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The automobile manufacturer Volvo was founded in 1927 by Gustaf Larson and Assar Gabrielsson in Sweden. As sales manager and engineers, they took the designation Volvo, which comes from Latin and stands for "I roll", from their previous employer Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB, who had not used the name anymore since 1919.
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The initiative of the two car enthusiasts preceded the founding. Already in 1924 the construction of the first car Volvo ÖV4, also called Jakob, began. The model was presented finally three years later, in 1927. The version of an open four-cylinder was completed with a closed model named PV4 in the same year. By 1958 ten more models went into series production. A milestone is the Volvo PV 36 Carioca from 1935 - this first European streamline vehicle was manufactured in only about 500 pieces due to high costs and small decrease.
The Volvo PV444 has led the company since 1947 to a worldwide breakthrough. There was no comparison with the sales figures of the previous models - the successor PV544 was even sold about 440 000 times between 1958 and 1965. Because its form reminds one of a cat’s arched back , the name “hunchvolvo” was invented. From 1955, three-point belts were also introduced.
The Volvo P120, also known as Volvo Amazon was produced from 1956 to 1970 and was a sales ramp. The mid-class car was conceived as a family car and designed in regards to safety aspects. In the Amazon, head restraints were introduced for the first time, which today are among the safety standards. High-quality braking systems were installed in all models. The bodies of Volvo promised a high standard. Already in the seventies the manufacturer researched environmentally friendly and electric car models. In 1976, a Lambda Sun catalyst was introduced into the 240 and 260 models.
The sports car Volvo P1800 became known to a larger audience in the first season of "Simon Templar" with Roger Moore. Ten years later the successor, the Sport-Kombi P1800ES became famous because of its shade under the nickname "Snow White’s casket”.
The Volvo C303 Cross Country was actually intended to be an off-road vehicle for the military, but also found as offshoots C304/306 admirers on the road.
The “Hunchvolvo”, the "Snow White’s casket”, the mid-class car Volvo 140 from 1966 and its upper class successor, the Volvo 164 from 1968 did not only receive international recognition. The models created the typical, angular and functional style of the Swedish brand.
In 1975, Volvo took over the Dutch automotive manufacturer DAF. The Volvo 66 was derived from the DAF 66, a lower mid-class car. The fully automated belt and variomatic gearbox, which Volvo took partly from the 300 series of 1976, was new. With the 300 compact model series, the models 340, 343/345 and 360 and a total amount of almost 1.4 million units were manufactured until 1991. The series 700 was even more successful from the beginning of the eighties on. In ten years of production, the upper mid-range model was produced as a sedan, estate car and coupé, selling nearly 1.5 million vehicles. In addition to the 400 series from 1986 and the 900 series from 1990 onwards, the series 200 was at the top of the popularity scale.
With more than 2.8 million models sold, the 200 series in the upper middle class between 1974 and 1993 even surpassed the 900 series, which replaced the 700 series from 1990 on. The estate car version of the 200 series was the crowd’s favourite.
With the production line of the 900 series in 1998, Volvo dismissed the angular design for which the car manufacturer became known. Already in 1996 the company changed names and introduced a new numbering system - the letters refers to the type of vehicle body and the number to the class.
The Kombi V70 and the Sedan S70 were technically based on the mid-range model Volvo 850, but have undergone a facelift in 1996. The range has been supplemented with an off-road version, the Volvo XC70. In the lower mid-range, the Volvo S40/V40 was developed in a joint venture with Mitsubishi in 1995. Its platform is identical to Mitsubishi Carisma. Current successors are the sedans S60 and S90. Volvo currently offers four estate cars and cross-country models, partly with SUV attributes, the V40, V60, V90 as well as the sedan S60. The producer of large cars started to include SUVs in the program in 2002. Still the model XC90 is available, since 2010 also with a V8 engine. The compact SUV XC 60 is also for sale.
The vehicles of Volvo showed over decades a high performance in the automobile sport. Already in 1965 the Volvo team won the safari rally with the PV544. An Amazon122S was also able to convince the audience of the brand’s capabilities by winning the same year at the Acropolis rally. In the eighties, the Volvo 240 Turbo became the world's most successful touring car.
The Volvo 850 was 1994 the first estate car, registered for a race. Recently, in 2016, Thed Björk clinched the brand's first WTCC victory.