Volvo History: 1975-1979

When Volvo says it "sets the safety standard", it's not just marketing. It's fact.

In 1976, the United States government used Volvo 240s as the safety standard with which all other cars were judged. Volvo had reached a safety milestone and all other car manufacturers were using it as they fitted their new cars with safety features resembling Volvo. Additionally, in that same year, Volvo 343 appeared boasting a 1-4 liter engine and a variable transmission. Its rear hatch was larger than past models and the folding seats allowed for it to carry more cargo and passengers. The Volvo VSG Warranty, a ground-breaking customer service option, was introduced which covered service and repairs in its first three years. California also met its stringent clean air standards when Volvo introduced the three-way catalytic converter, reducing exhaust gases by an average of 90%.

Volvo's 50th Anniversary was celebrated in 1977 with a special edition 240. It was decorated with silver metallic paint scheme and black and gold decor moldings. Volvo didn't stop there with its special editions, however. Its 262 Coupe, a special order and rare model, was equipped with leather seats, power windows, radio aerial and a B27, six-cylinder engine. A proposed merger between Volvo and Saab-Scandia fell through due to Saab's lack of interest, despite much excitement about it in the industry.

1978 was the year of reorganization for Volvo. The Volvo Corporation became a subsidiary. The company saw its sales pass the ten million mark that year. Perhaps the most astounding news was Volvo's creation of a six-cylinder diesel engine followed later by a five-cylinder diesel. New mode Volvos also featured improved driving in its power steering.

The final year of the turbulent seventies saw step up its production of new models by nearly 25%. Volvo's four-millionth car rolled off the assembly lines as it teamed with Renault to research and develop new lines of personal and commercial vehicles. (Renault was a minority stockholder.) That summer, Volvo presented its line for the coming decade like the Volvo GLT, having a 140 hp, 4-cylinder engine. Its 340 Series had a five-door hatchback and the 345 with a 70 hp engine. Critics warmly received the new lines and new car sales continued to rise.

So, in spite of the fuel crisis and flat economy, Volvo's success in the US marketplace remained consistent.

If you enjoyed this brief history of the early 1970s Volvos, check out our other Volvo History articles...

Photo"1976 Volvo 242 DL in orange" by Alex Nordstrom - 1976 Volvo 242 at Ölands motordag 2012.jpg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1976_Volvo_242_DL_in_orange.jpg#mediaviewer/File:1976_Volvo_242_DL_in_orange.jpg
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