Volvo Cars goes from strength to strength as first V90 rolls off production line
Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, started production of the new V90 premium estate at its manufacturing plant in Torslanda, Sweden this week.
The first customer-bound V90 rolled off the production line only weeks after the first S90 premium sedan was built. This means all new models in the top-of-the-line 90 series, based on Volvo’s in-house developed modular vehicle architecture SPA, are now being produced in Sweden.
The SPA-related investments in Sweden have had positive effects on employment at the company. Volvo has almost doubled its staff numbers at the Torslanda plant in the last two years, to a current total of around 6,300 employees. The company has also hired approximately one thousand engineers over that period, and continues to recruit in its R&D department.
Furthermore, so-called multiplier effects have created numerous new jobs at suppliers to the company and other businesses in the region, providing a boost to the automotive manufacturing cluster in Gothenburg and the wider economy in Western Sweden.
“Taking the new V90 into production is an important milestone for Volvo,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. “We have invested heavily in preparing the Torslanda plant for building SPA vehicles and it is encouraging to see the positive response to the new 90 cars. We are going from strength to strength, as our transformation plan continues to bear fruit.”
The three new 90 series cars are part of a USD 11 billion transformation program launched by Volvo in 2010. Over the next three years, Volvo will revamp its entire car range. The introduction of the new cars have resulted in significant sales and profitability growth at Volvo.
Helped by the new XC90, Volvo Cars in 2015 sold over 500,000 cars for the first time in the company’s 89-year history. Annual operating profit trebled to SEK 6.6bn, with a profit margin of 4 per cent.
For 2016, Volvo expects another record year in terms of sales, as the new S90 and V90 arrive in dealerships around the globe and XC90 has its first full year of production. In the first five months of 2016, Volvo Cars posted a 10.4 per cent increase in global sales, with growth in all major regions.
Full-year revenue and operating income are also expected to improve further.
“While the new XC90, S90 and V90 have helped us rejuvenate the brand, Volvo’s transformation is far from complete,” said Mr Samuelsson. “Three years from now, the XC90 will be the oldest car on the showroom floor. In other words: the new 90 series are only the start of the new Volvo.”
Last month, Volvo officially launched its global small car strategy by revealing two concept cars based on its new Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). Specially created for smaller cars, CMA will underpin the next generation of Volvo’s 40 series cars. The first new car on CMA is expected to be launched in 2017. The next-generation cars in Volvo’s 60 series will be built on SPA.
Volvo Cars reveals sporty S90 & V90 R-Design models
Volvo Cars has revealed performance-inspired R-Design models of the new S90 sedan and V90 estate.
Central to the S90 and V90 R-Design is an advanced sport chassis that delivers an energetic, road-hugging drive.
“R-Design delivers an edge to our elegant estate and sedan models in our 90 Series, with a winning combination of a sportier, more responsive drive with clearly visible performance styling,” said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President Marketing Sales and Customer Service at Volvo Cars.
Sporting a new front-end design with spoiler-integrated fog lights, the R-Design models come with a unique grille and piano black trim on both front and rear. A new 5-spoke matt black diamond-cut wheel adds to the performance feel.
A wide range of styling cues are included on the inside – from unique deco trim, pedals and mats, to the sporty contour seats and special steering wheel, including a high level interior illumination package that radiates attention to detail.
Order books are now open for the S90 and V90 R-Design models.
Volvo 850 Celebrates Its 25th Birthday
The model that aimed for the stars: the Volvo 850 celebrates its 25th birthday.
The Volvo 850 was the car that changed everything – a front-wheel drive Volvo with a 5-cylinder transverse engine. It was the result of the Galaxy project, which got its name because it was aiming for the stars. The 850 series achieved great success in the field of motorsport, and was the first car from Volvo available with AWD.
The brand new Volvo 850 GLT had its world premiere in the Stockholm Globe Arena on June 11 in 1991. The model was the result of one of Sweden's largest industrial investments and differed fundamentally from previous Volvo designs. It had front-wheel drive, a five-cylinder transverse engine and offered a whole new level of driving pleasure.
The new car was launched under the banner "A dynamic car with four world-firsts". These new features were the transverse 5-cylinder engine, the Delta-link rear axle designed in-house, the integrated side-impact protection system, SIPS, and the self-adjusting front seat belt.
Even though the design was reminiscent of the 700 series, the 850 was a completely new car. The work on developing the model began back in 1978. At a meeting held that year, it was decided that it was now time to think freely and aim for the stars. That's why the project was christened Galaxy.
Project Galaxy resulted in two model series – one Swedish and one Dutch. The underlying technology was developed jointly, after this the teams split up. The Dutch company Volvo Car B.V went on to develop what would become the 400 series, while Volvo Cars in Sweden developed the 850 series.
The first model to be presented was the 850 GLT, with its 20-valve normally aspirated engine producing 170 hp. During the development phase, Volvo worked actively to make the 850 GLT a lively car that delivered great driving pleasure while achieving the correct intake and exhaust noise.
The next important 850 version was presented in February 1993 – the estate car. It boasted typical Volvo features such as the abruptly-ending rear section for maximum load capacity. One new design feature, however, was the extended vertical tail lights that covered the entire D-post. During the development work, Chief Designer Jan Wilsgaard had a model on which the large tail lights could be removed and replaced for comparison. The estate version was subsequently awarded the prestigious Japanese distinction “1994 Good Design Grand Prize” as well as the Italian “Most beautiful estate”
The 850 series was soon expanded with various engine options. The model that would achieve most attention was presented at the Geneva Motor Show in 1994. With its distinctive yellow color, the T-5R really stood out like an exclamation mark on wheels. This special model was intended to be manufactured in a run of 2,500 cars. The turbo-charged engine with intercooler produced 240 hp and a torque of 330 Nm. The equipment on the car included special spoilers, a square exhaust pipe and 17” alloy rims going by the name Titan. The yellow cars sold out in a couple of weeks, and so the same number of black cars were produced, finally followed by a run of 2,500 dark green T-5Rs.
1994 was also the year when Volvo returned to the racetrack – and did so in an extremely eye-catching way. When two 850s drove up to the starting line for the season premiere at the Thruxton track in southern England, they were in the estate version! Competing with a “van” in Europe’s most prestigious standard car series, the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), attracted an enormous amount of attention. Volvo invested heavily alongside Tom Walkinshaw Racing, with the two cars being driven by the Swede Rickard Rydell and the Dutch driver Jan Lammers. In 1995, estate cars were practically made illegal by rule changes and Volvo switched to the saloon model. That season Rickard Rydell came in third place overall in the championship.
Right from the outset, the press called the Volvo 850 “the world’s safest car”, and in 1995 it introduced another world first in terms of safety. At this point, the Volvo 850 became the first mass-produced car to come with side-impact airbags.
The 850 AWD – the company's first four-wheel drive car that was launched in 1996 – was a pioneer for Volvo. The 850 All Wheel Drive had four-wheel drive engaged at all times – a viscous coupling automatically distributed the power between the front and rear wheels. If one of the rear wheels started to spin, the electronic TRACS anti-spin system automatically distributed the power between the front wheels to the one with the best grip. The 850 AWD was powered by a newly developed engine with light pressure turbo boost producing 193 hp, and was a predecessor to Volvo's four-wheel drive XC models.
1996 was the final year the 850 was in production. When the models underwent a major upgrade in 1997, the designations were changed to S70 for the saloon models and V70 for the estate version. A total of 1,360,522 cars were built in model versions originating from the 850 series.