Volvo HistorySource: Volvo
In 1927 the first series-manufactured Volvo car, the Volvo ÖV4, rolled off the production line on the island of Hisingen, Göteborg. Since then, Volvo has developed from a small local industry to one of the world's largest manufacturers of heavy trucks, buses and construction equipment, with more than 76,000 employees world wide and a presence in over 125 countries. Birth of Volvo
Was it on May 11, 1915? The day when AB Volvo submitted an application to have the trade mark 'Volvo' registered as a name for several different products.
Or was it on July 25, 1924 when Gustaf Larson and
Assar Gabrielsson met by chance over a plate of crayfish, and after enjoying their meal agreed to start up production of 'The Swedish Car'?
Or was Volvo born on the June day in 1926 when the first prototype cars left Galco's premises in Stockholm.
No, Volvo considers April 14, 1927 as being the date when the company was born. Erik Gustaf Larson
Technical director and Vice Managing Director of
AB Volvo 1926–1952
Born July 8, 1887 in Vintrosa, County of Örebro, son of
Lars Larson, farmer, and Hulda Bernhardina Magnusson.
Died July 4, 1968 in Båstad, County of Kristianstad.
Married 1918, to Elin Octavia Fröberg, born July 2, 1890.
Four children: Erik, Anders, Gunnel and Britt
1911–1916 Worked for engine manufacturer White &
Poppe, Ltd, in Coventry England.
1913–1917 Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
1917–1919 SKF, Göteborg.
1919–1920 SKF, Katrineholm.
1920–1926 AB Galco, Stockholm.
1927 Founded AB Volvo together with
1926–1952 Technical Manager and Executive Vice
President in AB Volvo.
1952–1958 Member of the Board.
1952–1968 Consultant to AB Volvo. Assar Thorvald Nathanael Gabrielsson
Bachelor of Economics, Hon Dr. of Economics
Founder of Volvo. Managing Director of AB Volvo 1926–1956 and Head of the Volvo Group. Chairman of AB Volvo 1956–1962.
Born August 13, 1891 in Korsberga, County of Skaraborg, son of Gabriel Nathanael Gabrielsson, bailiff, and Anna Helmina Larsson.
Died May 28, 1962 in the parish of Vasa, Göteborg.
Married 1916, to Anna Teresia Andersson, born December 19, 1890. Four children: Lars, Barbro, Jan and Bo.
1912–1916 Employed as stenographer in the Chancellery
of the Lower House of the Swedish
Parliament. He also helped out in his fathers
1916–1920 Employed at SKF in Göteborg.
1920–1922 Managing Director of the SKF subsidiary
1923–1926 Sales Manager at SKF in Göteborg.
1926–1956 Managing Director in AB Volvo.
1956–1962 Chairman of the board of AB Volvo. History
When production of the T-Ford was discontinued in the USA, after 15 million cars had rolled off the assembly line, two visionaries founded what was destined to become one of the world's leading manufacturers of equipment for transportation. In other words, Volvo was born. The year was 1927.
Volvo was incorporated in 1915 as a subsidiary of AB SKF, the Swedish ball bearing manufacturer. In 1924, Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, the two founders, decided to start construction of a Swedish car. The original production models were designed to withstand the rigors of Sweden's rough roads and cold temperatures. This emphasis on durability has been a feature of Volvo products ever since.
At 10 a m in the morning of April 14 this year, Sales Manager Hilmer Johansson drove the first series-manufactured Volvo car through the factory gates and the company known as Volvo was officially born.
Unlike the sales of passenger cars, sales of the first series-manufactured trucks proved to be an immediate success. By the time the vehicle was launched in 1928, a large number of customers had already placed orders and the series was completely sold out after just six months.
At this time, Germany was producing 148 different makes of vehicles, France 109 and the USA approximately 70.
- The Penta Group introduced its legendary U-21 outboard engine – an engine that remained in production, basically unchanged, until 1962.
By the beginning of 1930, the management of Volvo was finally able to relax somewhat and breath more easily. Thanks to successful truck sales, the company was now financially viable.
