Press Releases

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 25 July, the day known in the Swedish calendar as Jakob.
  • 1927 Volvo was born on 14 April. 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 PV 444 - was presented at the famous 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 presented. It heralded the start of Volvo's family car orientation, even if the Duett was perhaps more suitable for craftsmen.
  • 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.
  • 1956 The P 1200 Amazon amazed the world. It had a very definitely female shape and became even more popular than the PV had ever been.
  • 1958 Gunnar Andersson, the European rally champion, in his PV 544. This was followed by many championship victories, by female and male drivers alike. 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 series-manufactured car. The belt and its inventor Nils Bohlin have received many fine awards. Million of lives have been saved as a result of the safety belt.
  • 1966 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 also took the lead when it came to child safety in cars. No other car maker has focused so heavily on protecting children.
  • 1974 Modern and even safer than the 140 Series - the Volvo 240 was presented. 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 - the Volvo 343, which, with its unique transmission, came to be called "Rem-Johan" (Belt-Johan). Initially, it 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.
  • 1982 The Volvo 760 was a world success and saw the reversal of a trend that had resulted in many difficult years for the company. It was soon followed by less exclusive 740 models, which quickly inundated Sweden and other countries.
  • 1985 The Volvo 480 ES from the Netherlands - a beautiful sports coupé and the first Volvo with front-wheel drive. It was followed in 1988 by the Volvo 440 and, somewhat later still, by the Volvo 460 Sedan.
  • 1990 The Volvo 960 and 940. The Volvo 960 had an aluminum six-cylinder engine developing no less than 240 bhp from the new engine plant in Skövde and it quickly took up the battle against luxury rivals primarily from Germany. The Volvo 940 became the people's car, just like the 740 and 240 before it.
  • 1991 When the economic crisis hit the world, Volvo's best and safest car ever, the Volvo 850, was introduced. It was an enormous success! With SIPS and other important world firsts, Volvo showed the world what a true side impact protection system looked like.
  • 1994 The Volvo 960 in an entirely new version - Volvo's must luxurious car ever.
  • 1995 The Volvo S40 and V40 - challenging newcomers from the Volvo plant in Born.
  • 1996 The Volvo C70 Coupe was presented to an overwhelmed audience. The Uddevalla Plant, jointly owned with Tom Walkinshaw Racing, built the coupe, followed shortly afterwards by the Volvo C70 Cab.
  • 1997 The Volvo V70 Cross Country was introduced.
  • 1998 The Volvo S80 - the first car on Volvo's large platform - was a marvel of safety, comfort and innovation. With an output of as much as 272 bhp! Plus the IC - Inflatable Curtain - and WHIPS - whiplash seats - as world firsts in safety.
  • 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.
  • 2000 The third model on the large platform made its entrance - the sporty Volvo S60, which is particularly popular on the U.S. market.
  • 2002 The Volvo XC90 - an eagerly-awaited SUV - was presented in Detroit.
Special Interests
Descriptions and facts in this press material relate to Volvo Cars' international car range. Described features might be optional. Vehicle specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.