This article is about the Volvo Car Corporation. For commercial vehicles otherwise known as the Volvo Group, see Volvo
. For other uses of “Volvo”, see Volvo (disambiguation)
Volvo Car Corporation headquarters
Volvo Car Corporation, or Volvo Personvagnar AB, is a Swedish premium automobile manufacturer established in 1927 and headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, where it operates out of the VAK building. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group of China.
Volvo Car Corporation was originally founded as a subsidiary of the ball bearing maker SKF. When Volvo AB was introduced on the Swedish stock exchange in 1935, SKF sold most of the shares in the company. Volvo Cars was owned by AB Volvo until 1999, when it was acquired by the Ford Motor Company as part of its Premier Automotive Group. Geely Holding Group then acquired Volvo Cars from Ford in 2010.
Volvo Cars manufactures and markets sport utility vehicles, station wagons, sedans, compact executive sedans, and coupes. With approximately 2,300 local dealers from around 100 national sales companies worldwide, Volvo Cars’ largest markets are the United States, Sweden, China and Belgium. In 2011, Volvo Cars sold 449,255 cars globally, an increase of 20.3% compared to 2010.
Gustav Larson and Assar Gabrielsson
Volvo company was founded in 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden, The company was created as a subsidiary company 100% owned by SKF. Assar Gabrielsson was appointed the managing director and Gustav Larson as the technical manager.
Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety
— Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson 1927
Volvo logotype (PRV-registr.) 1927
The trademark Volvo (which is Latin for I roll) was first registered by SKF the 11 May 1915 with the intention to use it for a special series of ball bearing for the American market (however in the application for the trademark, it was also designated for the purpose of automobiles), but it was never used for this purpose. SKF trademark as it looks today was used instead for all the SKF-products. Some pre-series of Volvo-bearings stamped with the brand name ‘Volvo’ were manufactured but was never released to the market and it was not until 1927 that the trademark was used again, now as a trademark and company name for an automobile.
The first Volvo car left the assembly line on 14 April 1927, and was called Volvo ÖV 4. After this the young company produced closed top and cabriolet vehicles, which were designed to hold strong in the Swedish climate and terrain. In the registration application for Volvo logotype in 1927, they simply made a copy of the entire radiator for ÖV4, viewed from the front.
Presented in 1944, the Volvo PV444 passenger car only entered production in 1947. It was the smallest Volvo yet and was to take the lion’s share of Volvo production, a well as spearheading their move into the profitable American market. The first Volvos arrived in the United States in 1955, after hardware wholesaler Leo Hirsh began distributing cars in California. Later, Texas was added, and in 1956, Volvo themselves began importing cars to the US. North America has consistently provided Volvo with their main outlet since.
In 1964, Volvo opened its Torslanda plant in Sweden, which currently is one of its largest production sites (chiefly large cars and SUVs). Then in 1965, the Gent, Belgium plant was opened, which is the company’s second largest production site. In 1989, the Uddevalla plant in Sweden was opened, which was jointly operated by Volvo Car Corporation and Pininfarina Sverige AB from 2005 to 2013.
Volvo ÖV4 touring 1927
Volvo PV4 4-door saloon 1927
A collection of Volvo’s most important historical vehicles are now housed in the Volvo Museum, which opened in a permanent location in Arendal at Hisingen on 30 May 1995. For several years, the collection had been housed at the Blue Hangar, at the then closed Torslanda Airport.
In the early 1970s, Volvo acquired the passenger car division of the Dutch company DAF, and marketed their small cars as Volvos before releasing the Dutch-built Volvo 340, which went on to be one of the biggest-selling cars in the UK market in the 1980s. Nineteen eighty-six marked a record year for Volvo in the US, with 113,267 cars sold. The appearance of Japanese luxury brands like Acura and Lexus in subsequent years meant the loss of a significant market share for Volvo, one which they have never regained.
