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Volvo Cars milestones 1927-2002




  • 1924 The decision to start Volvo was made by Gabrielsson and Larson over a plate of crayfish at the Sturehof Restaurant in Stockholm on July 25, the day known in the Swedish calendar as Jakob.
  • 1927 Volvo was born on April 14. After a night of "labor pains," sales manager Hilmer Johansson was able to drive Volvo's first-born through the factory gates.
  • 1930 Volvo started a customer magazine - Ratten. It is now the oldest magazine of its kind in Sweden and is more full of life than ever.
  • 1944 Volvo's first popular car - the PV444 - was presented to the world at the Volvo exhibition at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm. The PV60 was also presented, together with the first diesel bus and many other new products and features.
  • 1953 Volvo's first true wagon - the Duett - was introduced. It heralded the start of Volvo's family car orientation, even if the Duett was perhaps more suitable for tradesmen.
  • 1954 Volvo's unique five-year car warranty was introduced and triggered a battle with the established insurance companies. Volvo emerged victorious in 1959, when it set up its own insurance company, Försäkrings AB Volvia.
  • 1955 Exports to the U.S. began. This saw the start of Volvo's real growth worldwide. The U.S. soon became Volvo's largest market. Canadian sales began in 1958.
  • 1956 The P120 Amazon amazed the world. It had a very decidedly female shape and became even more popular than the PV had ever been.
  • 1958 Gunnar Andersson became the European rally champion in his PV544. This was followed by many more championship victories. In 1965, Volvo won the world rally championship.
  • 1959 Volvo became the first company in the world to make a three-point safety belt standard in a production car. The belt and its inventor, Nils Bohlin, have received many awards. Millions of lives have been saved as a result of the three-point safety belt.
  • 1966 Described as the "world's safest car," the Volvo 144 was launched and was named "Car of the Year" in the Nordic countries.
  • 1967 The first rear-facing child seat was introduced, and Volvo took the lead when it came to child safety in cars. No other car-maker has focused so heavily on protecting children.
  • 1974 Safe and modern, the Volvo 240 was introduced in Europe. It stayed on the market until 1993 and, during this period, 2.8 million Volvo 240s were produced.
  • 1976 An important new product from the Netherlands made its debut: the Volvo 343 which, with its unique transmission, came to be called "Rem-Johan" (Belt-Johan). Initially, the drive system was a problem but the teething trouble was sorted out and it eventually became very popular.
  • 1976 Volvo was the first car-maker in the world to have a catalytic converter and Lambda sensor for exhaust emission control.
  • 1982 The Volvo 760 was an international success and reversed a trend that had resulted in many difficult years for the company. The 760 was soon followed by 740 models, which quickly gained popularity in Sweden and other countries.
  • 1985 The Volvo 480 ES was built in the Netherlands. A beautiful sports coupe, it was the first Volvo with front-wheel-drive. It was followed in 1988 by the Volvo 440 and, later, by the Volvo 460.
  • 1990 The Volvo 960 and 940 were introduced. The Volvo 960 had an aluminum six-cylinder engine developing 240 bhp, built in the new engine plant in Skövde. The 960 quickly took up the battle against luxury rivals, primarily from Germany. The Volvo 940 became the people's car, like the 740 and 240 before it.
  • 1991 The Volvo 850 was introduced in the midst of a global economic crisis - and it was an enormous success! With the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) and other important safety innovations, Volvo showed the world what a true side impact protection system looked like.
  • 1994 The Volvo 960 arrived in an entirely new version - Volvo's most luxurious car ever.
  • 1995 The Volvo S40 and V40 -- challenging newcomers from the Volvo plant in the Netherlands - made their debut in Europe. They would influence the styling of all of the Volvo models that followed.
  • 1996 The exotic Volvo C70 Coupe was presented to a surprised and delighted automotive world. Volvo styling had changed. The Uddevalla plant in Sweden, jointly owned with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, built the coupe, followed shortly afterwards by the Volvo C70 Cabriolet.
  • 1997 The Volvo V70 Cross Country was introduced.
  • 1998 The Volvo S80 - the first car on Volvo's new large platform - was a marvel of safety, comfort and innovation. Safety innovations such as the Inflatable Curtain (IC) and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) were world firsts.
  • 1999 Volvo Cars was acquired by the Ford Motor Company.
  • 2000 The second generation of the Volvo V70 - entirely new and built on the large platform - was an immediate success. The new Volvo Cross Country was introduced at the same time and was immediately popular in North America.
  • 2000 The third model on the large platform made its entrance - the sporty Volvo S60. The stylish new sedan is particularly popular in the North American market.
  • 2002 The Volvo XC90 - an eagerly-awaited SUV - was presented to the world at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.





Lisa Graham

Volvo Cars of Canada Ltd.



Doug Mepham

MacDonald & Co.


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