The last example of Volvo’s first-generation XC90 SUVs has rolled off the line at the company’s plant in Torslanda, Sweden.
The big wagon will soon be replaced by an all-new model, but this special example - the 636,143rd XC90 to be built since its debut in 2002 - will take up residence in Volvo’s own museum of past models and concepts.
The thing is, it’s not actually the very last example of the near legendary XC90. The already 12 year-old model will live on, Volvo says, in China.
Repositioned as a large affordable SUV, the current XC90 will be built and sold in China as the ‘XC Classic’, alongside the advanced and more premium second-generation XC90 that will debut later this year.
No changes or updates will be made to the model before its relaunch in China, and just one 262kW 2.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine will be offered.
As for the global model we’ve known for 12 years, it’s been quite a ride.
Development began in 1998, with the XC90’s team tasked with creating a modern, seven-seater SUV “that was not too large”.
Volvo also included extensive feedback from female buyers in the design and features of the XC90, knowing that American women would make up a large proportion of the model’s market.
The XC90 first launched with the 2.5 T5 five-cylinder and 2.9 T6 six-cylinder engines, but 2005 also brought the addition of the venerable 4.4 litre Yamaha V8 into the mix.
Volvo only forecast some 50,000 annual sales for its big new SUV back in 2002, but from 2004 right through to 2007, it had sold around 85,000 examples each year.
The XC90 proved to be Volvo’s best-selling model in the US, and in 2005 it was also the brand’s best-selling model globally.
The XC90’s advanced years has seen global annual sales drop to around 11,000 per year, but with 636,143 units built, Volvo still outdid its own expectations.
It’s barely slowed in Australia, with June alone showing 84 sales - only slightly down on 117 for the same period in 2013.
All together, Volvo's Australian arm has sold 15,000 XC90s, and the big wagon also laid claim to best-selling large SUV above $70,000 from 2005 to 2011.
Volvo says the all-new XC90, to be unveiled later this year, will hold true to the original model’s focus on practicality, while also pushing the brand to new quality, technology and styling heights.
From what we’ve seen so far, it appears to be on the right track.