Volvo just built its last diesel-powered car

Published Mar 27, 2024


Volvo has built some very decent diesel cars over the years but now it’s marking the end of an era.

The Swedish carmaker announced this week that its very last diesel-powered Volvo car, a V60 estate, had crossed the production line in Ghent, Belgium.

This came just days after the very last XC90 diesel SUV was produced at the firm’s Torslanda plant in Sweden.

This is very much a sign of the times for markets such as Europe, where last year sales of electric cars overtook diesels for the first time in history, with EV sales having grown by 37% year-on-year.

Diesels have been in the firing line ever since Volkswagen’s so-called ‘Dieselgate’ scandal highlighted flaws in the emissions testing of these engines, which have been found to produce more harmful emissions than their petrol-powered equivalents.

Just five years ago the majority of cars Volvo sold were diesel powered but since then the company has accelerated its goal to become electric-only by 2030, with its EV sales having increased by 70% in 2023.

“For a long time, our diesel engines were synonymous with reliability and efficiency, and they meant a great deal to us for many decades. Indeed, the success of our diesel cars played a significant role in our evolution into a premium brand,” Volvo said.

“In recent years, the electric revolution has evolved quicker than most of us could have imagined – and it’s largely propelled by tightening regulations around tailpipe emissions, as well as customer demand in response to the climate crisis and a desire for cleaner urban air.”

Volvo’s first diesel-powered car saw the light of day in 1979, the Volvo 244 GL D6, which pioneered six-cylinder diesels in the passenger car market.

The company introduced its first self-built diesel engine in 2001, a five-cylinder unit that found its way into the V70 and other models.

In 2008 Volvo introduced a 1.6-litre oil burner that could travel up to 1,300km on a single tank of fuel, and with emission levels low enough to get classified as a ‘green engine’ in Sweden.

The carmaker also introduced the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid powertrain in the 2012 V60 D6.

IOL Motoring