• Feb 22nd 2008 at 9:02AM
  • 9

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It took over 80 years, but Volvo has hit a mega milestone with the production of its 15,000,000th vehicle. The big number was hit with a C70 convertible, which rolled off the assembly line yesterday in Uddevalla, Sweden.

Although Volvo started as SKF in 1911, it wasn't until 1927 that the company produced its first vehicle, the ÖV4, of which it made only 297 examples in its first year. Volvo's production capacity as a major automaker has, of course, long since far exceeded that rate. However the 200-Series, produced between 1974 and 1993, remains the best-selling Volvo of all time, with over 2.8 million units sold.

Swedophiles can read more in the press release after the jump, and check out our 29-image high-resolution gallery of the 2008 Volvo C70 below.

[Source: Volvo]


15 million Volvo cars - history will be written tomorrow

The very first Volvo car left the factory on April 14, 1927. It was called the ÖV4 because the letters ÖV are Swedish for "Open Car" and 4 denoted the number of cylinders powering the new Swedish car.
On February 20, 2008, it is once again an open car that is under the spotlights. That's when car number 15,000,000, an attractive convertible Volvo C70, will leave the factory in Uddevalla.

In the first year, production proceeded at a modest pace, with 297 cars being sold in 1927. Emerging from the shadow of the global economic depression and Second World War, it took Volvo 23 years to build its first 100,000 cars. Today, that figure corresponds to about three months of production.

However, Volvo has never really been a high-volume manufacturer. Early in the company's history, it was decided that the brand name should signify quality and safety. Since the early 1970s, environmental issues too have come to the forefront of the company's corporate agenda. It is therefore no accident that Volvo was first off the mark with the world's single most important safety invention (the 3-point safety belt was fitted as standard to Volvo cars as far back as 1959) and with one of the world's foremost innovations in the environmental sphere (the 3-way catalytic converter with Lambdasond was introduced in 1976).

Many Volvo owners have over the years also expressed their appreciation of their cars' sensible, solid engineering. Functionality has always been important and this was confirmed when British motoring magazine AutoExpress undertook an ambitious survey about ten years ago to find out which cars are best and worst to live with from the owner's viewpoint. Two Volvo models took part in the survey, and both won their classes. The Volvo C70 was regarded as the best sports car and the Volvo S80 was named the best luxury car in stiff competition against considerably more expensive cars.

Today the Volvo brand is equally renowned for the attractive design of cars that reflect characteristic Scandinavian design traditions.

When that first car drove past the factory gates back in 1927, it proudly carried its "iron symbol" on the radiator grille. That mark was and still is a symbol of Swedish steel and quality. When car number 15,000,000 now leaves the factory in Uddevalla, that symbol is still carried with pride on the front and it still represents quality and solidity. The Volvo C70 is one of the absolute safest convertibles ever built. It is a functional and spacious car. And it is actually two cars in one as the three-piece retractable hardtop transforms the Volvo C70 from coupe to convertible at the touch of a button.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      An interesting statistic would show how many boxes and how many new-style Volvo's (post S80) there are, percentage wise. Who's got the calculator?
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm on my second Volvo right now ('05 S40), and YES they are very expensive to maintain. even my '93 850 cost me an arm and a leg. That's what I noticed about volvos... they're extremley reliable when it comes to things you need (like getting you through a snowstorm) but unreliable as hell when it comes to everything else. ( light fixture gives out, and a bunch of other random stuff will fail on you)
        All in all it's a typical European car but with more safety features: expensive, not exactly reliable, but will capture your heart and make you want another one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Count me on the other side, I own a '00 S80... but yeah about the same. Exceptionally comfortable (the main reason I bought it over a similarly priced 3-series) and very nice to drive, but expensive to maintain. light burnt out behind the HVAC controls $90-$100 to replace
        • 7 Years Ago
        I own a '97 960, count me one; Nice car to drive; expensive and difficult car to maintain! Replacement of an $20 intake gasket cost me $500. Now that they are "Fords," I expect Ford management decisions to take their toll on the quality.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Grattis Volvo!

      Btw, there's still a SKF (Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB, or Swedish Bearing Factory), headquartered in Gothenburg.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hmm, I cant say I've had the wrath of high maintenence costs. Perhaps I'll knock on wood when I write this, but my 97 960 is my second Volvo, and after two years, and 50,000 KM, I've spend MAYBE $400 in services on the car, and then just oil changes. It just sucks back the mileage, and stays rust free each day.

      This car has been more reliable that our 2004 Toyota, which is something we'd never thought would happen. Maybe it comes down to the previous owners servicing, but I'll probably continue buying Volvo's for the main reason of solidity, reliablity and comfort

      Congrats Volvo!
        • 7 Years Ago

        You're kind of like me with my 2003 Range Rover. I have never heard of so much automotive disaster as I have Land Rovers (despite Ford really upping the reliability over the years). It has 94000 miles on it now and all I ever do the old fella is change the oil. Outside of a busted washer reservoir no major issues (knock on wood).

        Don't worry, one day we will both be driving along and our vehicles will just disintegrate all at once.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I do most of the work myself; a couple of areas on the 960 that can give you problems:
        intake manifold gasket; four bolts were finger tight either they missed it on the line or it loosened up during heat cycling, replace with the new green material gasket...the old red ones are brittle; transmission selector switch failure, broken bushings in the front control arms, dealer replaced the rear brake rotors and pads three times, had to go to after market parts to dampen the vibrations, unlike the great old 240s, it has an an interference engine so you must change the timing belt as recommended. See this maintenance site for the full story by DIYers: http://www.brickboard.com/RWD/index.htm?model=900
      • 7 Years Ago
      Damn I love Volvo's.
      Best of luck for the next 80 years.
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