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Volvo says farewell to diesel engines

The last diesel car off the production line is an XC90 luxury SUV headed for a museum

Volvo ends its diesel era as it focuses on becoming all-electric by 2030.
Volvo ends its diesel era as it focuses on becoming all-electric by 2030.

Volvo Cars has produced its last diesel model as it heads towards becoming an all-electric brand by 2030.

The Swedish carmaker’s final diesel-powered car is an XC90 luxury SUV, which rolled off the production line in Torslanda, Sweden, earlier this week. Powered by a 2.0l turbo diesel engine, the car will be displayed at a Volvo museum in Gothenburg.

The 97-year-old brand, majority owned by China’s Geely, produced its first diesel car, the 244 GL D6, in 1979. Diesel was once the mainstay of Volvo’s range, accounting for most of its cars sold in Europe as recently as 2019. However, in 2022 they made up just 8.9% of the brand’s sales.

Volvo has been on an aggressive transition to electrified powertrains since 2017, when former CEO Hakan Samuelsson announced it would stop further development on diesels at a time when nearly half of all new cars sold in Europe were equipped with the powertrain. Volvo has launched several hybrid and fully electric models in recent years, including the EX30 which arrived in South Africa last month as the brand’s most affordable electric vehicle (EV).

Volvo is ending diesel production just as global demand for EVs is cooling, though it will still make cars with petrol engines.

Since the infamous “dieselgate” scandal at the VW Group in 2015, diesel sales in Europe have declined. The share of diesel cars sold in Europe dropped to about 13.6% last year, beaten for the first time by EVs, which recorded a 14.6% market share.

“We are quite confident that we have very good customer offers even without the diesel,” Erik Severinson, a Volvo Car executive in charge of new cars and operations strategy, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Volvo has already discontinued all its diesel models in South Africa. 

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