- The Series 3 trucks were extremely popular
- and Volvo Penta was enjoying tremendous success with its outboard engines.
The road surfaces in Sweden were generally of extremely poor quality and local authorities in many areas only allowed vehicles with low axle weights to use their roads.
- The new LV66- and LV68-series of trucks were introduced in 1931. They became quite popular, especially in the lighter version LV68/69/70 (the three different designations indicated different chassis wheelbases).
Volvo sold a total of 2,448 vehicles and the company was enjoying the benefits of an advantageous rate of foreign exchange, with the dollar trading very high in relation to the Swedish kronor.
Volvo's first export success, the LV71-74 was sold in countries all over the world.
Volvo had now delivered 10,000 vehicles and the car sector was developing at an incredible rate. A new generation of cars, with a more rounded exterior design, was introduced, but owning a car was still just a dream for the greater majority of people.
The PV654 was Volvo's first 'luxury' car.
The Volvo LV75 was introduced in the Netherlands in 1933.
The export of vehicles now reached 775.
The first bus, the B1, was presented and immediately discovered a niche on the market.
Previously, Volvo had engaged the services of a number of Swedish-American engineers to design a modern Volvo motorcar, capable of competing with leading American makes.
The result was the PV36, more popularly known as the 'Carioca'. Unfortunately, it proved very difficult to sell, but, in spite of this, the 'Carioca' went on to become something of a cult vehicle.
Volvo now had 1,115 employees on its payroll. Some of these, the salesmen, were presented with a brown, leather-bound binder - a sales manual said to have been written by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson themselves - containing among other things, the golden rules dictating how to sell a car.
Rule number one; let the customer drive the car; rule number two; let the customer drive the car; rule number three; let the customer drive the car!!!!
The longest suspension bridge in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge, was opened to traffic in San Francisco.
The annual production of cars increased to 1,804 cars – among these was the 25,000th, a PV52.
Introduced in 1937: the B41 bus and LV29 truck.
The first nylon toothbrush was manufactured in the USA.
The designers at Volvo kept a close eye on the trends and developments in the USA and were quick to copy ideas. There were plans to produce a new model with a special American touch, the PV60, but the war firmly put everything on hold.
In 1938 the product range was expanded with the B50 bus, which was built to meet the requirements of Stockholms Spårvägar (Stockholm Tramways).
At the outbreak of World War II, Volvo was an established vehicle manufacturer with a wide range of products and a sound financial background.
Outside the automotive sector, the world witnessed the first regular passenger transatlantic flights between Europe and the USA.
As the clouds of war loomed on the European horizon, Volvo transformed its production to serve the armed forces.
The Queen Elizabeth set sail on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York.
At Volvo, due to petrol rationing, the company invented a producer-gas unit, which quickly became popular.
Volvo's first terrain vehicle, the TVA, was demonstrated.
Experiments using the new drug penicillin to treat human beings had very positive results.
- During the war years Volvo's business operations underwent a period of rapid expansion.
- Volvo acquired a majority shareholding in Svenska Flygmotor, now Volvo Aero,
- and delivered its 50,000th vehicle.
Volvo continued its round of acquisitions by purchasing Köpings Mekaniska Verkstad, an engineering company that supplied gears and gearboxes.
At about this time, a group of 40 people also started work on a 'post-war motorcar'. The war was still a cruel reality for the vast majority of people all over Europe.
The first ballpoint pen, the biro, was invented by the Hungarian, Ladislaus Biro.
- The 'Roundnose' truck played a vital role in transport of supplies. A modified version of this model was introduced in 1943.
- The first of many Volvo inventions in the field of safety is said to be the introduction of the PV model in 1944. An important safety feature on that car model was the laminated glass wind-schreen.
- In September 1944, Volvo invited the general public to a major exhibition at the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm. All the current Volvo products and Volvo's full range of military vehicles were put on display. The star of the show however, was the new small car, the PV444
Peace finally returned to Europe.
