Volvo Celebrates 70 Years of the PV444

Volvo just celebrated the 40th birthday of the iconic 240 series sedan/coupe/wagon, and now the Swedish automaker is getting ready for another big anniversary in its history. On September 1, 1944, the Volvo PV444 was officially introduced, and this new model helped mark a handful of firsts for Volvo, which was still in its infancy at this point.
Volvo PV444 8 photos
Photo: Volvo
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Even with World War II still going on at this point, the PV444 received a lot of attention when it was unveiled. This was not only Volvo’s first-ever small car, but it was also the first to feature a unibody construction. The design of the PV444 had only been approved five months before its official unveiling, and the car shown at the time didn’t even have a complete powertrain. Still, the small stature made this car very popular at the time of its unveiling, although it would be another three years before the PV444 actually went into production.

Almost 11 years after its introduction, the Volvo PV444 also became first model that Volvo had exported to the U.S. The first Volvo PV444s began arriving here in August 1955 in California, and the car quickly became a popular vehicle in that state becoming the second most popular import car for California drivers in 1956.

Finally, the Volvo PV444 was Volvo’s first-ever mainstream model. Originally, Volvo had only planned to build 8,000 PV444s, which was four times more than any other car it had ever built, but the new small car proved to be a huge success for the growing automaker racking up almost 200,000 sales through 1958. Volvo points out that if you include the closely related PV544 model, this sales figure swells to 440,000 over the same time period.

The Volvo PV444 helped put Volvo on the back in 1944, and 70 years later, that car is essentially responsible for today’s small Volvo cars like the S60 and V60. Be sure to check out the cool gallery of PV444 images released by Volvo.
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