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Volvo Marks 80th Anniversary

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Volvo

Volvo Marks 80th Anniversary

<Glady Reign
April 17, 2007

Volvo Cars, the Swedish car manufacturer wholly owned by the Ford Motor Company, celebrates its 80 years of involvement and existence in the auto industry. The car company known for their dedication to consumer safety started in 1927 when it was formed as a subsidiary of ball bearing manufacturer SKF.

In 1935, the company was sold publicly at the Swedish stock exchange. From that time until 1999, Volvo Cars was owned by AB Volvo. After that, the Ford Motor Company acquired the car brand and made it a part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group which is composed of European luxury brand like Jaguar and the recently sold Aston Martin. Volvo specializes in manufacturing high-end cars known for safety. Competition for Volvo includes vehicles sold under the Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Saab brands.

The Scandinavian car manufacturer is based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Its first managing director was Assar Gabrielson and the first technical manager was Gustav Larson. The world-famous reputation for safety maintained by Volvo started since its birth. In fact, according to Gabrielson and Larson: “Cars are driven by people. Therefore the guiding principle behind everything at Volvo is and must remain safety.” From that time until today, Volvo remains as the world’s leading producer of safe cars. Numerous advances in safety features for automobiles have been developed by facilities created by Volvo for that sole purpose.

The name Volvo was first intended for special series of ball bearings created by SKF to be sold in the United States. While there have been ball bearings manufactured stamped with “Volvo”, these were not released in the market. In fact, the first time that the name Volvo was used publicly is in 1927 when Volvo Cars was formed.

The company’s first ever vehicle which they wholly assembled rolled out of its facility in April 14, 1927 and was it called the Volvo ÖV 4. After that particular model, Volvo produced several models of closed top and cabriolet models. Since Sweden’s climate is harsh for most of the year for common automobiles, Volvo designed their vehicles to take the punishment from the elements. During that time, Volvo accessories have yet to gain popularity.

Volvo’s logo is an ancient chemistry sign for iron. The people behind the company chose the said logo to symbolize the strength possessed by iron used on their cars. In addition to that, Sweden is also known as one of the best producer of high quality iron. When the company applied for registration for a logo, they just copied the front grille of the ÖV 4. From that time on, Volvo’s logo became almost a standard, a measuring stick by which car manufacturers compare the safety of their vehicles to.

Today, the company produces different body styles of automobiles. SUVs, wagons, sedans, and coupes are now part of Volvo’s growing lineup in the global market.

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