The drawings for the first car were produced in the children’s bedroom in Larson’s house by young engineers, such as Jan G. Smith. In autumn 1925, Henry Westerberg was engaged to finish the drawings. In the process, he became Volvo’s first employee – and the first to be laid off temporarily in 1926. However, he was rehired later and went on to become Volvo’s longest-serving employee, spending 55 years with the company.
Ten prototypes, nine open-top and one covered, were built at Galco AB in Stockholm, where Larson was chief engineer. These were finished in spring 1926. Some acquired nicknames, such as the light-green ‘Mermaid’, the attractive, red ‘Little Troll’ and the ‘Jakob’, commemorating the day that Volvo was ‘conceived’ by Gabrielsson and Larson in 1924.
Volvo PV4 4-Door Sedan 1927
Volvo PV4 Special 4-Door Sedan 1928
Lars-Göran Lindgren Sweden
Volvo PV4, 1927-1929
Three of the cars were driven to Gothenburg on what was to prove an adventurous journey, which included a collision with a Ford, a skid into a ditch and an electrical system breakdown in the middle of the night. SKF decided to assign the car manufacturing operation to its AB Volvo subsidiary, and appointed Gabrielsson and Larson to the board, the former as MD. In addition to its share capital of 200,000 kronor, the company was allocated a credit of one million kronor by SKF.
Volvo was born, after a long night of painful labour, just after 10 a.m. on Maundy Thursday, 14 April 1927. Since the gearbox of the new car had been fitted the wrong way round, the vehicle could only be driven in reverse at first. However, the gathering appeared to be undismayed and, according to a contemporary report, Gustaf Larson jokingly told the works manager that he had “put the bridle on the horse’s rear end”. The car was an open-top model bearing the designation ÖV4, although it was to become known popularly as the ‘Jakob’. The covered PV4 appeared on 4 July. This was nicknamed the ‘Grouse Hide’ because of its resemblance to the type of hide used by Swedish bird hunters. From October 1929 on, Volvo operated at a profit every year until the early 1990s!
Volvo from 1927 to 1944
It was called the V4 because the letters V are Swedish for “Open Car” and 4 denoted the number of cylinders powering the new Swedish car. On February 20, 2008, it is once again an open car that is under the spotlights. In the first year, production proceeded at a modest pace, with 297 cars being sold in 1927. Emerging from the shadow of the global economic depression and Second World War, it took Volvo 23 years to build its first 100,000 cars. Today, that figure corresponds to about three months of production.
Early in the company’s history, it was decided that the brand name should signify quality and safety. Volvo was first off the mark with the world’s single most important safety invention (the 3-point safety belt was fitted as standard to Volvo cars as far back as 1959) and with one of the world’s foremost innovations in the environmental sphere (the 3-way catalytic converter with Lambdasond was introduced in 1976).
The Second World War significantly restricted Volvo’s production of cars, but by the autumn of 1944 the company had unveiled one of its most significant cars – the PV444. Volvo’s first ‘true’ small car, its stylish design combined American flair with European size and it was an instant success. The PV444 and the PV544 would dominate Volvo production through to the mid ‘60’s and be the first models to gain Volvo a slice of the important US market during the 1950’s.
Another popular model was the Volvo 120 introduced in 1956 and often called the Amazon. Safety features and accident protection were a key factor in this cars design and this was enhanced even further in 1959 when both the Amazon and PV544 were equipped with three-point safety belts – a world first and an invention pioneered by Volvo’s head of safety engineering, Nils Bohlin.
Few people have saved as many lives as Nils Bohlin - and even fewer may recognize his name. In 1959, while working as a Volvo engineer, this unsung hero invented the V-type three-point safety belt, and launched a revolution in automotive safety that has saved over a million lives and counting.
Bohlin's design was a remarkable achievement in both innovation and ergonomic design - elegant and effective, and so simple that users could operate it using just one hand.
Volvo initially introduced the belt on two models, and it proved so effective that it became standard equipment in every car manufactured worldwide. And in the decades that followed, Bohlin continued to pursue his passion for automotive safety, playing a key role in other Volvo safety innovations like the side-impact protection system (SIPS).
Volvo 240 Estate
Interior of a Volvo 240
There was a time when Volvo safety could be described in one way: boxy. The 240 sedan, for example, was built like a tank with equal visual appeal. Thankfully, today's line of Volvo cars and SUVs provides the protection the brand is known for, as well as what are arguably some of the most attractive models on the market.
