Volvo Cars has started production of its all-new XC60 mid-size SUV in Sweden.
The new model left the factory 90 years to the month after the first-ever Volvo, the ÖV4, saw the light of day on April 14, 1927. This first Volvo sold a total of 275 vehicles in its lifetime, which was modest even in those days.
The new XC60 replaces one of the best-selling models in Volvo’s 90-year history, and a favourite of mine. Volvo’s original XC60 became a phenomenon, with climbing sales every year since it was introduced in 2008. Seven years after it was revealed, it became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe, and in its ninth year it is still the best seller.
The current XC60 today represents around 30 per cent of Volvo’s total global sales, and this month the number of original XC60s produced will surpass 1,000,000.
“Volvo is very proud of its history. The past 90 years have been exciting, but the 10 years left until the 100-year anniversary may come to be more exciting as industry focus shifts to autonomous driving, electrification, and connectivity,” says Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The new XC60 is in many ways the embodiment of these trends.”
The new XC60 is one of the safest cars ever made and offers the latest in safety technology, including the new ‘Oncoming Lane Mitigation’ system, which uses Steer Assist to help mitigate head-on collisions.
Volvo’s semi-autonomous driver-assistance system, Pilot Assist, which takes care of the steering, acceleration, and braking on well-marked roads up to 130km/h, is available in the new XC60 as an option.
With the new XC60 now on the market and gradually becoming available for order to markets across the globe, Volvo is set for another record year of sales in 2017.
Volvo’s founder, Assar Gabrielsson, saw an opportunity for car manufacturing in Sweden after having observed the growing auto industries in the US and Europe from his position within sales at the Swedish ball bearing maker SKF, a supplier to the car industry.
Pointing towards Sweden’s readily accessible steel, cheap labour, and skilled engineers, he managed to convince SKF to invest in a spin-off car business called AB Volvo.
The first mass-produced Swedish car was quite a conventional vehicle, with elements of American car design, a wooden frame made of ash and beech, a 1.9-litre side-valve engine and artillery wheels with wooden spokes.
And only one colour combination was available: dark blue with black fenders. Despite all these changes during the past 90 years, Volvo claims that one thing has remained the same: the company’s commitment to making the world’s safest cars.