9th Aug 2011, 23:43

Hi there, we have a 1999 S80, with no problems at this stage. They are a beautiful car to travel in. We are also in NZ.

29th Mar 2014, 12:22

Sorry to advise that you can't blame Ford for this toad. When Ford bought Volvo in 1999, this car was already on the market (1998 launch in Europe). Do you think Ford would have designed a car with a General Motors transmission?

Volvo owned this gem lock, stock and barrel.

27th Mar 2015, 02:58

The problem you describe comes as consequence of the defective Magnetti Marelli (Italian prince of darkness) electronic throttle module. You will encounter an increasing level of malfunction (lurching, stalling, rough idle, hesitation) until the module goes into "limp home mode" when the error messages reach a certain threshold. This failure mode occurs with 100% of this car model, given time and miles.

Unfortunately for Volvo, the ETM fell under the extended emissions warranty in NA, so Volvo was actually paying to replace the ETMs when faced with a mandatory recall by NHTSA. That is until Volvo arrived at a solution they managed to sell to NHTSA to avoid the recall. Volvo reflashes the firmware in the ETM so that it will 'accept' a much higher threshold of error messages before going into limp home mode. This prevents Volvo from having to pay to replace their defective Italian ETMs until you drive out of the emissions warranty, so it was a brilliant solution. With the reflash, the ETM won't go into limp-home regardless of how badly it's malfunctioning. Of course while your car will continue running, it will be running absolutely horribly until YOU pay to have the defective ETM replaced, and then the clock starts ticking on the replacement ETM, because it's the same piece of garbage that failed in the first place.

Nobody should buy a car from a company that has more regard for their pocketbook than their owner's safety and welfare. Fortunately lots of folks have noticed, and Volvo sales in North America are evaporating faster than the rest of the auto market is growing. Really a shame, because Volvo made wonderful cars in the past, but they can't live in the past.

27th Mar 2015, 12:29

Surprising then that FORD sell so many cars... they were happy to sell the Explorer knowing they had defects that could potentially KILL the driver by causing an accident, but worked out that because so many Americans bought them, that it would be cheaper to pay out for X amounts of deaths than recall the cars completely! People still buy Fords though... EVERY car manufacturer will look for a cheaper option as its business. Face it.

1st Apr 2015, 04:44

Volvo rushed the S80 to market before they finished engineering it, and used their customers as beta testers. When it became evident in short order that the car was a service nightmare, Volvo faced a decision to conduct a service campaign and straighten the cars out, or wipe their hands of the nightmare.

Volvo did the math and reasoned that it would cost them more to fix the cars than they could ever gain in revenue from repeat business from the clients who bought these gems, so it made more sense economically to just jettison these customers and move on.

Hans-Olov Olsson, President and CEO, Volvo Car Corporation (at that time) amazingly confirmed the quality gaffs in a newsletter published on Volvo's corporate website dated Saturday, July 06, 2002, in which Olsson acknowledged, "the fact is that we lost concentration - our concentration on quality. Instead we focussed (sic) on short-term profitability, which had a serious impact on our quality results." Fascinating that Volvo took this press release down in very short order (likely at the urging of frantic corporate lawyers who could visualize it being used as an exhibit in countless lawsuits.)

Unfortunately it's not a matter of fixing a few things on these cars to make them reliable, because Volvo didn't go back and re-engineer the transmissions, or the steering racks, or the electronic throttle modules, or the front suspension mounts, or the spark plug ignition coils. The replacement parts carried the exact same design defects as the original components, so there is no way to make these cars reliable other than a Viking funeral.

1st Apr 2015, 20:33

Luckily, Volvo stopped selling these cars almost a decade ago, so people should move on. It was a time when many manufacturers were cutting costs. Take Mercedes for example, which made appalling cars between 1998 and 2004 - most have rusted away here in the UK. The good news is that Volvo are reliable again, and most manufacturers have upped their game in that account, as well as other areas too.

2nd Apr 2015, 15:07

Volvo continues selling the P2 platform of the S80 in 2015 as the XC90.

Most customers who suffered S80s have long since moved on: to cars produced by more responsible manufacturers.

Nobody makes perfect products, but the key point is the after sales support that manufacturers provide when they make serious gaffs. Volvo's response to their S80 debacle was to duck and cover at their clients' expense.

Hopefully Volvo has learned a lesson after a decade of rapidly declining sales, but how many folks will be willing to gamble their hard earned money that the leopard has changed its spots?

3rd Apr 2015, 08:30

To be fair, the XC90 is now out of production, but has also proved to be a very reliable car after 2006. The S80 has changed also, and has been a P3 platform since the facelift for the 2007MY, so both those examples given were wrong.

Also (at least elsewhere in the world, possibly not the USA), Volvo overall sales have been steadily increasing and market share IMPROVING year on year with no major worries from customers.

And to answer your question about 'leopards and spots' - Mercedes sales are good as are Ford and all the rest that have had MAJOR issues in the past, so people can learn to move on and companies do change. Interesting the Volvo was OWNED by FORD at the time of these issues and denials to repair vehicles. Since Ford sold them, Volvo have been going from strength to strength. The all new XC90 shows how a small company can still make great cars. Yes, I am a Volvo owner and VERY happy with all my cars (I own 3 of them) - all now have high mileage, very few issues and my local dealer looks after me very well without taking the p*ss.

4th Apr 2015, 17:12

The philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Your attempt to invalidate and sweep the dreadful ownership experiences of Volvo S80 owners under the rug because the failures occurred in the past is off-topic and flat wrong. By the same reasoning, any historical event has never occurred.

The P2 platform launched in the 1998 model year S80 spawned the XC90 in 2002 that continued on that platform through 2014 model years. An XC90 being sold as new in April of 2015 is a P2 platform. My comments are factually intact.

5th Apr 2015, 15:44

I have owned 7 Volvos in my life. A 74 164E, 75 164E, 82 245T, 84 244T, 85 240, 90 760T, and a 91 780. I was a fan. I never buy a vehicle new, but only after its depreciation curve flattens out (about seven years), and I closely monitor the reviews and reliability history of those I am interested in. I had targeted the S80T for acquisition, but as reports came in, I thought better of it. At one point, around here at least, many new car dealers, including Volvo, would not take these cars back in trade, it WAS that bad. Perhaps now the survivors are those that were the most reliable of this group and have had the upgrades necessary, but I'd never take a chance on them.