April 14th, 2009 by Car and SUV
The best days for Volvo’s S60 are long gone. The once-strong sales have fallen from 100,000 units in the S60′s early years to a bleak 6,200 in 2008. It was a solid performer but even Volvo knows its played out, and they’re experts at extending the life-span of models. To make room for the new S60, the last of the originals came off the line on March 31st at the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium. The last car built a Sapphire Black S60 is headed to Taiwan, and caps a run of nearly 580,000 S60 vehicles in total.
The S60 is a journeyman model for Volvo, and played a crucial role in the automaker’s lineup for many years. Although once competitive in its segment, the S60 has been surpassed by just about everyone else, and the Ghent factory is now busy focusing on launching the 2010 S60.
March 19th, 2009 by Car and SUV
Carmakers are all get busy and downsizing engines and embracing efficient technologies, but one company is set to go further than just offering a few hybrid models in their lineup to please the greenies. Anonymous sources at Volvo have confirmed that in the near future, the Swedish carmaker will exclusively use four-cylinder engines – making Volvo the first to take this bold step.
This is as simple as it sounds; no more five, six or eight-cylinder engines at Volvo. The mysterious company sources are claiming that their new four-cylinder models will be just as powerful as the older models with a greater number of cylinders. You know what that means… forced induction.
The move makes sense at this point in time, with future EU regulations bringing the allowable emissions levels down to averages of just 120g/km by 2015, and a long term goal of reaching 95g/km by 2020. Adapting early to these regulations will save Volvo time and money, and allow it to strengthen up other aspects of product development for the future.
March 5th, 2009 by Car and SUV
In a desperate bid for survival Saab may look at a possible merger with Volvo, it isn’t the first time a partnership has been discussed. Back in the 1970s the two Swedish automakers were a hair away from merging 240s and 900s, but instead followed separate paths. Now, with both brands facing difficult sales numbers and uncertain futures, GM’s Bob Lutz thinks a merger sounds good once again. Lutz thinks it’d be a way for Ford and General Motors to both rid themselves of problematic business units. The soon-to-be former Car King from GM offers no insight about how the merged companies might actually start making a profit both automakers have serious financial issues. While Volvo has secured a promise of $546 million from the European Investment Bank, Saab is walking a much tougher path to survival.
Ultimately, a merger between Saab and Volvo would be great for their parent companies, but no one knows yet how exactly it would benefit the Swedish brands as they hold on for dear life.
January 27th, 2009 by Car and SUV
The 3-point safety belt turns 50 years old in 2009 after first being fitted to a Volvo back in 1959.
It has been estimated safety belts have saved more than a million lives so far and they will continue to save over a hundred thousand lives a year.
The three point belt was invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin and fitted to 1959 model PV544 and Amazon 120s sold in Nordic countries from that year.
If you are wearing a safety belt, your chances of surviving a collision improve by 50 percent. The three-point belt is and will remain the car’s most vital safety detail. However, even more lives could be saved if belt usage increased.
“What makes the three-point belt unique is that it improves safety for all types of occupants, in all types of accidents. In both the front and the rear seats. One often talks about the protective effect in head-on collisions, but the belt also helps prevent the car’s occupants from being thrown out of the car in a rollover, for instance,” says Hans Nyth, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
It is the safety belt’s ability to keep the occupant in the seat that is of crucial importance. A massive 75 percent of people thrown out of cars in accidents die in the process. All told, the belt reduces the risk of fatalities and serious injuries from collisions by about 50 percent.
It is impossible to put an exact figure on the number of lives the three-point belt has saved since the 1960s – there are no globally coordinated traffic-safety statistics. Estimates put the figure at just over a million lives. And many times that number have avoided serious injuries thanks to the safety belt.
In Europe, the safety belt is estimated to reduce road fatalities by 40 percent every year. Within the EU in 2005, an estimated 11,700 drivers survived road accidents specifically because they were wearing safety belts. The figure for Germany alone was 2000. Had these drivers not been using the belt, the number of fatalities in Germany that year would have doubled.
Corresponding estimates for the USA in 2004 show that safety belt use saved 15,200 lives and resulted in society saving 50 billion dollars in costs.
January 22nd, 2009 by Car and SUV
The dual clutch gearbox installed in the Volvo S60 Concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show recently is now officially coming to Ford’s lineup. The Getrag-supplied PowerShift gearbox will be available in the new Fiesta when it launches globally at the end of the year. Like the DSG units used in a number of Volkswagens, the PowerShift allows full automatic control or clutchless manual shifting.
Ford’s first PowerShift is already available in the current model Ford Focus with a 2.0L diesel engine. This unit is a wet-clutch system like most of the current VW DSG boxes. The new unit set to debut in the Fiesta is a dry-clutch system that’s both lighter and more efficient. The 6-speed PowerShift weighs 12kg less than the 4-speed automatic currently offered and should deliver 9-percent better fuel economy.
January 19th, 2009 by Car and SUV
The 2009 Tokyo Motor Show is going to have to make do without another automaker, as Volvo has decided to save money by skipping the event. Volvo’s move comes after all three Detroit automakers decided to call in sick and be absent from the show, which is held every other year. Volvo, like the Detroit automakers, doesn’t have a major presence in Japan, making the decision not to head for Tokyo easier. With the fragile state of the global economy, the prospect of saving money is a smart move. Floor space, displays, plus travel and accommodations for employees can cost loads. GM spent $2 million at Tokyo in 2007, and though Volvo’s display wouldn’t cost that much, the total cost would still be steep.
No Japanese automakers have dropped out yet, but the lack of foreign automaker involvement could potentially postpone the show until 2011. Tokyo Motor Show officials will make a decision on what to do by early next month.
December 17th, 2008 by Car and SUV
At next month’s Detroit Auto Show, the Volvo S60 concept will be unveiled and will act as a teaser for the 2010 production sedan that should debut later next year. The S60 Concept demonstrates that Volvo’s new sedan will ditch the rather conservative get-up it currently wears in favour of a new, aggressive look. Profile views show off a coupe-styled roofline, while pointed headlights recline back onto the fenders and flank a reshaped Volvo grille up front. The concept’s rear is similarly detailed, with LED taillamps that hide the various signal colours until they are actually illuminated. Truck-like rear doors open and then slide backward to give a good look of the Volvo’s cabin. Inside, there is no B-pillar and a host of concept vehicle trickery. It’s hard to tell what is just for the concept and what will actually make it into the production sedan, but so far it looks like a marked improvement on Volvo styling of old.
December 12th, 2008 by Car and SUV
Volvo’s product development unit is still hard at work, even after Ford desperately put a price tag on the brand (click here to read news item). Volvo is busy developing more environmentally-friendly vehicles capable of meeting tough new emissions regulations on the horizon, the Swedish automaker has been working on some new highly-efficient vehicles.
In addition to the DRIVe trio of ultra-efficient diesel-powered models, Volvo is working on an all-new micro-hybrid model. Set to join the lineup in 2011, the vehicle will be available in gas or diesel powered form, and a manual or automatic transmission. Fuel-saving technology will include a start-stop system plus brake-energy regeneration to cut consumption by nearly 5 percent. We’ll see a full hybrid (with the ability to run on electric power only) in 2012 with the D5 diesel engine. A plug-in electric is also expected to follow in the future.