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2017-04-18 12:53

VOLVO THROUGH THE YEARS: Volvo Cars is celebrating its 90th birthday with start of production of its new XC60.Quickpic.

Sweden - Founded in April 1927, Volvo Cars is celebrating its 90th birthday with the start of production of its new XC60 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The new XC60 will leave the factory 90 years to the month after the first Volvo, the ÖV4, saw production on April 14, 1927.

This first Volvo sold a total of 275 vehicles in its life time, a modest target back then. The new XC60 replaces one of the best-selling models in Volvo’s 90-year history.

Next generation

Volvo’s original XC60, first introduced in 2008, became the bestselling premium mid-sized SUV in Europe. The XC60 represents about 30% of Volvo’s total global sales since the company was founded (966 000 units in total) and, in April 2017, the number of original XC60s produced will surpass the 1-million mark.

READ: Here's how much the new Volvo S90 costs in SA 

The new XC60 is set to arrive in South Africa in the "second quarter of 2018", says Volvo SA.

Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo, said: “Volvo is very proud of its history. The past 90 years have been exciting, but the 10 years left until our 100th anniversary may come to be more exciting as industry focus shifts to autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity. The all-new XC60 is in many ways the embodiment of these trends.”

The all-new XC60 is one of the safest cars yet featuring safety technology such as new Oncoming Lane Mitigation system which uses the new Steer Assist function to help mitigate head-on collisions. Volvo’s semi-autonomous driver assistance system, Pilot Assist is available as an option.

1927 VOLVO OV40Image: Quickpic

Proud history

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.

READ: To the moon and back six times...in a Volvo 

1927 VOLVO OV40Image: Quickpic

Addressing Sweden’s readily accessible steel, cheap labour and skilled engineers, he convinced 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 beech and ash wood, a 1.9-litre side valve engine and artillery wheels with wooden spokes. Only one colour combination was available; dark blue with black fenders.

Despite how Volvo cars have evolved over the last 90 years, one thing has remained the same: the company’s commitment to making the world’s safest cars.

1927 VOLVO OV40Image: Quickpic

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