Volvo Cars, or Volvo Personvagnar AB, is a Swedish premium automobile maker founded in 1927 in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden. It is currently owned by American Ford Motor Company.
The name Volvo, derived from the Latin for ''I roll'' (or ''I drive'' in a modern sense), 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 AB Volvo until 1999, when it was acquired by the Ford Motor Company as part of its Premier Automotive Group.
Volvo produces models ranging from SUVs, wagons, and sedans to compact executive sedans and coupes. 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 Construction Equipment. 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''.More recent models have moved away from the boxy styles favored in the 1970s and 1980s and built a reputation for sporting performance. But not before the phenomenal success of factory supported Volvo 240 turbos winning both the 1985 European Touring Car Championship (ETC) and 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC). Most recently a 850 series wagon won top honors at the 1995 British Touring Car Championship (BTCC).
Owners are often proud of achieving prodigious mileages with one well documented 1966 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).
olvo 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.
''Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety'', Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson 1927.
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 ÖV 4. 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.