Volvo Cars, or Volvo Personvagnar, is a Swedish Automobile maker founded in 1927 in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden.
The name Volvo, derived from the Latin for "I roll," was thought to be a good trademark for a ball bearing as well as for an automobile.
Volvo was originally formed as a subsidiary company to the Ball bearing maker SKF. It was not until 1935 when Volvo AB was introduced on the Swedish stock exchange that SKF sold most of the shares in the company. Volvo Cars was owned by Volvo until 1999, when it was acquired by the Ford as part of its Premier Automotive Group along with Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin.
Volvo produces models ranging from SUVs, wagons, and sedans to compact executive sedans and coupes. It competes directly with luxury car manufacturers such as Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lancia, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Saab. With 2,500 dealerships worldwide in 100 markets; 60 percent of sales come from Europe, 30 percent from North America, and the other 10 percent is from the rest of the world.
Volvo's market share is shrinking in the North American market. However, Volvo increased its market share in new markets such as Russia, China and India . Specifically, Volvo expected sales in Russia to double and exceed 20,000 units by the end of 2007, making Russia one of the ten biggest markets for the company. Volvo already boasts the leading position in Russia's luxury car segment.
Older models were often compared to tractors , partially because Volvo AB was and still is a manufacturer of heavy equipment, earlier Bolinder-Munktell, now Volvo. Considered by some to be slow and heavy, they earned the distinction "brick" as term of endearment for the classic, block-shaped Volvo. With the more powerful turbo charged variants known as "turbobricks". Most recently a Volvo wagon won top honors at the 1995 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Owners are often proud of achieving prodigious mileages with one well documented 1965 Volvo P1800S having been driven over 2.6 million miles. According to some figures the average age of a Volvo being discarded is second only to Mercedes at 19.8 years. Reliability is considered better than average and in the USA Volvo dealers are listed by Forbes as one of the best among all car makers (9th) and luxury car makers (6th).
Volvo company came about in Gothenburg, Sweden in the year 1927. The company was founded by SKF as a subsidiary company 100% owned by SKF. Assar Gabrielsson was appointed the managing director and Gustav Larson as the technical manager.
Despite this, Volvo's originally had a reputation for high death rates in the event of an accident . This led to a drastic overhaul of Volvo's safety approaches and an aggressive marketing campaign to brand the cars as 'the safest on the road'. This perception branding has been so successful that "safety" is now the first word most associate with Volvo.
The trademark Volvo was first registered by SKF the 11th May 1915 with the intention to use it for a special series of ball bearing for the American market, 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 April 14, 1927 was called Volvo. After this the young company produced closed top and cabriolet vehicles, which were designed to hold strong in the Swedish climate and terrain. The Volvo symbol is an ancient chemistry sign for iron. The iron sign is used to symbolize the strength of iron used in the car as Sweden is known for its quality iron. The diagonal line (a strip of metal) across the grille came about to hold the actual symbol, a circle with an arrow, in front of the radiator. In the registration application for Volvo logotype in 1927, they simply made a copy of the entire radiator for ÖV4, viewed from the front.
In 1964 Volvo opened its Torslanda plant in Sweden, which currently is the one of its largest production sites (chiefly large cars and SUV). Then in 1965 the Ghent, Belgium plant was opened, which is the company's second largest production site (chiefly small cars). Finally in 1989 the Uddevalla plant in Sweden was opened, which is now jointly operated by Volvo Car Corporation and Pininfarina of Italy.
A collection of Volvo's most important historical vehicles are now housed a The Volvo Museum, which opened in a permanent location in Arendal at Hisingen on May 30, 1995. For several years, the collection had been housed at "The Blue Hangar," at the then closed Torslanda Airport.
In 1944, Laminated glass was introduced in the Volvo model. In 1958, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin invented and patented the modern 3-Point Safety Belt, which became standard on all Volvo cars in 1959. Volvo was the first company to produce cars with padded dashboards starting in late 1956 with their Volvo. Additionally, Volvo developed the first rear-facing child seat in 1964 To add to its SIPS in 1995 Volvo was the first to introduce side airbags and installed them as standard equipment in all models in 1995. In 1998 Volvo also developed and was the first to install a head protecting airbag, which was made standard in all new models as well as some existing models. The head-protecting airbag was not available on the 1996 C70 due to the initial design deploying the airbag from the roof; the C70, being a convertible, could not accommodate such an airbag. Later years of the C70 featured a head-protecting airbag deploying upwards from the door, negating the issue of roof position. It has been stated by many testing authorities that side head protecting curtain airbags can reduce risk of death in a side impact by up to 40% and brain injury by up to 55%, as well as protecting in a rollover situation. In 1998, Volvo introduced its Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), a safety device to prevent injury of front seat users during collisions. puts the 740/940 (from 1982 on) in the 15% better than average category, the second from the top category. Also, the production of Volvo had to be stopped because it did not fulfill US safety standards. The Volvo 745 was also recalled due to that the front seatbelts mounts could break in a collision.
