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A Look Back at Volvo in the 1930’s

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Volvo

A Look Back at Volvo in the 1930’s

Glady Reign
April 17, 2007

This year, Volvo is celebrating their 80th anniversary. Furthermore, this month is special to the company since their first car rolled out of their assembly pant on April 14, 1927.

The company’s name was meant to be used for ball bearings which were manufactured by SKF. Due to fate’s intervention though, the ball bearings stamped with “Volvo” were not released in the market. Instead of ball bearings, the name was used as a trademark and brand name for a new car manufacturer founded by Assar Gabrielson and Gustav Larson.

The first vehicle from the company is the ÖV 4, an open top vehicle. Due to Sweden’s cold climate, the vehicle only achieved modest success.

After the release of the ÖV 4 vehicle, Volvo achieved more success with the LV1 truck which was manufactured in 1928. By the end of that decade, Volvo started exporting their vehicles. The first country outside of Sweden to be offered Volvo vehicles is Finland, Sweden’s neighbor.

In the 1930’s the company continued their success based on their dedication to safety. Since its birth, Volvo has always prioritized the safety of their cars and in the 1930’s, this strategy paid off. During the 1930’s, Volvo’s name became increasingly popular not only in Sweden but also on other parts of the European continent.

One of the most notable releases for the company in the 1930’s is the introduction of their first bus. In 1934, Volvo manufactured the B1, a bus which has received much praise form experts in the industry then. While sales of the B1 are not as high as Volvo would have wanted, the effort served as a benchmark for other Volvo’s to come.

In 1936, the company released their omnibus models and that is when sales skyrocketed. From that time onward, the company became known as one of the leading producer of trucks in Sweden and neighboring countries as well. During the decade, the company received much success in the production of trucks which are built to withstand Sweden’s cold climate. During that decade, the Volvo aftermarket parts market is still on its early stages.

During the 1930’s, Volvo acquired the Penta plant located in Skovde, Sweden. The plant gave the company a boost in production. After the acquisition of the plant which was founded in 1907, Volvo had the control of development, production and quality control of their production vehicles.

The 1930’s became a pivotal stage for Volvo where the company saw their business growing and reaching out to other countries.

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