(Kelley Blue Book)
We are looking at what may be a possible future classic, the Volvo 240 Series Saloons and especially Estates. The 240 is the last of the "real" Volvo cars and in the final years made in limited numbers as the Torslanda until around 1993. These models are of substantial construction and virtually bullet proof offering their owners many thousands of miles trouble free travel, 200,000 to 300,000 miles not being uncommon.
The 240 was introduced in August 1974 (along with the 260) making a total of six different models. There was the 242/244 and 245. The first digit defines the series, the second the number of engine cylinders and the third the number of doors, i.e. a the 244 was a four door saloon and the 245 an Estate car.
The 240 was recognized from the start for its safety design features, both passive and active to help prevent injury to its occupants. These attributes date back to the Volvo Experimental Safety Car unveiled by the Company back in 1972. The cars featured rack and pinion steering and Macpherson suspensions units together with a live rear axle so as to avoid any vehicle behavior which could catch the driver by surprise. Power was provided by the new B21 single overhead camshaft engine with aluminum cylinder head, developing some 98 bhp in the carburetor version (Stromberg 175 CD) and 123 bhp with fuel injection. Substantial bumpers were fitted both to the front and rear on rams which would absorb a low speed impact. The 264 had a V6 giving some 140 bhp and was the product of a joint venture between Volvo, Renault and Peugeot and built in a plant in Northern France.
At 4:06 p.m on 8 March 1999, Chairman Ingvar Gullnäs brought his gavel down at the Group’s AGM at the Liseberg Hall in Gothenburg. This was the moment when Volvo Car Corporation passed into the ownership of the Ford Motor Company for a price of SEK50 billion. Although there was tangible dismay among the 1,200 shareholders, all understood the necessity of selling what was regarded as a Swedish ‘crown jewel’. Since then, Ford has managed Volvo Cars in a responsible manner.
VOLVO C70 COUPE Convertible
Volvo’s medium-class cars were finally introduced in the USA when the Volvo S40 and V40 were shown at the Detroit Motor Show. The PremAir® ‘ozone eater’ was introduced in the Volvo S80. This consists of a catalytic coating on the radiator which converts ground level ozone in the incoming air into oxygen.
Many Volvo owners have over the years also expressed their appreciation of their cars’ sensible, solid engineering. Functionality has always been important and this was confirmed when British motoring magazine AutoExpress undertook an ambitious survey to find out which cars are best and worst to live with from the owner’s viewpoint. Two Volvo models took part in the survey, and both won their classes. The Volvo C70 was regarded as the best sports car and the Volvo S80 was named the best luxury car in stiff competition against considerably more expensive cars.
Volvo S80 is designated as a viable threat in the direction of other luxury midsize cars. The cars are delivered to facilitate an immense sector where competition is relatively razor sharp and the customers generally have very elevated expectations. The aura of Volvo S80 is intelligent as well as inviting as the engineers especially designed this model in order to showcase the prestige by mixing technology and aesthetics into new light.
The Volvo S80 model is basically a revolutionary design and its all materials as well as shapes represents continuous development in their designing ability. This model has given more dynamic, youthful and compact stance along with refined colors as well as materials, which smoothly blends with the user friendly technology. The engine range of Volvo S80 includes V8, which basically generate 315 horsepower along with torque 440 Nm. The new models of Volvo S80 at present includes new-fangled naturally aspirated engine with six-cylinder.
( Volvo “round the world”)
The year got under way with first deliveries of the new Volvo V70. This all-new estate car quickly became a huge success. From the nimble 140 bhp petrol version, via the economical D5 diesel version with its 149 bhp turbodiesel to the massively powerful and fast T5 powered by its 250 bhp turbo petrol engine – they all became firm favorites among car owners on many markets. The new Volvo V70XC (later renamed the Volvo XC70) also took the market by storm. The new version had a far tougher and sportier appeal than the previous Cross Country model it replaced. The important US market, in particular, appreciated this more agile type of estate car with its excellent off-tarmac abilities.
The sporty Volvo S60 saloon was unveiled the same year. Both cars were soon available with a series of engine options, including petrol engines from 140 to 250 hp and a 149-hp turbo diesel. Hans-Olov Olsson, a Volvo veteran with 34 years of service, was appointed president of Volvo Cars. HM Carl XVI Gustaf inaugurated the Volvo Car Safety Centre – the most outstanding facility of its type in the automotive industry – at Torslanda. The Accident Research Team at Volvo Cars celebrated 30 years of existence. The dedicated work of its personnel has saved many human lives and alleviated the severity of accident injuries. Volvo Cars bought TWR’s holding in AutoNova, Uddevalla, becoming the exclusive owner of both the development and production of the Volvo C70.