In 1999, Volvo Group decided to sell its automobile manufacturing business and concentrate on commercial vehicles. Ford saw advantages in acquiring a profitable prestige mid-size European automobile manufacturer, well renowned for its safety aspects, as an addition to its Premier Automotive Group. The buyout of Volvo Cars was announced on 28 January 1999, and in the following year the acquisition was completed at a price ofUS$6.45 (equivalent to $9.16 in 2015) billion. As a result of the divestiture, the Volvo trademark is now utilized by two separate companies:
Volvo Car Corporation was part of Ford Motor Company’s Premier Automotive Group (PAG), along with Jaguar, Aston Martin and Land Rover. While part of the PAG, the company grew in its range of vehicles significantly.
After Ford sold Jaguar Land Rover to Tata Motors of India in 2008, the company initially decided to keep Volvo Cars despite mounting losses and gross economic downturns. Ford decided to restructure plans for Volvo Cars, pushing it further upmarket alongside the lower end of Mercedes and BMW sedans, wagons, and SUV crossovers. The outcome was the luxurious second generation Volvo S80 and the new small premium crossover Volvo XC60.
When the global economic crisis of 2008, threatened the US automakers, Swedish authorities became concerned about the fate of Volvo if Ford would file for bankruptcy. These concerns mounted after repeated mass-layoffs at Volvo. Ford announced in December 2008 that it was considering selling Volvo Cars. Initially, a sale price of US$6 billion was reported, Ford reported it was also looking into the possibility of spinning off Volvo as an independent company. The Swedish government was asked to look into a possible state ownership of Volvo, or a financial bailout for Volvo Cars and SAAB of GM. Former parent AB Volvo agreed to help Volvo cut costs through partnerships, and suggested taking part in a shared ownership of Volvo Cars amongst a larger consortium. Other rumored candidates to purchase Volvo Cars included BMW AG of Germany, Investor AB of Sweden, Chinese investors, or Russian investors.
Although it was rumoured that Volkswagen would buy Volvo Cars, and despite initial denials, Chinese company Geely Holding Group was ultimately selected to take over the Swedish automaker. Geely Group Holdings Co. allegedly bid about US$-1.5 billion to take over Volvo, with Goldman Sachs investing HK$2.59 billion (334 million USD) in the holding company.
Ford Motor Company offered Volvo Cars for sale in December 2008, after suffering losses that year. On 28 October 2009, Ford confirmed that, after considering several offers, the preferred buyer of Volvo Cars was Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the parent of Chinese motor manufacturer Geely Automobile. On 23 December 2009, Ford confirmed the terms of the sale to Geely had been settled. A definitive agreement was signed on 28 March 2010, for $1.8 billion. The European Commission and China’s Ministry of Commerce approved the deal on 6 and 29 July 2010, respectively. The deal closed on 2 August 2010 with Geely paying $1.3 billion cash and a $200 million note. Further payments are expected with a later price “true-up”. It is the largest overseas acquisition by a Chinese automaker.
Stefan Jacoby, formerly chief executive of Volkswagen of America, became Volvo Car Corporation’s president and chief executive on 16 August 2010, replacing Stephen Odell, who became chief executive of Ford Europe. Li Shufu became Volvo Cars’ chairman of the board. His board members include vice-chairman Hans-Olov Olsson, a former president and chief executive of Volvo Cars, and Håkan Samuelsson, formerly chief executive of MAN.
Volvo cars have long been marketed and stressed their historic reputation for solidity and reliability. Prior to strong government safety regulation Volvo had been at the forefront of safety engineering.
In 1944, laminated glass was introduced in the PV model. After Vattenfall engineers presented their pioneering work to Volvo in the 1950s, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented and patented the modern three-point safety belt, which became standard on all Volvo cars in 1959, and then made this design patent open in the interest of safety and made it available to other car manufacturers for free. Additionally, Volvo developed the first rear-facing child seat in 1964 and introduced its own booster seat in 1978.
In 1991, the 960 introduced the first three-point seat belt for the middle of the rear seat and a child safety cushion integrated in the middle armrest. Also in 1991, it introduced the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) on the700, 940/960 and 850 models, which channels the force of a side impact away from the doors and into the safety cage.
In 1994, to add to its SIPS, Volvo was the first to introduce side airbags and installed them as standard equipment in all models from 1995. At the start of the 1995 model year, side impact protection airbags were standard on high trim-level Volvo 850s, and optional on other 850s. By the middle of the production year, they were standard on all 850s. In model year 1995, SIPS airbags became standard on all Volvo models.
