Volvo History | My Black Brick

My Black Brick

Keeping a '92 Volvo 240 Wagon on the Road & Other Automotive & DIY Musings

Is the Volvo Wagon Dead?


According to a memo leaked to Jalopnik, the Volvo V70 will not be offered in North America after 2010. And while the V50 will still be available, its time may be numbered. That means the name “Volvo” may no longer be synonymous with “station wagon.”

I remember checking out the NY Auto show 4 or 5 years ago and being surprised that there was no V70 on display. I guess they had started the process of phasing it out back then. I was told that the XC70 was just like the V70, but, I’m sorry, it’s not. I don’t count the XC70 as a wagon, and Jalopnik agrees. However, Volvo execs feel that “the personality of the XC70 is a good fit for today’s lifestyles.” To which commenter chathamh responds:

If the current product lineup of most manufacturers was an accurate reflection of American lifestyles, most Americans would spend their free time fording creeks, hauling trailers, powering through snow drifts and traversing miles of unpaved mountain trails.

Today’s manufacturers, at least for cars in the US market, don’t understand that not everyone wants to have to choose between a vanilla mid-sized sedan and a blinged out monster truck. I’ve purchased 2 cars in my life, a 745t and my current 245. What brought me to Volvo wasn’t their “personality”. It was the fact that they made really nice station wagons, vehicles that had great carrying capacity, had a relatively low center of gravity and drove like cars. Europeans understand this. In my visits to Germany and France I’m always impressed that they had such beautiful, sleek wagons. They understand that you can increase carrying capacity without raising the vehicle sky-high, tacking on knobby tires and forcing the driver to sit upright. That’s why Volvo will still be making the V70 for the European market.

This news from Volvo goes hand-in-hand with what’s happened to Subaru’s once sexy Legacy wagon. They dropped it a few years ago in favor of the Outback, and then they converted the Outback into a bloated crossover SUV. Someone in my neighborhood just got one of these abominations and I shudder every time I walk by it. Doesn’t Subaru already litter our aesthetic landscape enough with the Tribeca? How is the Outback any different?

Jalopnik posted a heart-warming eulogy to the Volvo wagon, a historic look back at the rise and sudden fall of the iconic boxy brick. RIP.

PS. I hope to wake up tomorrow and find this was all a horrible nightmare. Or maybe I should just get a life, because I’m not in the market for a new car anyway, and I’ll probably drive my precious 245 into my grave!


Anti-Fordist Volvo Production in Kalmar


The video below offers a glimpse of the Volvo assembly line in Kalmar, Sweden in the early 1970s as it produces the 200 series model. It’s an educational video demonstrating new factory production techniques pioneered by Volvo and offers an amazing glimpse at how Volvo was trying to humanize the assembly line and improve worker’s satisfaction with their jobs.

IPD posted the video on their site, and I did a little research to find more info on this particular plant and the rational behind Volvo’s new assembly line.


The 240 in England

The Independent UK had a short overview of the 240 a few years ago:

The Volvo body design stood the test of time. The cars had thick door bars that linked into the overall structure rather than just “floating” in the door, waiting to hurt the occupants. The roof steel was so strong that car repairers used to use the roofs from wrecked Volvos to patch up the floors of other cars.

In the US, Volvo’s boast was that, for years, the fatality rate in its 240 models was the lowest of any car. Volvo’s safety reflected the work of engineer Nils Bohlin at the advanced Volvo Safety Centre. Bohlin invented the three-point safety belt and pioneered padded cabins.

Via Independent UK