Volvo 760 Turns 25

By: Glady Reign

Born in February 1982, the Volvo 760 GLE could be the proof of the automaker's domineering presence in the auto industry. Twenty-five years ago, the Volvo 760 GLE was introduced to the enthusiasts and critics alike. It has received a rapturous welcome from both the press and the public. As a fact, it was regarded as having exciting chiseled features and elegant design hence critics said it is not a typical Volvo yet unmistakably Volvo.

The Volvo 760 was the car that saved the automaker back then. It created the foundation that created the modern Volvo Car Corp. However, the road ahead its introduction was both long and tricky and for it to survive up to the present time only means high-level of endurance and capabilities.

The year 1975 was said to be quite a tough year for the auto industry. It was the time when the world first experienced oil crisis. The pressure in the industry was amplified when the new Volvo 240 started to experience quality-related problems. Eventually, the situation made it tougher for Volvo to build cars in Torslanda. Also, it was not sufficiently rewarding to export cars.

In the 1980s, the difficulty of catching the desires of customers was apparent. To remedy this mounting dilemma, Volvo created a group to brainstorm, formulate and plan the future of the company. The managerial task was vested to HÃ?kan Frisinger's hands and the position of Product Manager New Model and coordinator of the project was given to Hans Gustavsson, a young engineer who later became the company's engineering and product development manager.

The burden was never that easy. "We started to plan the 760 at a time when the prerequisites changed virtually every day. And there wasn't a whole lot of agreement either on what the car should be like," Gustavsson recalled. "For the first time ever at Volvo, we used a meticulously carried out global analysis. In-depth studies and flexibility in our approach would guide our work onto the right track. But we really did feel the pressure, knowing as we did that there was absolutely no room for any error."

"For the first time in Volvo's history we used product clinics to test people's reactions ahead of the imminent product release. The findings were not entirely positive, but in the US, which would be the car's main market, the response was immensely positive and people felt that this was a model that was entirely to their taste, so we followed that line," said Gustavsson further.

Gustavsson sums up the remarkable car by saying, "The Volvo 760 was a pivotal point for Volvo Cars in terms of product and economy, and both it and its derivatives came to form the basis for the company's survival. Without the 760 there would have been no 850, without that no S80, and so on. The 760 project cost 3.5 billion kronor at that time. Of course, the aim was that the 760 and its forthcoming derivatives should last throughout the 1980s."

All told, 221,309 cars were made in the 760 Series before it was replaced in 1990 by the Volvo 960. By that time, it had earned Volvo a hale and hearty profit and had given the automaker prestige for almost an entire decade.

The Volvo 760, introduced in the United States in 1982, was discontinued after the 1990 model year and was replaced by the 960. The car was used as a police car in some countries. The said car boasts quality and tested auto parts and accessories that include , revised dashboard, electronic climate control (ECC), three-position tilt steering, multi-link independent rear suspension, and a stereo system.

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