- Volvo had major problems owing to the shortage of rubber and sheet metal. It was quite simply impossible to get supplies of the raw materials essential to the construction of the new PV444.
- However, interest in the car was so great that people were willing to pay twice the price, just to own one. The price at the time was a fairly modest SEK 4,800, making the PV444 the first 'people's car'.
- The Volvo B51 bus entered production in 1945.
- By this time the product range had extended to include a small agricultural tractor, which was destined to bring Volvo tremendous success in this area.
- The production of tractors, which took place alongside the car production in Göteborg, went on to expand at such a rate that it completely overshadowed the car sector.
- The new Volvo bus B53 was introduced at the end of 1946.
Research brought about many benefits. For the first time, cancer cells could be viewed through a microscope.
- In February, series production of the PV444 finally began and 20 years after its birth, Volvo was now a large company with a turnover of SEK 112 million and almost 3,000 employees.
- Volvo's new diesel truck appeared at the same time as the long-haul rig for heavy freight transport.
Things now began to happen and changed very rapidly. Following the War, the demand for all types of vehicles was huge.
- In the space of a couple of years, the number of employees just about doubled to around 6,000.
- For the first time Volvo was producing more passenger cars than any other vehicles.
- By 1948 Volvo had become a tractor manufacturer to reckon with. The large T4 model and the smaller T21/T22 sold very well.
- The 100,000th Volvo car came off the assembly line at the Lundby plant on August 25, 1949. It was a black PV 444.
- In 1949 the PV445 was introduced. It was built in many different forms, as a small truck, an estate, a van and a convertible.
- The B51 passenger bus - a compromise between the B51 and the B53 - was introduced in 1949.
- Volvo tractors had become a real success story, particularly the little T2. Introduced in 1949 was the T3, which ws bigger and heavier in all respects than the T2.
- Volvo acquired the construction equipment manufacturer, AB Bolinder-Munktell, later part of the VME Group (now Volvo Construction Equipment).
- A new material known as 'reflex' (reflector) was introduced on the Swedish market. It was designed to increase traffic safety in the darkness.
The first colour TV became available in the USA.
- Attention now focused on buses and Volvo introduced its first mid-engine bus, the B65 – another durable product from Volvo. The last of these buses was produced in 1964.
- This year Volvo introduced its BM35/BM36 and T35/T36 diesel models. The models were in an extremely popular class with engine ratings of 40-50 hp.
- Powered by a Svenska Flygmotor RM5 engine, the 32 Lansen aircraft took to the air for the first time in 1952.
- The Volvo Duett, the first mass-produced estate model, was introduced and it proved to be a bestseller right from the very beginning.
- The 'Volvo Viking', the L385 and its successor, the L485, became very popular trucks in many parts of the world.
- The last truck to be introduced by Volvo in 1954 was the TL22, a fast, light military truck for difficult terrain.
- Two developments were announced by Bolinder-Munktell, the H10 - a conventional agricultural tractor, and the VHK55 road grader.
- The 100,000th PV 444 rolled off the assembly line.
- Two optimists, the American, Leo Hirsh, and the Swede, Nils Sefeldt, decided to introduce Volvo Cars in the USA. 'Like selling refrigerators to Eskimos,' was the opinion of some.
- In Sweden, the Swedish military plane, the J35 Draken, made its maiden flight, powered by an RM6 engine from Volvo.
- 'I doff my hat as a mark of respect for all that has been achieved in the past; and roll up my sleeves to tackle the future,' were the words of Gunnar Engellau, when he assumed his post as President and CEO of AB Volvo on 13 August 1956, after having been President of Svenska Flygmotor (Volvo Aero).
- The P12/P1200 Amazon attracted considerable attention when it appeared at the beginning of 1956.
The Soviet Union took over the lead in the race to be first in space, with the launch of Sputnik I with the dog Laika as the crew.
- Volvo introduced the world's first, small, purpose-built forest machine, 'Bamse'.
