Volvo celebrates 90th birthday with the production of the new Volvo XC60
Iconic Swedish carmaker Volvo celebrates its birthday today, with the first car, the Volvo OV4, rolling off its production line in Sweden, on the 14th of April 1927.
Volvo was the brainchild of Assar Gabrielsson, a sales executive at SKF, a ball bearing company and, after analysing the automotive industries in the United States and Europe, identified the potential to make cars in Sweden.
After all, Sweden had access to cheap steel, cheap labour and skilled engineers. Gabrielsson pleaded with senior management at SKF and the company established their car making subsidiary, AB Volvo.
The OV4 was very rugged and quite American in its design, and was built upon a wooden frame made of ash tree and beech, the engine was a 1.9 litre unit with side valves and the car rode on artillery wheels with wooden spokes.
Volvo has reinvented itself from the conservative car maker known for its boxy and slightly unusual cars to a manufacturer that serves up Swedish sexiness and cars that rival the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Jaguar.
AB Volvo was originally part of a larger conglomerate that made trucks, buses and construction equipment and even jet engines. In 1999, Volvo Group sold off the car division to Ford to focus on other activities. During the Global Financial Crisis in 2010, Ford sold off Volvo to Chinese Geely Holding.
While each owning business has left their own mark on Volvo Car, Volvo Car’s main objective has remained the same – to make the safest cars in the world.
Exactly one month from today, the new Volvo XC60 will trundle off the production line in Torslanda, Sweden.
The first generation Volvo XC60 was produced at their factory in Ghent, Belgium and was a huge success for the brand, with the mid-size SUV accounting for around 30 per cent of Volvo Car’s international sales.
The new Volvo XC60 will heighten safety standards even further, with all-new technology such as Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which prevents the car from colliding with traffic traveling in the opposite direction and Pilot Assist, an optional feature which can essentially take over the acceleration, steering and braking on well-marked roads up to 130km/h.
“Volvo is very proud of its history. The past 90 years have been exciting, but the 10 years left until the 100 year anniversary may come to be more exciting as industry focus shifts to autonomous driving, electrification and connectivity,” says Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. “The new XC60 is in many ways the embodiment of these trends.”