Since 2004 all Volvo models except for the Volvo and C30 are available with an all wheel drive system developed by Haldex of Sweden.
Even although Volvo Car Corp is owned by the Ford Motor Company, the safety systems of Volvo are still made standard on all of their vehicles. Volvo has patented all of their safety innovations that would include SIPS, WHIPS, ROPS, DSTC, IC, and body structures to name a few. Some of these systems have shown up in other Ford vehicles in related forms to that of Volvo systems only because Volvo has licenced the FOMOCO and other PAG members to utilize these features.
Safety reputation under questionEdit
According to Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Volvo is lagging behind its competitors. Dan Johnston, a Volvo spokesman, denied that the company's vehicles are any less safe than the Institute's top-rated vehicles, adding that
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, and C70 all score top scores in these rated crash tests.
In 2008 a French court found Volvo guilty of causing the death of two children and serious injuries of one in Wasselonne on June 17, 1999 when the brakes of a 1996 Volvo failed. The prosecutor found Volvo partially responsible for the accident and sentenced Volvo to a 200 000 Euro fine.
- 1944 Safety cage
- 1944 Laminated windscreen
- 1954 Defroster vents for windscreen
- 1956 Windscreen washers
- 1957 Anchor points for 2–point safety belts front
- 1958 Anchor points for 2–point safety belts rear
- 1959 3–point front safety belts standard
- 1960 Padded instrument panel
- 1964 Disc brakes front
- 1964 First rearward–facing child safety seat prototype tested
- 1966 Rear windscreen defroster
- 1966 Disc brakes all around
- 1966 Dual split triangular braking system
- 1966 Crumple zones front and rear
- 1966 Safety door–locks
- 1967 Safety belt rear seats
- 1968 Head restraints front
- 1969 Inertia reel safety belts
- 1969 Heated rear windscreen
- 1971 Reminder safety belt
- 1972 3–point safety belts – rear
- 1972 Rearward–facing child safety seat
- 1972 Childproof locks on rear doors
- 1972 Warning lights (hazard)
- 1973 Side collision protection
- 1973 Collapsible steering wheel
- 1974 Energy absorbing bumpers
- 1974 Safe location of fuel tank
- 1974 Multistage impact absorbing steering column
- 1974 Bulb integrity sensor
- 1974 Headlight wiper/washer
- 1975 Day running lamps
- 1975 Braking system with stepped bore master cylinder
- 1978 Child safety booster cushion
- 1982 "Anti–submarining" protection
- 1982 Fog lamps front
- 1982 Fog lamps rear
- 1982 Warning lights in opened door
- 1982 Wide angle rear view mirror
- 1984 ABS anti–locking brakes
- 1985 ETC – Electronic Traction Control
- 1986 Brake lights in rear window
- 1986 Three–point safety belt centre rear seat
- 1987 Mechanical safety belt pre–tensioner
- 1987 Airbag – driver
- 1990 Integrated child safety cushion in centre rear seat
- 1991 SIPS – Side Impact Protection System
- 1991 Automatic height adjusting safety belt
- 1992 Reinforced rear seats in estate models
- 1992 Passenger airbag front
- 1993 Three–point inertia–reel safety belts – all rear positions
- 1994 SIPS–bag, side airbag
- 1995 DSA – Dynamic Stability Assistance
- 1995 Integrated child safety cushion outer rear seats
- 1997 ROPS – Roll Over Protection System (C70)
- 1998 WHIPS – Whiplash Protection System
- 1998 IC – Inflatable Curtain
- 1998 STC – Stability and Traction Control
- 1998 DSTC – Dynamic Stability and Traction Control
- 1998 EBD – Electronic Brake Distribution
- 2000 ISOFIX anchorages with rearward–facing child safety seat
- 2000 Dual Stage Airbag
- 2001 SCC – Volvo Safety Concept Car
- 2002 RSC – Roll Stability Control
- 2002 ROPS – Roll Over Protection System (XC90)
- 2002 New integrated child seat 2nd row (XC90)
- 2002 Lower Cross Member (XC90)
- 2002 New compatible front design (XC90)
- 2002 Safe 3rd row seats (XC90)
- 2002 New Front Structure (XC90)
- 2003 New Front Structure called Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture (VIVA) (S40, V50)
- 2003 Rear seat belt reminders (in S40 and V50)