- The Company now had 13, 000 employees and an annual production of over 50,000 cars.
- 1957 saw the introduction of the Volvo Chamnpionships for Mechanics, which was later to be an annual event for the whole Volvo Group. Today the competition is known as VISTA.
- Penta designed a single-cylinder, direct injection marine diesel engine.
- For the first time Volvo was able to report a turnover in excess of 1 billion Swedish kronor.
- The revolutionary 'Aquamatic' engine from Volvo Penta was introduced.
- Volvo pioneered the three-point seat belt that became standard equipment in all their passenger cars.
- The Volvo P1800 was shown for the first time in 1959.
Volvo strengthened its position in the profitable combine harvester sector even further in 1960, when it acquired its competitor, Arvika-Thermaenius.
The S1000 was now sold as a Munktell, but under the name Volvo BM.
The Russian Cosmonaut, Gagarin, became the first man in space and one year later, Astronaut John Glenn followed suit by circling the earth in his Mercury capsule.
- The 'Saint car' of James Bond fame, the P1800, made its debut, as did the Amazon, which was considered one of the safest cars in the world, being equipped with the brand new three-point seat belt.
- At the same time Volvo introduced one of its most popular and durable products, the B18 engine.
The USA now became the largest export market for Volvo. According to the statistics, Volvo ranked as number four on the list of imported cars in the USA.
- The first of many safety awards was presented to Volvo in 1962.
- The L4571 truck with a tilting cab, the first in Europe, attracted widespread attention.
This was the year when the number of employees exceeded 20,000, and the turnover was more than SEK 2 billion.
In 1963 the new tracked vehicle in a class of its own was introduced. Probably no other Swedish vehicle has ever displayed the same unique capability of operating in every type of terrain as the BV202.
- Two plants were opened, one in Torslanda, and one in Alsemberg near Brussels. Together, they guaranteed that Volvo would have sufficient car and truck manufacturing capacity to place the company in a world ranking position.
- By locating the truck production plant in Belgium, Volvo was able to penetrate the increasingly closed European market – a decisive move.
- The new L4851 Titan Tiptop proved a sensation whenit was launched in 1964. It was the first European forward-control truck.
A new diesel engine plant was opened in Skövde, Sweden. This guaranteed the level of quality and manufacturing capacity required prior to the introduction of the new generation of engines.
Also, in Ghent, Belgium, a new plant was opened, which would have an annual production capacity of 14, 000 cars and employ about 600 people.
Volvo refurbished its entire truck range at one stroke with its System 8 renewal program. With the exception of the F82 and F86 everything under the skin was new.
'Grus-Kalle', the very first hauler, was introduced. It consisted of a modified agricultural tractor and a rugged hauler trailer with one or two axles.
The Bison T800 became a classic and was produced in various models until the mid-1980s.
The foundation for a separate Volvo Bus division was laid in 1966.
Dr Christian Barnard performed the first heart transplant operation in 1967.
- Volvo presented the results of statistics from 28,700 accidents and demonstrated the value and importance of using a seat belt.
- The owners of Volvo Amazons and the new Volvo 144 were able to buy the revolutionary innovation - a rearward-facing child seat.
- The Viggen 37 fighter, which made its maiden flight in 1967, was powered by the Volvo RM8 engine.
- The 140 series was completed with the addition of the two-door 142 and the 145 estate.
- The B58 articulated bus was a success when it was introduced in Sweden.
Volvo commenced truck assembly operations in Australia and car manufacture business in Malaysia.
With the 164, Volvo added a genuine executive model to its range.
A more powerful grader was introduced in 1968, as was the landmark DR860, the three-axle, articulated hauler - one of the products mainly reponsible for the prosperityof the present Volvo Construction Equipment company.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.
- Volvo acquired the plant in Olofström, founded as early as 1735.
- And inertial-reel seat belts were fitted as standard in passenger cars.
- The Volvo Truck division was formed in early 1969.
- The forest machine, SM868, was introduced this year and became a market success the following year.