In 1995, the Volvo 745 was recalled as the front seatbelt mounts could break in a collision.
In 1998, Volvo installed a head-protecting airbag, which was made standard in all new models as well as some existing models. The IC head-protecting airbag was not available on the 1997 C70 since the initial design deployed the airbag from the roof, and the C70, being a convertible, could not accommodate such an airbag. A later version of the C70 featured a head-protecting airbag deploying upwards from the door, avoiding this problem. It has been stated by many testing authorities that side head protecting curtain airbags can reduce the risk of death in a side impact by up to 40% and brain injury by up to 55%, as well as protecting during a rollover. In 1998, Volvo introduced its Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), a safety device to prevent injury to front seat users during collisions.
In 2004, Volvo introduced the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), which detects vehicles entering the vehicle’s blind spot with a side-view-mirror-mounted camera, and alerts the driver with a light. That year also saw Volvos sold in all markets equipped with side-marker lights and daytime running lights. Also, since 2004 all Volvo models except for the coupes (C70 and C30) are available with an all-wheel drive system developed by Haldex Traction of Sweden.
In 2005, Volvo presented the second generation of Volvo C70, which came with extra stiff door-mounted inflatable side curtains (the first of its kind in a convertible) dubbed ‘DMIC’.
Even though Volvo Car Corporation was owned by Ford Motor Company, Volvo’s safety systems were still standard on all Volvo vehicles. Volvo has patented all its safety innovations, including SIPS, WHIPS, ROPS, DSTC, and body structures. Some of these systems were fitted to other Ford vehicles in forms similar to those of Volvo systems, but only because Volvo licensed the FOMOCO and other PAG members to utilize these features.
A 2005 Folksam report, put the 740/940 (from 1982 on) in the 15% better than average category, the second from the top category.
In 2005, when the American non-profit, non-governmental Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its first annual “Top Safety Picks” vehicles list, none of Volvo’s offered vehicles in the US were included on the list. According to Russ Rader, a spokesman for IIHS, Volvo lagged behind its competitors. Dan Johnston, a Volvo spokesman, denied that the company’s vehicles were any less safe than the institute’s top-rated vehicles, adding that
It’s just a philosophy on safety that is different from building cars to pass these kinds of tests.
In 2006, Volvo’s Personal Car Communicator (PCC) remote control was launched as an optional feature with the all-new Volvo S80. Before a driver enters their car, they can review the security level and know whether they had set the alarm and if the car is locked. Additionally, a heartbeat sensor warns if someone is hiding inside the car. The S80 was also the first Volvo model to feature adaptive cruise control (ACC) with Collision Warning and Brake Support (CWBS).
In 2008, a French court found Volvo partially responsible for causing the death of two children and serious injuries of another in Wasselonne on 17 June 1999, when the brakes of a 1996 Volvo 850 failed. The court subjected Volvo to a €200,000 fine.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Volvo’s S80 became one of the 2009 Top Safety Picks Award winners. The previous versions of the S40 and S60 models (2005–09 models with standard side airbags) failed to attain the highest rating in their side impact test. However, according to the IIHS, in recent years Volvo cars have still managed to maintain their high class safety ratings as seen in test results. The Volvo XC90, S80, C70, XC60, S60 and C30 are all rated Top Safety Picks in these crash tests. The 2014 models of the XC60, XC90, S60 and S80 have even received the Top Safety Pick+ rating.
Volvo has also scored high in EuroNCAP tests. Since 2009, all the Volvo models that EuroNCAP have tested have received five-star safety ratings: Volvo C30, V40, V60, V60 plug-in hybrid, XC60 and V70. The new Volvo V40 (model year 2013–) got the best test result of any car model ever tested in EuroNCAP.
The Amazon was noted for its safety features, with a padded dashboard, front and rear seat belts and a laminated windshield.
