With the release of the XC90 Armoured, Volvo Cars takes another step as a manufacturer of armoured vehicles.
The cars are designed and built to provide safe and comfortable travel with a high level of personal protection for the occupants.
Marketing director at Volvo Cars Special Vehicles, Stephan Green, says the armoured cars ensures Volvo can provide vehicles with a high level of personal security for individuals who require heightened protection.
There is a growing global market for armoured vehicles at present, and a large number are manufactured with various protection ratings. Volvo Cars has received numerous requests over the past few years to develop an armoured XC90.
Volvo Cars has extensive experience of building police cars, fire engines and diverse special vehicles with high requirements in terms of function, drivability and safety. In fact, the first Volvo police car was delivered back in 1929.
The XC90 Armoured (heavy ) has a protection rating ‘VPAM BRV 2009/ERV 2010’, the explosive and ballistic resistance ratings indicating what a complete car is able to withstand. This enables Volvo to offer a car that provides a high level of protection while retaining the car's fundamental properties. Potential customers include security services which would use the car to transport high-profile individuals.
Work to develop a car with a VPAM VR8 protection rating commenced just over two years ago. A certified VPAM VR8 rating means the car has 360-degree ballistic resistance as well as explosive resistance.
The armoured car is built on the inscription version of the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD, which is manufactured at the Torslanda plant in Sweden. The size and nature of the model make it the most suitable vehicle in Volvo Cars' product portfolio for armouring. From Torslanda, the car is sent to TRASCO Bremen GmbH in Germany, a company which has specialised for many years in building high-quality vehicles with high protection ratings.
"Production is classified, with stringent procedures and oversight in place in order to attain the stipulated ballistic requirements," says Green.
The high-strength steel armour is 10 millimetres thick, while the thickness of the glass can be up to 50 millimetres. The armour adds approximately 1,400 kilograms to the XC90, which brings the total weight of the car up to 4,490kg (including five occupants ). To cope with the increased weight, the car is fitted with uprated suspension and new brakes.
"Production is carried out with extreme diligence, which is imperative in order to fulfil the exceptionally high requirements placed on this class of security product," Green says. "We strive to ensure that the car retains its properties despite the extensive armouring. The armour is fitted discreetly to make the car barely distinguishable from a standard XC90. Every customer also has their own unique requirements, which we satisfy by means of customised production."
The Volvo XC90 Armoured (heavy ) is available to order now and the first customer deliveries will be made at the end of 2019.
Volvo Cars also develops another version of the armoured car (light ). This means that it has a full portfolio of cars able to offer high personal protection. These cars are built on the XC60 T6 AWD Inscription or XC90 T6 AWD Inscription.
These versions are geared towards different clientele than the XC90 Armoured (heavy ). Users could be individuals or companies requiring a car with a higher level of protection due to a geographical risk or a heightened personal threat. A market for these types of protective vehicles also exists among security services, the police, the diplomatic corps and private individuals.
The cars are intended for Latin America and Europe. After construction, they are retrofitted in Brazil, where there is considerable demand for these types of cars as well as substantial experience of building them. These vehicles are designed to offer lighter protection compared with the XC90 Armoured (heavy ).
The cars will undergo a battery of ballistic tests to ensure the required protection rating is fulfilled. They primarily provide protection against handguns.
The weight of the car is increased by around 250 kilograms, which is compensated for by upgrading the brakes and suspension. This means that the fundamental properties remain largely unchanged compared to the standard car.
Sales of these cars are scheduled to begin in the first half of 2020.