Volvo is a Swedish automaker that produces vehicles such as the Volvo S40 and the Volvo XC70 sport wagon. Volvo was acquired by Ford, however Volvo seems currently safe from the recent round of sell-offs happening at Ford (see Land Rover and Jaguar). Volvo's hallmark is safety, and the company goes to great lengths to ensure their vehicles are some of the safest on the road. The line of used Volvo cars includes the C30, S40, S60, V70, XC60, and XC90.
Volvo - Latin for "I Roll" - was founded in 1927 in Gothenburg, Sweden, by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson. Their first car was the 1944-cc Jakob, which was in full production by 1927. The mission of Gabrielsson and Larsson was to build a car constructed to withstand the harsh Scandinavian climate better than the imports from the US and the rest of Europe. Their concept was a success, and by 1932 the Volvo company hit the 10,000 car mark, and had a production capacity of almost 1,000 units per year. While production slowed during World War II, Volvo was one of the few automakers capable of continued consumer automobile production during this time. This was due to Sweden's neutral stance through the conflict.
By the mid-1960's, Volvo had manufacturing capacity of 200,000 cars per year, and by the end of the 1970's over 4 million Volvo's would have been sold since the company's inception. Volvo started a move upmarket in the early 1980's, with several new luxury models being launched that decade. By the late 1990's and early 2000's, Volvo was competing with other European luxury car makers, such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Volvo almost came to a merger agreement with Renault early in the 1990's, however the deal did not come to fruition. Instead, the Volvo cars division was purchased by Ford Motor Company in 1999. The Volvo Group retained ownership of the heavy truck and other businesses under the Volvo name.
Volvo Safety Center
Safety has always been one of the company's primary concerns, and many Volvo vehicles are sold based on a reputation for safe travel. Volvo has pioneered several safety features, including the use of three-point seatbelts in 1959. With its commitment to safety, Volvo recently launched a new $81 million crash safety laboratory located in Goteborg, Sweden. The laboratory is one of the world's most advanced safety testing facilities int he world, and is capable of modeling nearly every aspect of an automobile collision in both physical and virtual computer-simulated environments. The safety center holds several unique features, including multiple testing tracks, a 850-ton multi-positional crash barrier, and a pedestrian rig able to measure and study car vs. pedestrian accidents.