(This list is not necessarily Volvo innovations, but dates when Volvo incorporated the technology into its cars)
- 1944 – safety cage
- 1944 – laminated windscreen
- 1957 – anchor points for two-point safety belts, front
- 1958 – anchor points for two-point safety belts, rear
- 1959 – three-point safety belt, standard in front seats
- 1964 – rearward-facing child safety seat, first prototype tested
- 1966 – crumple zones front and rear
- 1966 – safety door-locks
- 1969 – inertia-reel safety belts
- 1971 – reminder safety belt
- 1972 – three-point safety belt, outer rear seats
- 1972 – rearward-facing child safety seat
- 1974 – multistage impact absorbing steering column
- 1974 – bulb integrity sensor
- 1975 – braking system with stepped bore master cylinder
- 1978 – child safety booster cushion
- 1982 – “anti-submarining” protection
- 1986 – three-point safety belt in centre rear seat (740/760)
- 1990 – integrated child safety cushion in centre rear seat (940/960)
- 1991 – Side Impact Protection System (850 and 940/960)
- 1991 – automatic height adjusting safety belt
- 1992 – reinforced rear seats, estate models
- 1995 – front side airbags (seat-mounted) for torso (850), integrated child safety cushion, outer rear seats
- 1997 – Roll Over Protection System (C70)
- 1998 – Whiplash Protection System (S80)
- 1998 – roof-mounted inflatable curtain side airbags (S80)
- 2001 – SCC : Volvo Safety Concept Car
- 2002 – Roll Stability Control (XC90)
- 2003 – Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture, new front structure (S40, V50)
- 2003 – rear seat belt reminders (S40, V50)
- 2003 – Intelligent Driver Information System, a system that selectively blocks information to the driver in complex traffic situations and lets the information through once the situation has calmed down (S40, V50)
- 2003 – Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research Team, inaugurated in Bangkok
- 2004 – Blind Spot Information System, informs the driver of vehicles in the blind spots, using a yellow LED in the A-pillars (S40, V50)
- 2005 – door-mounted inflatable curtain airbags (C70)
- 2006 – Personal Car Communicator (S80)
- 2006 – Collision Warning Brake Support, a system that warns the driver and gives brake support when a collision with another vehicle in front of the car is imminent (S80)
- 2006 – Electrical Parking Brake (S80)
- 2007 – Driver Alert Control, a driver drowsiness detection system that alerts the driver when the system detects that they are becoming tired (S80, V70, XC70)
- 2007 – Lane Departure Warning, a system that warns the driver for unintended lane departures (S80, V70, XC70)
- 2007 – Collision Warning with Auto Brake, a system that automatically brakes the car when a collision with another vehicle in front of the car is imminent (S80, V70, XC70)
- 2007 – Distance Alert, a system that helps the driver keeping a safe distance to the vehicle ahead, by continuously measuring the distance and lighting up the vehicle’s head up display if the time gap becomes shorter than what the driver has specified (S80, V70, XC70)
- 2007 – Alcoguard, a hand-held device that the driver blows into before they can start the car, mainly aimed for the company-car sector, taxi operators, state authorities and municipalities (S80, V70, XC70)
- 2008 – City Safety, a system that automatically brakes the car at speeds below 30 km/h (19 mph) if an obstruction is detected in front of the car (new XC60)
- 2010 – Pedestrian Detection with Auto Brake, a system that warns the driver and automatically brakes the car when a collision with a pedestrian in front of the car is imminent (S60)
- 2012 – pedestrian airbag, covering the A-pillars and the lower part of the windscreen in case of collision with a pedestrian (Volvo V40)
- 2012 – knee airbag, for the driver (V40)
- 2012 – Upgraded City Safety, now working up to 50 km/h (31 mph) (S80, V70, XC70, XC60, S60, V60, new V40)
- 2012 – Lane Keeping Aid, a system that steers the car back into the lane again if it is about to unintentionally drift out of the lane (V40)
- 2012 – Road Sign Information, a system that reads road signs and displays them in the information display, thereby helping the driver to remember speed limits, no-overtaking stretches, low-speed areas, etc. (S80, V70, XC70, XC60, S60, V60, V40)
- 2012 – Enhanced Blind Spot Information System, now able to detect approaching vehicles up to 70 meters behind the car (V40)
- 2012 – Cross Traffic Alert, alerting the driver of crossing traffic approaching from the sides (up to 30 meters away) when reversing out of a parking space (V40)
- 2013 – Cyclist Detection with Auto Brake, a system that warns the driver and automatically brakes the car when a collision with a cyclist travelling in the same direction as the car in front of the car is imminent (S80, V70, XC70, XC60, XC90, S60, V60, V40)