- 2003 IDIS – Intelligent Driver Information System (in S40 and V50)
- 2003 Inauguration of Volvo's Traffic Accident Research Team in Bangkok
- 2004 BLIS – Blind Spot Information System (in S40 and V50)
- 2004 Water repellent glass WRG
- 2005 Introduction of DMIC (Door Mounted Inflatable Curtain) (new Volvo C70)
- 2006 PCC - Personal Car Communicator (S80)
- 2006 CWBS - Collision Warning with Brake Support (S80)
- 2006 ABL - Active Bixenon Lights (S80)
- 2007 Adaptive Cruise Control - Adaptive Cruise Control (S80)
- 2007 PPB - Power Park Brake (S80)
- 2007 HDC - Hill Descent Control (XC70 and future XC)
- 2007 EBL - Emergency Brake Light (Premier on S40 and V50, standard on all after)
- 2007 DAC - Driver Alert Control (V70, XC70)
- 2007 LDW - Lane Departure Warning System
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, which went on to be one of the biggest-selling cars in the UK market in the 1980s.
Volvo Group, as one of the largest manufacturers of commercial vehicles in the world, took the initiative to sell its automobile manufacturing in 1998 in order to fully focus its efforts on the market for commercial vehicles.
Ford, on the other hand, 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 January 28, 1998, and in the following year the acquisition was completed at a price of $6.45 billion USD.
As a result of the Divestiture, the Volvo Trademark is now utilized by two separate companies:
- Volvo - a manufacturer of commercial vehicles, etc. owned by Swedish interests.
- Volvo Cars - a manufacturer of automobiles owned by Ford, in its Premier Automotive Group (PAG).
Corporate history within FordEdit
Volvo Car Corporation is part of Ford Motor Company's Premier Automotive Group (Premier Automotive Group), alongside Jaguar and Land Rover of the UK. Since its acquisition into the PAG, the company has grown in its range of vehicles and is increasingly becoming a larger competitor year by year in the luxury segment. Volvo has not reached the heights of world luxury leaders Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar or even the sporty/luxury manufacturers BMW and Audi. Volvo competes more evenly with Acura, Cadillac, Lincoln (automobile) and Saab.
In mid-2007 a rumour started that BMW had plans to acquire Volvo Cars from Ford. Insiders from the three companies did confirm that BMW requested an official financial inspection of Volvo and that informal talks between Ford and BMW had begun for a possible buyout. Ford is selling the PAG automotive marques for financial reasons, the same reason given for the disposal of Aston Martin.
On June 11, 2007, even after denying the claim of a buyout with BMW, the Ford Motor Company announced publicly that all of its PAG members were for sale. Earlier in 2007 Ford had stated that none of its PAG members were safe from a potential divestment. The entire PAG brand selection is expected to be divested in order to finance the remaining Ford brands which would include Ford, Mercury (automobile), and Lincoln (automobile). Ford publicly announced that the Jaguar, Land Rover, and Volvo Cars brands were all up for sale at this point. Soon after, in August 2007, Ford CEO Alan Mulally stated that Ford does not need a global luxury brand in the form of the PAG of Europe; excluding Lincoln of America, all of the luxury brands must go — from Jaguar of England to Volvo of Sweden.
The rumours surrounding the possible sale of Volvo Car Corp to BMW once again surfaced in early July 2007. Sources from within the Volvo financial arm in Gothenburg have stated that the German brand had informal extensive talks with Volvo executives about a real selling price of the company.
So far the most recent rumour was started in mid-June in Sweden that the Volvo Car Corporation is to be bought from the Ford PAG with the help of AB Volvo. This was later confirmed to be untrue, as AB Volvo is not looking into the automotive industry at this point in time as stated by AB Volvo CEO in Sweden. AB Volvo did confirm that they are very much concerned to see and to know what will happen to Volvo Cars, as they share the same heritage, beliefs, and nameplate.
