• Apr 10th 2009 at 8:58AM
  • 17

Click above for a high-res gallery of the final first-generation Volvo S60

The best days for Volvo's S60 are behind it. The once-strong sales have fallen from 100,000 units in the early years to a scant 6,200 in 2008. As nice as the S60 is, even Volvo knows its played out, and they're experts at keeping models on life support. To make room for the new S60, the last of the originals greeted the early morning of March 31st at the Volvo factory in Ghent, Belgium. The Sapphire Black S60 is headed to Taiwan, and caps a run of nearly 580,000 copies of a successful and much-lauded model for Volvo.

The S60 is a bread-and-butter model for Volvo, and the outgoing version has played a crucial role in the automaker's lineup. 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 without a hitch. Official press release after the jump.


Last Volvo S60 rolls off the assembly line in Ghent

At 4.15am on Tuesday morning March 31, the last Volvo S60 rolled off the assembly line at Volvo Cars Ghent. The historic car - a Sapphire Black model with a five cylinder gasoline engine - is destined for a customer in Taiwan.
In total, the Ghent plant has built 578,292 S60 cars during the years 2000-2009.

S60 is one of the longest running Volvo models in the plant. The highest production volume of the model was reached in 2001 when 108,906 S60 cars were produced.

"The Volvo S60 was an important model for Volvo Cars Gent," says managing director of Volvo Cars Ghent Derek Jessiman. "Now we will focus on a flawless launch of the new S60."

And preparations for the new S60 model which will enter production in Ghent in 2010 are already underway. The new model will share technologies with other recent Volvos such as the S80, V70, XC70 and XC60.

During the coming weeks rebuild of activities in the welding plant will commence to create space and capacity for the new sedan. For example, the present capacity of the floor line will be doubled.

Production of Volvo S60 at Volvo Cars Ghent:

Year Volume
2000 26 051
2001 108 906
2002 104 484
2003 84 908
2004 67 929
2005 61 838
2006 53 188
2007 39 347
2008 25 436
2008 6 205

The Volvo S60 has received a number of awards during the years:

* Executive Car of the Year 2007 (Philippines)
* S60 PZEV Gold medals for best acceleration and emission 2004 (China)
* Best All-weather sedan $30,000+ 2003 (USA)
* Europe Car Grand Prix Winner 2003 (USA)
* Car of the Year 2003 (USA)
* All-Weather Sedan >$30K 2003 (USA)
* S60 D5- Best Executive Diesel 2002 (UK)
* S60 AWD - Best In Class All Weather Sedan 2002 (USA)
* Compact Executive Car 2002 (UK)
* Best Safety Equipment, Middle east Car of the Year Awards 2002 (Middle East)
* Best New Sports Coupé/Sedan 2001 (Canada)
* Sporty Car of the Year 2001 (Mexico)
* Tow Car of the Year - overall and best in class 2001 (Netherlands)
* Best Lease Car of the Year (executive segment) 2001 (Netherlands)
* Car of the Nation - most desirable new car 2001 (Lithuania)
* Executive Car 2001 (Lithuania)
* Most sporty car 2001 (Lithuania)
* "Utmärkt Svensk Form" - Excellent Swedish Design 2001 (Sweden)
* Car of the Year - Medium segment 2001 (Estonia)
* Total Value Award (Near Luxury Car Category) 2001 (USA)
* Das Goldene Lenkrad 2000 (Germany)
* L'Automobile più Bella del Mondo "The Most Beautiful Car in the World" 2000 (Italy)
* Best New Sports Coupe/Sedan over $30,000 2000 (Canada)

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great car, I rented one for a couple of days in Arizona. Handles and feels better than most german cars. Volvo needs to step on it, there like 3 years to late for a new model.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Try to close a factory in Belgium and see the entire country going on strike.
        • 6 Years Ago
        First of all that's not true, secondly what has this to do with the article?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I bought an '04 S60 for about the same money as a brand new Honda Civic, and do not regret it one bit. It's WAY more car, way more comfortable, and will last ages.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I still think the S60R sedan and wagon were two of the hottest cars you could buy, especailly in bright red.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The S60R-in blue, for me-is one of the best looking sedans built in the past decade, imo. Up there with the CLS and the current S class. I almost bought one instead of my STI; what killed it for me is the idiotic AWD system and its 90/10 f/r torque split under normal conditions.

        The turbo 5cyl is a good engine with very few issues, the rest of the cars hold up well from my experience with them, the interiors are well done, and they drive well. If only they hadn't gone and made it effectively wrong wheel drive under normal conditions... :(
        • 6 Years Ago
        Damn right! I am a Volvo fanatic, and the S60R is the best looking Volvo since the 60's. Volvo also announced quite some time ago that they will not be making any more high performance "R" models in the foreseeable future, just "R-Design" (all show, no go).

        The S60R will always hold a special place in the Volvo enthusiasts heart. Adjustable suspension? Unheard of in it's segment (at the time). 300hp and 295ft. lbs. from 2.5 liters is world class, and what a sound! Rear-biased would have been nice, but if you aren't trying to get it sideways the AWD system is excellent.

        I will pour some beer on the sidewalk for the S60 :(
        • 6 Years Ago
        Used ones are pretty cheap for the amount of car you get.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The S60R's performance specs looked great on paper and the physical appearance was great, but the driving experience was a BIG letdown.

        FWD + Haldex was not implemented/tuned as well as other implementations I've driven (like the R32), so it would shift power around strangely and the steering wheel would tug too much for all wheel drive.

        The engine noises and exhaust note were just odd, somtimes boomy and rough -- that transverse turbo 5 doesn't exactly get the blood boiling like a nice V6 or inline 6.

        I don't mind a firm ride when the handling payoff is there, but the S60R's suspension was downright harsh, even when adjusted to the lightest settings and the handling payoff wasn't commeasurate.

        The turning radius on the R was terrible -- worst in class by far. Worse than many large SUVs.

        The Volvo nav system might as well have been an aftermarket system -- it required an external cable that ran along up the dash over to the driver's side of the car and under. Even a Camry has that beat.

        I really wanted to like the S60R, especially at the deals they were offering, but aside from straight-line speed, it couldn't hold a candle to competitng products from Audi and BMW. When I drove the car in 2007, the Rs at the local dealer sat around for many, many months even when they offered a ton of money off sticker and at a time when other cars were selling in record numbers.

        Maybe with a new platform they can try again...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Last of the bulletproof pre-Ford designs. Never had a thing go wrong with it in six years.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was developed under ford and ford never screwed with volvo, they used their expertise and leveraged their platforms and had the capitcal necessary to let volvo shine on their own. Unlike GM's ownership of Saab, volvo clearly benefited in a way they never could have without with ford's deep pockets.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah I definitely think the major problem is just letting a successful and popular model just sit around without a redesign for 8 years. But then again Ford more or less did this to their own (USDM anyway) cars too.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bring on the new one!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like the s60 and it's really cheap as a used car makes me want to buy it...or the s40
        • 6 Years Ago
        I know! That's what I was seeing, admittedly though I really want the c30 but that one is a tad expensive....and hard to find.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I bought a 2-year old S40 last year for half the price of a new one. I'm seeing used 2007 and even 2008 models going real cheap. You'll pay almost the same price for an S40, S60 or even an S80.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I only remember the limerick that goes, "There was a young man from Ghent..."
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