If the Volvo brand were a Rorschach blemish, most Americans would see a station wagon. But this didn’t come about as the phenomenon of some Swedish scheme for domination of the American suburbs. It was a mishap. In the mid-1950s, around the moment that Volvo first thought trading vehicles to the United States, the brand was unsuccessfully experimenting with vending bodies to private craftsmen, but in so doing had made up an overabundances of unsold bodies. So, says Volvo historian Per-Åke Fröberg, the management expressed, Let’s commence to do our own wagon. Positioned at Sweden’s small-business possessors who needed a pragmatic car and a family car but who couldn’t spend both, the wagon was a path to grow the roll and use the additional platforms. Somewhat immoderate, a bit bohemic. After that, the brand more or less made a wagon version of every version.
It was with the merchandise of the 144 wagon that the longroof Volvo started to morph into the linear collection perceived in our eye. But the actual insight for the brand in America reached with the 200-series estate, introduced in 1974. By the moment its production run ended in 1993, nearly 2.9 million had been traded worldwide. Based on Volvo’s Safety Car, shown at the 1972 Geneva auto show, the 200-series bind the brand’s honor for safety. The U.S. government bought some two dozen sedans and wagons for experimenting in 1976 and declared them as the standard all other manufacturers had to meet for crashworthiness.
And when that became known, Fröberg says, Volvo of course used that. There was a popular ad of a Volvo in front of the Capitol expressing, It shouldn’t take an act of Congress to make vehicles safe. The merchandise of the 240 wagon also coincided with child people reaching into their limit gaining /rearing years. Before Jeep Grand Cherokees, SUV coupes, or even minivans, a wagon was the genuine active-lifestyle car. Over the next few decades, with the 700, 800, and 900 series, wagons became Volvo’s best-sellers, being for around one-third of the brand’s American sales and even more in some regional marketplaces.
Then, just recently, Volvo scatted from the wagon in an adventure to move upscale. According to Bob Austin, who was head of mart for Volvo Cars of North America from 1991 to 2002, the evaluating was that in command to move upscale, you needed to be more chic, more extortionate, and less pragmatic. Basically, all the standards that are the wagon’s oppositions. With the modified V60 and the sociable V90, Volvo’s wagon sales have jumped from their new adversity, and the brand seems to be re-embracing the estate. This is in part because juveniles who reached of age during the wagon’s last ascension are now in the marketplace for grown-up vehicles, and nostalgia’s siren sound is big. But it’s also because the vehicles’ naive permanence means the name cannot overtake its practice. Other brands have done an amazing job moving themselves. But they were supported by the information that their old vehicles were largely disposable, Austin says.
Volvos as boxy and long wagons. There are still vehicles out there from the ’80s and ’90s showing that every day. Volvo’s 1972 Experimental Safety Car incorporated features such as airbags, anti-lock disc brakes, a high-strength-steel traveler compartment and impact-absorbing crumple zones. Its semi-passive seatbelts had less being energy.