The Volvo Performance Concept Car (PCC) was shown in Paris. A variant of the Volvo S60, this was a veritable ‘bomb’ developing 300 hp, and endowed with sportier and more dynamic characteristics than any Volvo ever before.
Enhancing its safety, the car is able to detect pedestrians that steps into the danger path of the car. If the driver does not respond accordingly, the auto brake system will be triggered. The concept aims to decrease collision forces by as much as 75% to increase the survival chances of pedestrians. The S60 Concept’s engine is a 1.6L petrol type that is highly efficient. CO2 emission is significantly reduced to 119 g/km.
( Volvo “round the world”)
For a lover of SUV, Volvo is a well known name that hardly requires any introduction among car lovers. One of the most loved SUV from Volvo is the Volvo XC 90 series that was first launched in the year 2002 and since then it has become a true favorite of every SUV lover.
In the year 2007, Volvo XC 90 was updated and luxurious interiors that made it more attractive and powerful. Volvo XC 90 is well known throughout the world for its safety features that is designed in such a way so as to safeguard it from direct collision impacts. It is best known for its unique frontal structure that makes it crumple free along with pre decided positions for engine in case of a head collision. Volvo XC 90 comes with advanced whiplash system and impact absorb energy that keeps the rider safe and secure even in a deadly collision or an accident.
( Volvo “round the world”)
The Volvo Your Concept Car (YCC), like all concept cars, provides the auto maker with a valuable testing ground to push the limits of new car designs. While the design of the YCC is filled with forward-looking ideas, the most innovative aspect of the car is not the design, but who designed it -- an all-woman design team.
Unveiled at the 2004 Geneva Auto Show, the YCC is the first concept car to be designed from start to finish by a team composed exclusively of women. Women are a growing market for the Swedish auto maker. According to Volvo, 54 percent of its U.S. buyers are women, and its female customer base in Europe is growing. With women identified as a key market, Volvo handed the drafting pencils over to those who best know what women want from their cars.
The YCC is a two-door sports coupe and is tame by some concept car standards. In recent years, Volvo has been rounding off and softening its traditionally boxier design. The YCC continues that trend, and is not far removed from a production design.
Most striking when looking at the car from the front is that it doesn't have a hood. The design team determined that their target audience doesn't need to look under the hood. The front section of the chassis can be lifted in a garage, but it does not open like a traditional hood.
There are two cap less ball-valve filling points, like those of a racing car, that allow the driver to add gasoline and windshield washer fluid. These cap less filling points eliminate the need for caps or latches, which were identified as nuisances by most female drivers.
(How the Volvo Your Concept Car Works by Kevin Bonsor at static.howstuffworks.com)
Another radical element is the gull-wing passenger doors, which are intended to allow the YCC easier entry. The doors lift up overhead like the rear door of a hatchback. These doors are intended to ease entry into the back seat.
Additional exterior features include an Easy-Clean paint that behaves much like the coating on a non-stick cooking pan. Dirt doesn't cling to it as easily, and it washes off with very little effort. The car also features run-flat tires, so that it can be driven a safe distance after a puncture.
(How the Volvo Your Concept Car Works by Kevin Bonsor at static.howstuffworks.com)
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From Volvo Car Blog
Ford Motor Company decided to consider putting Volvo Cars on the market in December 2008, after suffering huge losses that year. On October 28, 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 December 23, 2009, Ford confirmed that all substantive commercial terms of the sale to Geely had been settled. A definitive agreement was signed on March 28, 2010 worth $1.8 billion. The European Commission and China's Ministry of Commerce approved the deal on July 6 and July 29, 2010, respectively. The deal closed on August 2, 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.
Volvo plus most of its intellectual properties were assessed to be at $1.8 billion. Ford will be paid $200 million in the form of a note and the rest of the deal will come in as cash. Ford is still expected to collaborate with Volvo in some areas of the operation to ensure that there will be a smooth transition. The carmaker will also still supply vehicle components, stampings, and powertrains for Volvo as agreed. Volvo will also still have access to the information technology of Ford and its engineering support.
Portions of the intellectual properties which were co-developed with its former parent company can be used by third parties like Geely under sublicenses. Most likely the new owner will make use of the safety technology, forced induction for the engine, and dual clutch system.
(Volvo “round the world”)
Today, the company uses a system of letters denoting body style followed by the series number. S stands for saloon or sedan, C stands for coupé or convertible and V stands for versatile as in 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 A4 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.