The first car from Gothenburg had no roof and used a wooden frame.
When Volvo’s sweet new second-generation XC60 officially starts production later this month, it will carry more than just people and things. 90 years ago – on April 14, 1927 to be exact – the very first Volvo was introduced to the world. The manufacturer views the beginning of XC60 production this month as something of a celebration for that milestone, carrying symbolic meaning of the company’s legacy and enduring success.
“Volvo is very proud of its history. The past 90 years have been exciting, but the 10 years left until the 100-year anniversary may come to be more exciting as industry focus shifts to autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity,” says Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The new XC60 is in many ways the embodiment of these trends.”
That original Volvo in 1927 was called the ÖV4, which literally stood for Öppen Vagn or open carriage for the English speakers out there. The number four represented the car’s 1.9-liter side-valve four-cylinder engine, which was paired to a three-speed gearbox and mounted on a wooden frame made from ash and beech trees. The engine produced 28 horsepower, enough to propel the ÖV4 to a top speed of 56 miles per hour. It was an attractive automobile for the day, but being a roofless car in Sweden it wasn’t exactly a hot seller. Only 275 were built from 1927 to 1929
The XC60, on the other hand, is a hot seller. The previous generation enjoyed continual year-over-year sales growth since its introduction in 2008, ultimately becoming the best-selling premium mid-size SUV in Europe while accounting for 30 percent of Volvo’s total global sales. Before production on the new model begins later this month, the first-generation XC60 will top 1 million vehicles sold.
In other words, the new XC60 has some seriously big shoes to fill. With all that we’ve seen of it so far – from it’s stylish exterior to the plethora of luxury inside and a hybrid variant with 407 horsepower – we expect the next-generation XC60 will do just fine.