Volvo has built its last diesel car

A Denim Blue XC90 was bestowed with the honor of being Volvo’s last diesel car. After promising to end production of diesel-powered passenger cars back in September 2023 at the NYC Climate Week, the Swedish manufacturer has put its money where its mouth is, ending on a V60 in Ghent and an XC90 in Torslanda.

“On a cloudy Thursday in early February, our colleagues in Ghent built their last diesel-powered car, a V60. And just the other day, our plant in Torslanda saw its last XC90 diesel car roll off the production line.” So goes Volvo’s farewell letter to diesel, the first sacrifice towards an all-electric near future.

From engine borrower to pioneer

Volvo’s history with diesel began in 1979 with the 244 GL D6, the first six-cylinder diesel engine for passenger cars. It delivered a reasonable (for the time) 82 hp and was borrowed from VW. In 2001, Volvo began building its own five-cylinder diesel engines with the V70, which became a success and were renowned for their reliability.

The Volvo 244 GL D6 was the Swedish manufacturer’s first diesel model, with a six-cylinder unit borrowed from Volkswagen / Volvo

In 2012, the Swedes pioneered a diesel plug-in hybrid solution with the Volvo V60 D6, which combined local zero-emission driving with low fuel consumption for longer trips. It wasn’t the most reliable solution, however, and only Mercedes still has a diesel PHEV drivetrain in its current lineup.

Bread and butter just five years ago

As recently as 2019, diesel engines still made up the majority of Volvo’s European sales. However, as the love for diesel dropped and the EU mandated ever-stricter emissions targets, which demand significant investments, Volvo decided to drop the fuel altogether.

The manufacturer has even stopped investing in combustion engines, selling its stake in Aurobay, the joint venture with Geely that developed new, shared engines. This means its gasoline models are also counting the days until they are phased out. Volvo aims to become an all-electric brand by 2030 and a net zero carbon emitter by 2040.


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