1987 Volvo 740, one of the few European passenger cars that can harbour a Europallet in its luggage compartment.
Volvo ÖV 4, a.k.a. Jakob1929 Volvo PV651 Sedan1933 Volvo PV654 4-Door Sedan1933 Volvo PV654 4-Door Sedan with flag1933 Volvo PV655 Cabriolet1934 Volvo PV655 Ambulance1935 Volvo PV659 Sedan Volvo PV650 Series1937 Volvo TR704 4-door Sedan Volvo TR670 SeriesVolvo PV36 Carioca Volvo PV 36 Carioca1938 Volvo PV52 4-Door Sedan1937 Volvo PV51 Sedan1937 Volvo PV51 Cabriolet1938 Volvo PV51 TV Pickup1939 Volvo PV56 4-Door Sedan Volvo PV51 1936-19451950 Volvo PV832 4-Door Sedan1938 Volvo TR802 Taxi1954 Volvo PV831 4-Door SedanVolvo TP21 all-terrain military style vehicle1952 Volvo PV 833 Pickup1951 Volvo PV834 AmbulanceVolvo TP21 Military1954 Volvo TP21 M90 Camouflage Volvo PV800 Series (civilian (PV801, PV802, PV810, PV821, PV822 and PV831) and military (TP21/P2104, P2104))1946 Volvo PV60 Sedan Taxi Volvo PV 60 1946-50
1957 Volvo PV4441954 Volvo PV 444 HS, showing the new full-sized rear windshieldVolvo PV 5441960 Volvo pv544 Volvo PV444/544 1953-1969Volvo Duett 1953-69 (Volvo PV445, P210) 1953-1969Volvo P1900 1956-1957 concept 1954
Volvo Amazon/Volvo 122 1956-1970
1968 Volvo P 1800 ES Rocket
Volvo P1800 1957 concept 1961-1973
Volvo 66 1975-1980Volvo L3314-5 in Pritschenausführung mit Planenverdeck later Volvo C202
1981 Volvo C202 Volvo-Valp-front
Volvo C202 1961-74
1974-80 Volvo C303 LapplanderVolvo C3-series (C303, C304 and C306) 1974-84
Starting with the 140 series in 1966, Volvo used a tri-digit system for their cars. The first number was the series, the second number the number of cylinders and the third number the number of doors; so a 164 was a 1-series with a six-cylinder engine and four doors. However, there were exceptions to this rule – the 780 for example, came with turbocharged I4 and naturally aspirated V6 petrol engines and I6 diesel engines, but never an eight-cylinder, as the “eight” would suggest. Similarly, the 760 often was equipped with a turbocharged I4 engine, and the Volvo 360 only had four cylinders. Some 240GLT had a V6 engine. The company dropped the meaning of the final digit for later cars like the 740, but the digit continued to identify cars underhood on the identification plate.
Volvo 140 (Volvo 142, Volvo 144, Volvo 145) 1966-73
1973 Volvo 162 Coupé Prototype
Volvo 164 1968-75
Volvo 240 (Volvo 242, 244, 245) 1974-93
Volvo 260 1974-83 (, 264, 265)Volvo 262C 1977-81Volvo 340Volvo 343 Volvo 345 1976–91Volvo 360 1976–91 Volvo 440Volvo 440/460 1987–97
Volvo 480 1986–95
Volvo 700 series 1982–92 Volvo 740 1984–92
Volvo 760 1982–90
Volvo 780 1986–90Volvo 850 1992–97
Volvo 940 1990-98
Volvo 960 1990–98
Post tri-digit models
Released in 1995
Volvo S40 1995–12
X40: 1996–04 (1st generation)
P1: 2004–12 (2nd generation)Volvo V40 1996–04
Released in 1996
Volvo S70 replaced the 850 saloon 1997–00