…Wagon Segment Leader Celebrates a Milestone
Irvine, CA (July 8, 2003) – This month fifty years ago, the first Volvo wagon rolled off the assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden. Many of the Volvo wagons produced since that time have found their way to the United States. In fact, Volvo leads European imports and has literally become an icon for the segment.
Long before the SUV and many years preceding the Mini-Van, there was the station wagon. With its deep-seeded roots in utility, the wagon evolved into an essential vehicle for versatility, recreation and family fun. Along the way Volvo has been integral to the ride, and in many cases in the driver's seat, during fifty years of change.
"Even in Volvo's most advanced and stylistic models, the company remains true to its core beliefs," said Vic Doolan, president and CEO, Volvo Cars of North America. “Both the V70 wagon, and its go-anywhere cousin the XC70 all-wheel-drive Cross-Country variant, offer American car buyers exactly what our colleagues hoped to bring to the world market half-a-century ago." Doolan said.
Volvo's first wagon, a humble beginning indeed, resulted from an excess of chassis for the company's popular, PV444. Constructed of legendary Swedish steel, world renowned for its strength and durability, the frames were already in demand by companies that constructed rugged utility and delivery vans.
In 1953, with 1,500 chassis remaining after production plans of the PV444, the founders of Volvo's proclaimed, "we will build our own," and Volvo's concept of versatility was born: the Duett.
The Duett was named for its 'dual purpose' as a flexible, fast, yet durable van during working hours and a spacious, stylish, comfortable passenger car during leisure time. The Duett would be the platform from which all successive Volvo wagons would evolve. No other manufacturer can look back on such an experience in the building of practical influence like the Swedish marquee. And no other automobile company has received so many honors for its standards in versatility. Volvo versatility is in a class of it's own.
A modern station wagon, or sports or utility wagon is a versatile vehicle, offering load space, flexibility, comfort, driving fun and certainly an attractive design. Over the course of 50 years, Volvo has inexhaustibly established values and developed characteristics that separate the brand from its competitors.
Volvo design philosophy mirrors true Scandinavian design principles where ‘form and function’ are combined to create a wagon for all seasons. Volvo’s approach has been that the tire 'foot print' should help define how usable the interior space. In part, Volvo’s tall sides (boxy) delineate an interior that is maximized for storage / versatility.
Safety, value, and care for the environment are core characteristics that have been intrinsically woven into everything that Volvo does. From the first Duett with 44 horsepower to the hi-tech 300 horsepower of the 2004 V70R, Volvo has proven its commitment to maintaining the 'soul of the brand.'
A glance back at "Fifty Year of Volvo Versatility" reveals a continuum of innovations, utility, and safety:
By this time, thousands of Volvo Amazons, 145s and 245s were being passed from original owners and parents to children now of driving age and other first-time Volvo drivers. In the process, Volvo’s image of remaining true to its core values was accepted by millions of American drivers. “By the 1970s Volvo had established an image of safety, security and responsibility. Unfortunately, we weren’t viewed as being much fun! And so, in 1985 Volvo designers convinced the engineers and safety experts that Volvo could be both responsible and sporty,”
"The Volvo PV445 (Duett) delivered safety conscious automotive comfort and performance, suited to the world…at that time. Today, the Volvo wagon line upholds that heritage of commitment to social, transportation and economic values…quicker and a bit more stylishly than in 1953,” Vic Doolan concluded.
VCNA, part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Gothenburg, Sweden, provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The 2003/2004 Volvo automobile line includes the award-winning XC90, the sporty S60 sedan – including the award-winning performance sedan – S60 R, the flagship S80 luxury sedan, versatile V70 wagon and rugged XC70 (Cross Country), the C70 convertible, and the compact S40 and V40 models.
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For More Information:
Stephen R Bohannon
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC
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