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Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson founded Volvo in 1924, allegedly after a conversation over crayfish. Their first car, the Jakob, went into production by 1927.
History of Volvo
Gabrielsson, who was born in 1891, studied economics and worked as a sales manager for the Swedish bearing company SKF. From 1911 to 1913, he worked for Larsson, who was four years his senior, at the White & Poppe car company in Coventry, England, before joining SKF in 1917. He left in 1920 to work as a technical manager at AB Galco, where he later collaborated with Gabrielsson.
Their intention was to create a machine that would be more suited to the Scandinavian climate than those imported from the United States, using only high-quality Swedish steel and custom components. Gabrielsson provided funding for the completion of ten prototypes, with bodywork by Swedish artist Helmer Mas-Olle.
The engines were built by Pentaverken’s marine engineers, and SKF was so impressed that it funded the production of thousands more vehicles. Their assembly took place at the Lundby plant, which is located near Gothenburg. SKF also permitted partners to use one of their trademarked names, AB Volvo, which is derived from the Latin phrase for “I roll.”
The company planned to build 500 convertibles and 500 sedans, but only 205 were convertibles and 721 were PV4 sedans.
In 1929, the company began installing the first 3-liter 6-cylinder engines in its cars, which were a huge success and remained on the market until 1937. The volume was then increased to 3.2 and 3.6 liters, and the models were given a longer wheelbase. In 1936, the PV36 resembled the Chrysler Airflow.
Production of trucks
Simultaneously, Volvo began producing trucks with a carrying capacity of 1.5 tonnes during this time period. Since 1928, there has also been a TR taxi model based on the PV4. Trucks were not in high demand in comparison to cars until World War II.
By 1932, the company was already profitable, with total production exceeding 900 cars per year, though demand weakened slightly in the mid-1930s due to a variety of economic factors. In 1935, SKF sold its controlling stake, and the company was taken over by Pentaverken.
Due to Sweden’s neutrality, the company was able to continue producing cars during WWII, though its volume dropped from 2834 units in 1939 to 99 units in 1942. The 50,000th Volvo vehicle was a truck manufactured in 1941.
Post-war period Situation
The stylish PV444, which was conceived in 1942 and differed from the previous ones with independent front suspension and rear springs, was the first post-war Volvo. This proved to be an important aspect of the Swedish brand’s development.
Passenger car sales surpassed truck sales once more, forcing the campaign to invest in a plant expansion. This resulted in the introduction of the new PV444, as well as new light trucks and vans. Some models, such as the PV544, which was produced until 1965, and the PV210 station wagon, were produced in quantities of 500,000 units (until 1969).
Volvo invented the 3-point seat belt in 1958, which increased the brand’s popularity even further because it was regarded as the most important safety feature at the time.
Volvo’s success continued to grow after a successful and rapid post-war development, and the company released new models one after the other. By 1983, the company’s production volume had risen to 5 million vehicles, including the new 760 series, which had debuted in the market in 1982.
These boxy cars were powered by Volkswagen’s 2.8-liter V6 diesel or the 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that has also been under the hood of the wagon variant since 1985.
Way to new heights
Throughout the 1980s, Volvo introduced a number of new models, including the hugely popular 240, 740, 760, 940, and 960. (later S90). By the standards of the time, these cars were extremely luxurious.
The range had grown by the end of the 1990s. Some vehicles were outfitted with cutting-edge technologies, such as an all-wheel-drive system. Each subsequent model of the brand introduced something new and was unquestionably successful.
One of these was the S80, whose global sales have been nothing short of astounding. It was the first model that could compete with the likes of BMW and Mercedes.
Ford purchased the nonsense in 1999. At the moment, the company is successfully developing new safety technologies, with the goal of producing the world’s safest cars. It also demonstrates success in the electric and hybrid vehicle segments.