Volvo, Latin for “I roll,” was born on April 14th, 1927 when the first car, Jakob, left the factory in Gothenburg, Sweden.


Founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson, the company was built on two pillars of equal importance: quality and safety. They sealed the agreement in August 1924 at the Sturehof restaurant in Stockholm, effectively launching the Volvo brand. The same principles that guided them then still guide the creation of Volvo vehicles today.

“Cars are driven by people. Therefore the guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo is – and must remain – safety. “

Volvo OV4

Volvo’s History in Cars

Initially, Volvo produced both closed-top and cabriolet models of their new four-cylinder ÖV4 – Jakob and PV4 models which were constructed to better withstand the harsh Swedish climate than their contemporary US imports.  Both carried the Swedish symbol for iron attached to a diagonal piece of metal on the front grille – another aspect of Volvo’s heritage that can still be seen on today’s models.

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 was an instant success. The PV444 and the PV544 (World’s First car with a 3-point Safety belt) would dominate Volvo production through to the mid 1960’s and be the first models to gain Volvo a slice of the important US market during the 1950’s.

The man responsible for the PV444, Helmer Petterson, would, later in the 1950’s, be the man behind a new project: the P1800 – Volvo’s first sports car. The P1800 had a new engine with a higher compression ratio which was matched with a new and more robust manual gearbox, making the P1800 even faster – and the first real sport car in Volvo’s history. 

In 1974, Volvo began production on the 200 series, and soon the 240 was born. It was primarily known as being slow, unassuming, boxy, and (above all) safe. The 240 series was equipped with new safety and mechanical improvements and, through the 1970’s and 1980’s, set the world’s standards for both safety and environmental responsibility. The Volvo 240 was Volvo’s best-selling car from 1975 until 1982; even to this day when many people think “Volvo,” it  conjures an image of the 240 – to the Volvo faithful, the classic “brick.”

In 1992 the Volvo 850 was introduced worldwide but it didn’t arrive in the United States until 1993. The Volvo 850 was launched with the slogan “A dynamic car with four world-beating breakthroughs.” They were a transverse 5-cylinder engine driving the front wheels, a Delta-link rear axle, the SIPS integrated side-impact protection system, and the self-adjusting front seat belt mechanism. It was also the first Volvo model in North America to feature front-wheel drive.


“For Volvo, the focus is always on the human being. This principle has been close to the company’s heart ever since it was founded. Its ultimate goal is to provide the best possible safety for anyone who drives a Volvo or is around a Volvo. Today we call this concept “Designed Around You”. The focus is on the human being rather than the vehicle or the technology. We align the design of our vehicles according to the driver’s behavior, driving enjoyment and maximum possible well-being. We want to make people’s lives less complicated while at the same time staying one step ahead of the competition with our commitment to safety and the environment. And we are doing this for you with style – we use only genuine materials and stand for an independent, distinct Scandinavian design.”

This year the launch of something small – but powerful – took place. The new four-cylinder Drive-E engine, available in the 2015 S60 Sports Sedan, XC60 SUV, XC70 AWD Wagon and S80 Luxury Sedan, gives all four cars a “Best in Class” leadership in both fuel efficiency and emissions. This new Drive-E engine is so powerful it will change the way people think about engines, ending the decades-old assumption that more cylinders equals more power. This advancement maintains the promise of Volvo’s key value, environmental friendliness. These four cars represent an evolution in Volvo’s long dedication to protecting consumers on the road. Advanced IntelliSafe Technology includes features like City Safety and Pedestrian & Cyclist Detection, making the new vehicles safer than ever before.

The Future

The concept cars Coupe, XC Coupe and Estate are the most recent design explorations of Volvo, developed by Thomas Ingenlath, Volvo’s Head of Design. Naturally all three cars showcase the new generation 4-cylinder engines, delivering an exhilarating driving experience along with great fuel economy and emissions.


Concept Coupe - “It merges contemporary Scandinavian lifestyle and design with iconic elements from Volvo’s 1960s era. The result is a confident sports car, characterized by daring proportions, a new face and an interior brimming with exquisite craftsmanship and innovative technology.”

Concept XC coupe

Concept XC Coupe – “We wanted to create a tool that safely enables you to go wherever you want to go – to the countryside, the ski slopes or the beach – and makes sure you always arrive in style.

Concept estate

Concept Estate – “The third and final concept car is a tribute to creativity and an embodiment of Scandinavian luxury. The silhouette is a powerful display of bold proportions, full of grace and confidence.”

Later this year North America will be able to experience these explorations first hand in the much anticipated all new XC90, the next generation 7-passenger   SUV, which inspired these three concept cars. 

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