Volvo was founded in 1927 in Gothenburg, Sweden as a subsidiary company of SKF (Svenska Kullagerfabriken). The managing director was Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson was the technical director. From the beginning, the company focused on the people who would be driving their cars which meant a focus on quality and safety.
Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety
— Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson 1927
The first Volvo car was manufactured on April 14, 1927. The model was the OV4 and was nicknamed ‘Jakob’. They then produced both closed top and cabriolet models of the OV4 which were designed to hold up better in the harsh climate Swedish climate. The OV4 was produced until 1929 when the six-cylinder PV651 model was introduced. Production began to ramp up and by 1932 Volvo had produced 10,000 vehicles.
Volvo began work on producing a less expensive car that would be more affordable for the average person. This led to the PV51 model in 1936. Sweden was neutral during World War II so Volvo continued producing vehicles. However, production dropped sharply during the war dropping to a low of 99 vehicles in 1942. The PV444, released in 1944, was one of the most important vehicles in the company’s history. The PV444 was a smaller car that was an immediate success. It’s production ran until 1966 and was the car that allowed them to have a presence in the US auto market.
Volvo continued to grow over the years and they eventually sold Volvo cars to Ford in 1999. In 2010 Geely Holding Group (a Chinese automobile manufacturing company) acquired Volvo from Ford.