Volvo Through The Years
Volvo was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden, back in 1927 by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson. The company placed a strong emphasis on safety from the very beginning, and consequently, Volvos have earned a well-deserved and longstanding reputation as being among the safest cars on the road.
The first car the company produced was known as the Jakob. In 1929, Volvo went on to introduce the PV651, a six-cylinder model. However, it wasn't until the post-war era that Volvo enjoyed a major success with its popular PV444. During the 1950s, Volvo further enhanced its reputation for safety, introducing innovations such as the 3-point seatbelt. In the 1960s, Volvo launched the sleek P1800 sports car, which became a favorite among the younger generation in Europe and England at the time.
Volvo in America
Volvo began exporting cars to the United States in the 1950s, beginning with the distinctive looking PV444. Volvo grew its brand steadily in the U.S. over the next two decades. Models like the P1800 sport coupe made their way stateside; however, it was during the late 1970s when Volvo wagons, with their reasonably good gas mileage and enhanced safety features, began to catch on with progressive minded families throughout North America.
In the 1980s, Volvos were adapted by droves of young urban professionals or "yuppies" as they were known at the time. Volvo responded by issuing its first turbocharged model and even an Italian-designed sport coupe.
Volvos remained very popular with American drivers throughout the 1990s. The mid-range 900 series was issued from 1990 through 1998, and included sedans and wagons alike. However, as the 21st century approached, Volvo began to streamline its designs, moving away from the safe, practical but rather boxy vehicles it was mostly known for. The 900 series also marked the last of the rear-wheel drive vehicles produced by Volvo.
As the new Millennium approached, Volvo offered an increasingly diverse array of vehicles to American drivers. The safe, practical sedans and wagons were still available; however, they were joined by a line of SUVs, sport coupes and even compact executive cars.
Volvo was acquired by Ford in 1998. However, like many American automakers, Ford ran into severe financial problems during the dark days of 2008 and 2009, and in 2010, the American auto giant was forced to sell Volvo to Chinese automaker, Geely.
Wagons were a key aspect of how the Volvo brand established itself with American drivers. The current incarnation of the Volvo wagon is the V70. Like many Volvo wagons before it, the V70 is a safe, practical midsize with ample interior space. However, as with many new model Volvos, the V70 has been spiffed up with sportier lines and a more stylish overall design.
More compact but less practical than the V70 is the compact V50. Dubbed a sport wagon by Volvo, the V50 offers a compact station wagon design on a smaller framework powered by a 5-cylinder engine.
Volvo has been relatively savvy in cashing in on the popularity of the SUVs in recent years. Currently Volvo offers several SUV models in its lineup of vehicles including the Premium XC60 and the midsize, 7-passenger XC-90. While the XC-70 is technically a more rugged version of the Volvo V70 station wagon, it also has many SUV-like features including increased ground clearance and all-wheel drive.
Few models have done more to dispel Volvo's image as a producer of boxy, boring practical sedans than the C70 convertible coupe. Originally issued as a soft-top convertible, the latest edition of the performance-minded C70 comes as a retractable hard top.
The Volvo C30 is a compact family car with a hatchback body design. When it was initially introduced in 2007, the C30 was viewed as a departure from Volvo's usual line of boxy sedans and wagons. However, putting the luxury of a Swedish-made Volvo in a smaller, more economical package piqued the interest of drivers and the car remains in production today.
Volvo Products and Technologies
Volvo's standing in the automotive world for producing safe, practical cars could be regarded as second to none. The company helped to pioneer many of the safety features and innovations we now take for granted. And while Volvos have long been regarded as a solid, respectable luxury brand, the brand has earned major points for adding style and performance to their lineup of vehicle offerings in recent years.