Volvo, short for Volvo Car Corporation, is a Swedish automaker that builds a variety of cars, SUVs, sedans, and wagon. Volvo AB, its sister company, manufacturers and commercial vehicles, such as buses, construction equipment, and trucks. The company also produces industrial and marine drive systems and aerospace components, in addition to providing financial services. Volvo competes with such companies as Daimler, GM, and Volkswagen.
The founding date of the Volvo company can be argued. Some count from 1915, when Volvo became an AB SKF subsidiary, but the company itself argues it was truly founded when its first car made an appearance in April 1927. This car was named the "Jakob" affectionately, or the Volvo ?V 4 series officially. Volvo's name was first registered in 1911, when it became an isolated company within the SKF AB group. In Latin, "volvere" means, to roll, (ball bearings), and the shortened "Volvo" means I roll. Volvo was first established to create a new kind of ball bearing, but the idea died shortly thereafter, and SNF became the trademark for all the company's ball-bearing products.
By 1924, the ball bearings idea was beginning to wear on Gustav Larson (an engineer) and Assar Gabrielsson (an SKF Sales Manager), the two founders of Volvo. The men decided then wanted to begin constructing a car. Specifically, they wanted to build a car that could handle the cold temperatures and rough roads filtering through Sweden. Since this point in time, Volvo products have been tough and durable.
The men wouldn't start building prototypes until 1926, but this year they built a whopping ten of them, and AB Volvo was asked to carry on the car-manufacturing process as a part of the SKF group. The next year, in 1927, the "Jakob" appeared in 280 units. With the next year came the production of Volvo's original truck, the "Series 1," which became an instant success and drew attention to Volvo on an International level. By two years later (1930), Volvo was selling quite a few more cars than its first year, 639, to be precise. Soon after, Volvo trucks started being exported to Europe, but Volvo cars weren't popular outside of Sweden until the conclusion of WWII. In 1929, the Volvo U-21 engine was introduced, and it was produced until 1962. Marine engines continue to be a large part of the company's success today. Volvo's first bus, the Volvo B1, premiered by 1934, and aircraft engines joined the company's marine engines in the early '40s.
Some of the most popular Volvo vehicles ever assembled include: the 1970s Volvo 164 E (which featured electronic fuel injection and produced 175 horsepower), the 1991 Volvo 850 GLT (which has exceeded forty International award for its design), and the Volvo 240 (which was used by the NHTSA to showcase how safe all other vehicles should be. Currently available are the 2012 Volvo C30, the S60, the S80 (all sedans), the Volvo XC60, the XC70, and the XC90 (all luxury SUVs). In 1999, the Ford Motor Company acquired Volvo Cars, for $6.45 billion. Ford then decided to sell Volvo for $1.8 billion to Geely Holding Group.