On July 3, 2007 a confirmed suitor for Volvo Cars stepped forward as a potential buyer to the rights to use the Volvo Cars name in vehicle manufacture. A wealthy Swedish family that owns Investor AB, a public investment firm of Sweden, with an 11% share interest of Scania AB, now entered the ring as a potential Volvo owner. This takeover was seen by many of the automotive analysts to be the most practical at that point in time. Previous takeover enquiries from Renault and BMW were seen to be impractical because Volvo has become so integrated with Ford and much would be lost by Ford and the new owners in the sales of the Swedish auto company. This Swedish family ownership would have allowed Volvo to be Swedish again and the platforms could still have been shared with Ford. Ford would have gotten much-needed revenue that Jaguar and Land Rover alone cannot generate in a sale, and the Volvo Cars work force would prefer Swedish ownership.
According to the UK Autocar magazine, a Ford spokesman said that Volvo was not ready for sale yet and that it was still under observation. But early August of 2007 revealed another turn in the Ford PAG sale saga. Ford announced that Volvo would be sold before the end of 2007. The most likely new owners of Volvo would have been the Wallenberg Family that owns Investor AB of Sweden, or BMW of Germany.
In November 2007 Ford announced that it would keep Volvo, even though they had posted a loss for the third quarter. Ford CEO Allan Mulally said that Ford intended to improve the situation at Volvo by pushing the Volvo brand of cars further upmarket to directly take on the German rivals. With that, Volvo is to increase its product portfolio with more luxury vehicles. In addition to that, Ford now plans to allow Volvo more independent operations than it did previously.
Volvo ReCharge Plug-in hybrid Concept car, with 60 miles of all-electric range (AER), has been unveiled officially at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show.
Volvo entered the European Touring Car Championship with the Volvo 240 in the mid-80s. The cars also entered the Guia Race, part of the Macau Grand Prix in 1985, 1986 and 1987, winning in both 1985 and 1986.
Volvo also entered the British Touring Car Championship in the 90s with Tom Walkinshaw Racing. This partnership was responsible for the controversial 850 Estate racing car, which was only rendered uncompetitive when the FIA allowed the use of aerodynamic aids in 1995. TWR then built and ran the works 850 Saloon, six wins in 1995 and five wins in 1996, and S40, one wins in 1997 in the BTCC. In 1998, TWR Volvo won the British Touring Car Championship with Rickard Rydell driving the S40R.
The Volvo Trademark is now jointly owned (50/50) by Volvo Group and Volvo Car Corporation. One of the main promotional activities for the brand is the sailing Race Volvo, formerly known as the Whitbread Around the World Race. There is also a Volvo and Volvo, and Volvo likes to encourage its affluent image by sponsoring golf tournaments all over the world including major championship events called the Volvo and Volvo.
Volvo sponsored the Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s leading round-the-world yacht race for the first time in 2001 – 2002. The next edition will take place as of 2008. Volvo has also had a long-standing commitment to the ISAF and is involved in the Volvo/ISAF World Youth Sailing Championships since 1997.
Starting with the 140 series in 1968, 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 6-cylinder engine and 4 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 8 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 Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN codes) had always been given YV1 symbolizing Sweden, Volvo, and Volvo Car Corp
Today, the company uses a system of letters denoting body style followed by the series number. S stands for saloon or saloon, C stands for Coupé or Convertible and V stands for versatile or estate car. XC stands for cross country originally added to a more rugged V70 model as the V70XC and indicates All wheel drive paired with a raised suspension to give it a mock SUV look. Volvo would later change the name to the XC70 in keeping with its car naming consistent with the XC90. So a V50 is an estate ("V") that is smaller than the V70.
Originally, Volvo was planning a different naming scheme. S and C were to be the same, but "F", standing for flexibility, was to be used on station wagons. When Volvo introduced the first generation S40 and V40 at Frankfurt in 1994, they were announced as the S4 and F4. However, Audi complained that it had inherent rights to the S4 name, since it names its sporty vehicles "S", and the yet-introduced sport version of the Audi would have the S4 name. Volvo agreed to add a second digit, so the vehicles became the S40 and F40. However, that led to a complaint from Ferrari, who used the Ferrari F40 name on their legendary sports car. This led to Volvo switching the "F" to "V", for versatile.
