Volvo is one of the most recognizable names in the automotive industry. The Gothenburg, Sweeden-based company’s vehicles have passed through some hands over the years; it sold its car division to the Ford Motor Company in 1999; Ford, in turn, sold its sale to Volvo Cars to the Chinese motor manufacturer Geely Automobile in 2010. Despite these transactions, Volvo has been able to retain a sturdy reputation for producing cars that are sleek, sturdy, and above all else, safe.
The roots of Volvo as a proper company can be traced back to 1915, when it was launched as a subsidiary of the Swedish ball bearing manufacturer AB SKF. However, its history as a car company goes back to 1927, when its first car rolled off the assembly line in Gothenburg. The company’s first truck, dubbed the Series 1, came along the following year. From the very beginning, the idea of building a Swedish car was linked to the notion that the car had to be tough enough to withstand the treachery of Sweden’s roads and unforgiving temperatures. This vision correlates with the company’s tendency to put a premium on the importance of creating safe vehicles.
Volvo was essentially known to just the Swedish market until after World War II. As the company’s name grew, so did the company’s operation; in 1963, the company opened its first assembly plant in Halifax, Canada, the first such plant outside of Sweden.
When Volvo sold its car division to Ford, the later placed the vehicles within its Premier Automotive Group division, where it took up residence with the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin. However, Volvo was not completely sellers in the automotive industry; it purchased Renault Vehicules Industries in 2001; a purchase that gave the company the rights to Mack Trucks. Volvo also acquired 13% of the shares in the Japanese company formerly known as Nissan Diesel in 2006. By 2007, it had assumed complete ownership.
Volvo’s current flagship model is its S80 model. It is a mid-size luxury sedan that continues Volvo’s longstanding tradition of creating a safe environment. Its front-drive model derives its power from a 240-hp inline-six, while the all-wheel drive T6 utilizes a turbocharger to boost the power to 300 hp. In both cases, the car uses a six-speed transmission.
The S80s come with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, power-adjustable seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The car’s safety features include front and rear park assist, a rearview camera, a blind spot warning system, and a collision warning system.
Volvo currently designates its car names by a system of letters that correlate with the vehicle’s body style, followed by the series number. S stands for sedan or car, C stands for either coupe or convertible, and V stands for versatile, which is essentially code for station wagon. Additionally, Volvo has a special designation, XC, that is designated as cross country.
The cars that are designated in the S category include the S60 and S80. The cars that are designated in the V series include the V40, V60, and V70. The cars that fall into the XC series include the XC60, XC70, and XC90. It should be noted that these model names do not necessarily correlate to the size of the vehicle. For example, the V40 is considered to be a small car, while the V60 and V70 is considered to be large cars.
The very first car built by Volvo was the Volvo OV 4, also known as Jakob. The Volvo 760 was launched in 1982 in the United States as a means to get involved into the luxury market, and eventually got good reviews after getting initially criticized before it ceased production in 1990. The Volvo 66 hit the market in 1975, but the compact car never captured the imaginations of the typical Volvo audience. It disappeared from production in 1980, and there are only a handful of cars that are left and operational.
Volvo made the three-point safety belt standard in their cars in 1959, well before the industry followed suit with their own standards. And while the company’s track record for safety is well-known, its ball-bearing roots are considerably less known despite the fact that the company offers a rather sizeable clue in its name. Volvo means “I roll” in Latin, which in turn is conjugated from the word “volvere;” the name is in reference to the company’s original business of ball bearings. The name Volvo was actually registered in 1911, about 16 years before the first model rolled off the assembly line. When the company trademarked the name, it was done so with the notion that the name would be representative of a special series of ball bearing that they were working on.