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It was launched in the Netherlands shortly after Volvo acquired a major stake in the passenger car division of DAF in 1973.The series consisted of the Volvo 340 (previously 343/345) and the later Volvo 360.

Volvo was not originally interested due to the cost, but they were later persuaded by DAF's access to Renault engines.

This helped Volvo expand its model line-up without the large expenditures associated with developing a new model.

Building cars in the Netherlands also helped the Swedish Volvo to access the markets of the EEC, of which Sweden was then not yet a member.

Volvo purchased a one-third share in DAF in 1973, increasing to a three-quarters stake in 1975; the DAF company's name was changed to Volvo Car BV that year.

The extra doors added 30 kg (66 lb); other modifications included better brakes, a slightly larger track due to wider rims, and interval wipers.

During 1980 larger wrap around bumpers were introduced.1981 saw the addition of an additional engine option, the Volvo designed B19, only available with the manual transmission.Free of its passenger car division, DAF's commercial vehicle division, DAF Trucks, still operates today. DAF had already begun development of this car as a replacement for the Volvo (previously DAF) 66.It was fitted with a 1.4 litre Renault engine in the front and DAF's radical Variomatic continuously variable transmission unusually mounted in the rear, helping weight distribution.To add to the appeal of the car and boost it sales, Volvo adapted the M45 manual transmission from the 200 series to fit in place of the CVT, and was sold alongside the CVT models from 1979.A five-door model, the 345, was added in August 1979 for the 1980 model year.