A fuse) at home or in a car park. The recharging time varies with the amperage. A full charge with 10A takes 4.5 hours, while a 16A charge takes it down to 4.0 hours.
Instant All Wheel Drive
Pressing the AWD button activates the exceptionally responsive electric four-wheel drive. Instead of the mechanical power transfer of conventional four-wheel drive, the central control unit distributes power between the petrol-driven front wheels and the electrically driven rear axle.
The driver can also choose to save battery power for driving on pure electricity later, for instance, in the centre of a city in order to eliminate all tailpipe emissions.
The S60L PPHEV Concept Car is painted in a matt white crystal pearl colour, with contrasting black or blue details on the lower body and the seven-spoke wheels. The exclusive interior features hazel-brown leather with contrasting stitching on the seats, steering wheel, instrument panel and door panels. Chrome detailing and a blond colour theme above the belt line enhance the luxurious feeling.