Where it all began; key models; key innovations
28 March 2010

The first Volvo car left the factory in Gothenburg, Sweden on 14 April, 1927.

Volvo is Latin for "I roll", and the company was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson as a spin-off from ball-bearing manufacturer SKF. The logo is a Swedish symbol for iron attached to a diagonal piece if metal on the front grille.

Initially Volvo produced closed top and cabriolet versions of its four-cylinder OV4 and PV4 Jakob models, which sold well as they were constructed to better withstand the harsh Swedish climate than US imports.

In 1929 a six-cylinder PV651 model was introduced. Its success helped the company raise funds to buy its engine supplier and its first factory.

The PV 51, a cheaper model, was introduced in 1936, similar to the more expensive PV36 in design, but smaller in size and less well equipped.

Towards the end of the Second World War the PV444 was introduced. It was an instant success, and joined by successes including the 120/Amazon gained Volvo a market in the USA.

In 1959 the Amazon and PV544 were equipped with three-point safety belts – a world first.

Volvo’s first sports car was the P1800, unveiled in 1960, and found fame in The Saint TV series with Roger Moore behind the wheel.

Cementing Volvo's position in the family market, in 1964 it launched the Volvo 140, firstly as a saloon and later as an estate.

Other innovations in safety and environmental care were also standout features of the company. These included crumple zones, rear facing child seats, collapsible steering columns, side collision protection and the three-way catalytic converter.

The Volvo 240 and smaller Volvo 340 were highlights of the 1970s, while in 1982 the Volvo 700 moved the brand upmarket, a reputation which grew with cars such as the 340, which wa slaunched at the end of the decade.

In mid 1991 the Volvo 850 was launched. It was Volvo’s first front wheel drive executive car, with a transverse, five-cylinder engine.

A proposed merger with Renault fell through in its final stages in 1993 leaving Volvo as one of the few remaining independent car manufacturers. Key products in the 1990s were the S40, V40, S80 and V80 and C70 coupe and convertible.

Ford bought Volvo in 1999, but profits were always moderate, and the company had slipped into debt in every year since 2005.

Join the debate

Comments
4

28 March 2010

[quote Autocar]A proposed merger with Renault fell through in its final stages in 1993 leaving Volvo as one of the few remaining independent car manufacturers. Key products at this time were the S40, V40, S80 and V80 and C70 coupe and convertible.[/quote]

The S40/V40 didn't arrive until 1996, the S80 didn't come till the end of 1998, the V80 never existed and the C70 Coupe/Convertible weren't launched until late '97/98.

Who writes this stuff??

28 March 2010

[quote Volvophile]

[quote Autocar]A proposed merger with Renault fell through in its final stages in 1993 leaving Volvo as one of the few remaining independent car manufacturers. Key products at this time were the S40, V40, S80 and V80 and C70 coupe and convertible.[/quote]

The S40/V40 didn't arrive until 1996, the S80 didn't come till the end of 1998, the V80 never existed and the C70 Coupe/Convertible weren't launched until late '97/98.

Who writes this stuff??

[/quote] I don't think the article actually says the year the S40 and V50 arrived, but it wasn't 1996 as you say. It was 1995.

28 March 2010

Liked the P1800, but love this interpretation of the Amazon..

and this one..

28 March 2010

[quote Dan McNeil v2][quote Volvophile]

[quote Autocar]A proposed merger with Renault fell through in its final stages in 1993 leaving Volvo as one of the few remaining independent car manufacturers. Key products at this time were the S40, V40, S80 and V80 and C70 coupe and convertible.[/quote]

The S40/V40 didn't arrive until 1996, the S80 didn't come till the end of 1998, the V80 never existed and the C70 Coupe/Convertible weren't launched until late '97/98.

Who writes this stuff??

[/quote] I don't think the article actually says the year the S40 and V50 arrived, but it wasn't 1996 as you say. It was 1995.[/quote]

The cars didn't officially arrive until 1996. The V50 though was the V40's successor, and that arrived in 2004.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen Golf MHEV
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    VW's 48V mild hybrid technology is still a few years away from production, but we’ve sampled a prototype Golf fitted with it and are suitably impressed
  • Jeep Compass
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    Jeep enters the competitive compact SUV market with its new Compass, blending ruggedness with contemporary styling and tech
  • BMW 1 Series Saloon
    We had a short drive in a China-only front-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    A brief drive in a China-only front-wheel-drive model shows the future is bright for the 1 Series when it makes the switch from RWD next year
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?
  • Toyota Prius PHEV
    First Drive
    23 November 2017
    Does running a plug-in hybrid really make sense as a 500-mile-a-week driver? Six months with a Toyota Prius Plug-in should give a conclusive answer