Production locations Edit
- Gothenburg, Sweden (Volvo Car Corporation Headquarters and Safety Center)
Company Headquarters, Safety Center
- Hällered, Sweden
Volvo Test Track
- Torslanda, Sweden (Volvo Torslanda Plant, Torslanda) 1964- Present
- Volvo XC90, Volvo S80, Volvo V70, Volvo XC70
- Uddevalla, Sweden 1989, since 2005 the factory is operated by Volvo Cars and Pininfarina Sverige AB
- Volvo C70
- Ghent, Belgium 1965-
- Volvo S60, Volvo V70, Volvo S40, Volvo V50, Volvo C30, Future plant for XC60 production
- Skövde, Sweden (engines)
- Floby, Sweden (Brakes)
- Köping, Sweden (Transmissions developed with Getrag GmbH and AWD system development with Haldex)
- Olofström, Sweden (Body Components)
Assembly locations around the world:
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Swedish Motor Assemblies SDN BHD)
- Bangkok, Thailand (Thai-Swedish Assembly Company Limited)
- China (the Volvo is produced in Ford's Chinese plant for the local market)
Volvo Cars have previously had production facilities on these locations:
- Pretoria, South Africa (Production cancelled in 2006 due to disputes in trade agreements between the EU and South Africa as well as decreased demand).
- Born (Netherlands), The Netherlands (NedCar, fka Volvo Car B.V.) (1972-2004)
- Halifax, Canada
- Kalmar, Sweden (1972-1994)
Engine types Edit
Volvo is one of few automobile manufacturers that uses in-line or straight Engines in their production vehicles. Volvo is also very famous for the application of the in-line 5-cylinder engine to its vehicle line up since its introduction in 1993 in the Volvo.
- Volvo - fitted into the PV651/2, TR671/4, PV653/4, TR676/9, PV658/9, PV36, PV51/2, PV53/6, PV801/2, PV821/2, PV831/2 and PV60 from 1929 to 1958
- Volvo and Volvo - fitted into the Volvo and Volvo from 1947 to 1956
- Volvo (A and B) - fitted into the PV, Duett and Volvo from 1957 to 1960
- Volvo and Volvo - 1.8 L/2.0 L OHV 8v fitted into all Volvo models from 1961 to 1974 except 164 (and 1975 U.S. Spec 240 models).
- Volvo, Volvo, and Volvo - fitted from 1975
- Volvo and Volvo - 2.0 L and 2.3 L, respectively, SOHC 8v fitted to 240, 360, 700, 940 series cars from 1985
- Volvo and Volvo - 2.0 L and 2.3 L DOHC 16 valve engines
- B27/B27 and B27- 2.7 and 2.8 L SOHC 12v developed together with Renault and Peugeot
- Volvo - fitted to all 164 models
Volvo transmissions in the past were made by the ZF Friedrichshafen company, but now the transmissions are co-developed with Aisin of Japan. Geartronic is Volvo Cars' name for its Manumatic transmission.
- Volvo AW70 transmission
- Volvo AW71 transmission
- Volvo M30 transmission
- Volvo M41 transmission
- Volvo M45 transmission
- Volvo M46 transmission
- Volvo M47 transmission
- Volvo M50 transmission
- Volvo M51 transmission
- Volvo M56 transmission
- Volvo M58 transmission
- Volvo M59 transmission
- Volvo M66
- Volvo ZF4HP22 transmission
- AW50-42 (4-speed automatic, FWD/AWD)
- AW55-50/51 (5-speed automatic, FWD/AWD)
- GM4T65EV/GT(4-Speed GM automatic, FWD/AWD)
- AWTF80-SC (6-speed automatic, FWD/AWD)
Volvo Cars sales during 2007 (2006).
By market Edit
1. USD 106,125 (115,818)
2. Sweden 62,229 (55,455)
3. Germany 32,329 (35,626)
4. UK 30,003 (30,512)
5. Russia 21,077 (10,803)
6. Italy 20,290 (17,554)
7. Netherlands 20,253 (16,607)
8. Spain 18,400 (18,247)
9. Belgium 13,991 (11,844)
10.France 13497 (10,726)
All markets: 458,323 (427,747)
By model Edit
1. Volvo 79,140
2. Volvo 69,067
3. Volvo 63,062
4. Volvo 62,348
5. Volvo 46,726
6. Volvo 41,839
7. Volvo 41,726
8. Volvo 36,279
9. Volvo 17,415
See also Edit
- Jan Wilsgaard
- The Saint (TV series)
- British touring car championship (BTCC)
- Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR)
- VolvoCars.com - Official Volvo Cars web site