Volvo is a Swedish carmaker known for its emphasis on safety and passenger collision protection. The company was founded in 1927 by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson, who made safety a primary concern in their production cars. The first car, named "Jakob," was followed in the late 1920s and 1930s with multiple model introductions, many of which were designed for bus, taxi, and police car applications. World War II, a long engineering strike, and supply issues slowed but did not sink Volvo in the 1940s.
Volvo arrived in the United States in 1955 and introduced the PV444, a stylish compact car that was Sweden's best selling car in 1953. The company's reputation for safety was cemented in 1959, when it became the first automaker to make front seat three-point seat belts standard. Prior to this, Volvo made anchorage for two-point seat belts standard for both front and rear seats.
Founded : 1927; 88 years ago
Founder : Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson
Headquarters : Gothenburg, Sweden
Website : http://www.volvogroup.com
Volvo made numerous safety advancements in the 1960s, and it is during this time period that the U.S. became Volvo's largest export market. Changes included the enlistment of medical experts for safety advice, the introduction of energy-absorbing crumple zones, and the launch of the first rear-facing child seat. The attractive P1800 sports car was launched during the 1960s as well. The following decade, the 240 sedan was launched; the model ran with only light changes into the 1990s and became known for its rugged durability.
In the 1990s, Volvo introduced side impact airbags on its 850 sedan. This model had a bi-fuel version and also became Volvo's first all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Ford Motor Company acquired Volvo as part of its Premier Automotive Group in 1999, and since then the two companies have shared technology, designs and platforms. In 2008, Ford named Stephen Odell the new CEO of Volvo.
Volvo currently faces challenges with its brand positioning; while its cachet is higher than that of large manufacturers like Ford, it is typically not considered up to par with companies like Mercedes or BMW. Volvo's current lineup in the U.S. includes sedans (S80, S60, S40), coupes and convertibles (C30, C70), SUVs and crossovers (XC90, XC70, XC60), and sport wagons (V70, V50).