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Milestones: Ford Capri, Volvo C70, GM China

by on May.05, 2009

Ford Capri
The Capri name has been in use since the earliest days at Ford.

The Capri name has been used longer than 40 years at Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Capri is celebrating  its 40th anniversary, depending on how you calculate the anniversary, since the name goes back to earlier years at the company. The last Capri ended production in 1986, but Capri lives on within many owners’ clubs who will be celebrating the anniversary with events planned from Scotland to the South West of the U.K. Fans are getting together at Castle Combe, Wiltshire (6 June), Grampian Transport Museum, Alford, Aberdeenshire (30 August), Ace Café in London (5 September) and Brooklands Museum, Surrey (26 September). 

The one we think they are celebrating.

The Capri that we think they are celebrating.

Launched in January 1969 and marketed as “the car you always promised yourself,” the Ford Capri was aimed at a style-conscious generation. In just 18 years the European answer to the Ford Mustang sold nearly two million units and achieved iconic status with its target audience. The car was briefly sold in the U.S. as a Mercury, until currency swings made the car too expensive, a pattern at Ford that repeated itself many times with cars such as the Merkur and Scorpio, and could once again with plans to import the Fiesta from Europe next year.

From the outset the Capri was a complicated offering, with a range consisting of 26 derivatives. A mix of engines – 1.3-, 1.6- and 2.0-liter four-cylinders, and a 3-liter V6 were available depending on the European market.

Ford Cologne-built Capri RS.

Ford Cologne-built Capri RS.

For the performance-oriented drivers there was the Cologne, Germany-built RS2600 and the short-lived Halewood, England-built 124 mph RS3100. In those days Ford had a 35% market share in the U.K. In 1974 the Mk II line, much simplified, was launched.

In 1978, the Mk III saw a freshening and several special editions, such as the Calypso and Laser, were added.

In 1981 Dunton’s newly-formed Special Vehicle Engineering department unveiled its first project, the 160 horsepower Capri 2.8 injection. The limited edition Capri 280, also known as the Brooklands Capri, signaled the end of the Capri era and the last car left the line in December 1986.

Volvo C70

50,000 Volvo C70 ConvertibleA sapphire black Volvo C70, number 50,000 of the second generation convertible, has been delivered to its German owner, Harald Kirschey from Olpe. The convertible had a D5 turbocharged diesel engine with 180 horsepower and automatic transmission, including Geartronic shifting.

The car, based on the Ford Focus architecture, was sold at the dealership Autohaus Mohag in Recklinghausen. Kirschey, 36, from the Sauerland region, works as a freelance programmer for CNC machinery.   

General Motors China 

It might be troubled in the U.S., but Buick is a strong brand in China.

It might be troubled in the U.S., but Buick is a strong, respected brand in China.

Shanghai GM,  among China’s leading manufacturers of passenger cars, recorded a domestic sales increase in April of 34.7%, or year-on-year to 55,245 vehicles.  China is expected to be the only automotive growth market in the world, and GM, thanks to favorable government treatment that allowed Buick to form an early partnership, is in an excellent position there.

Demand for its Buick lineup rose 63.6% to 38,071 vehicles. Sales of the Excelle, a  lower-medium segment sedan, increased by more than 120% to 22,078 units, while sales of the new Regal, an upper-medium segment sedan, just introduced at the end of last year, totaled 6,368 units. 

Among the joint venture’s Chevrolet products, the all-new Cruze compact sedan got off to a decent start, with3,739 sold in its first month on the market.  Sales of the Lova compact sedan, Chevrolet’s most popular model in China, totaled 8,687 units.

GM China Chevrolet Spark 2008

Soon at a Chevy dealer in the U.S.?

SAIC-GM-Wuling, GM’s mini-commercial vehicle joint venture, increased domestic sales in April by 60.6% on an annual basis to 95,544 units. It continued to be led by China’s best-selling vehicle, the WulingvSunshine minivan; 50,491 were sold nationwide last month.

The joint venture also sold 18,176 Wuling Rongguang high-end minivans and 5,545 Chevrolet Spark mini-cars.


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One Response to “Milestones: Ford Capri, Volvo C70, GM China”

  1. Norm Murdock says:

    The Capri’s 40th Anniversary will also be celebrated in the USA and North America, with events this year and in 2010. See the Capri Club North America’s website,, for more information!