- Until mid 60's the Volvo midengined chassis was primaliry city bus chassis. The situation changed when the B58 was introduced as a tourist coach with a Van Hool body.
The very last Amazon, number 667,323, was pushed out of the plant by hand by a group of people, including the President of the Company, Gunnar Engellau.
A few months later, in the autumn, the two-millionth Volvo car rolled off the assembly line.
The F889, Volvo's most powerful truck to date, suitable as rugged semitrailer tractor or as all-wheel drive emergency fire tender for airport service.
The T650 was famous as one of the most popular Volvo tractors ever, either as red agricultrural or as yeallow industrial.
The first articulated loader of Volvo's own design, the LM845 and the light forest machine the SM463 was now introduced.
The first articulated loader of Volvo's own design, the LM845 and the light forest machine the SM463 was now introduced.
At that time, Volvo was the largest industrial concern in Sweden and he could not envisage a greater challenge. He would continue at the helm of Volvo for almost 22 years.
This period was marked by many notable business deals, some very successful, others less so. Mr Gyllenhammar was also very much involved in the actual working conditions of the employees.
Among other achievements, he invited employee representatives to join the Board and established a Group-wide Works Council.
Volvo's first rear-engined bus model, the B59, became a popular city bus.
Volkswagen set a new record for the number of cars produced in the same series; 1,007,003 vehicles.
- Volvo needed a smaller car and acquired the Dutch DAF Cars Corp.
- Pehr G Gyllenhammar formulated Volvo's very first environmental declaration.
- Volvo Experimental Safety Car (VESC) signalled Volvo's intention of developing cars with the highest possible standards of safety.
- In spring 1972 Volvo opened the Volvo Technical Centre, known as VTC.
- A extra heavy-duty model ov Volvo's road graders was introduced, the VHK510.
- New truck plant was opened in Australia. Acquisition of a truck plant in Scotland was made.
In 1973, P G Gyllenhammar announced at a press conference in New York that Volvo would become the first non-American car manufacturer to build a car manufacturing plant in the USA.
And, true to his word, a plant was built, but no cars were manufactured - the downturn in the economy in the 1970s effectively put paid to any such plans.
The 1973 N series was the new postwar generation of trucks from Volvo.
The wide range of outboards from Volvo Penta included units from 3.9 to 70 hp.
From 1973, the company Bolinder-Munktell was known as Volvo BM AB and its product as Volvo BM.
The Kalmar Plant was opened representing Mr Gyllenhammar's vision of a safe and satisfying workplace far removed from the assembly line. For the 20 years during which it served the Volvo Group, the Kalmar Plant epitomised a more 'human' factory. Despite much protest, the plant was closed in 1994.
The 240 and 260 series of passenger cars was introduced in 1974.
Production of a new series of terrain vehicles wads commenced. The C300 series was used for more than military purpuses.
An assembly plant for trucks and buses was set up i Irvine, outside Glasgow in Scotland.
The B55 double-decker became popular in Britain, Ireland and other parts of the world.
With the construction of a second truck manufacturing plant in Belgium, Volvo was now transformed into a European company with a Swedish base, instead of what it had previously been; a predominantly Swedish company with export sales.
On 3 February of this year, the three-millionth car, a blue 245, came off the line. It took 37 years to produce the first million cars, another six to produce the second, and a further five years to produce the third million.
The Volvo F4 and F6 trucks achieved great international success.
The wide range of tractors from Eskilstuna included the latest T500/T2200.
Volvo was awarded one of the most prestigious international road safety prizes, the Don Safety Trophy, in Great Britain.
The new French/British supersonic aircraft, the Concorde, was presented for the world.
The first catalytic converter with lambda sond was presented.
The 3 millionth Volvo car, a blue Volvo 245, came off the assembly line this year.
In 1976 Volvo was awarded international recognition for safety through collision and road safety tests.
Volvo Penta entered the World Championship for outboard engine boats for the first time, which was a success.
Volvo celebrated its 50th anniversary on April 14, 1977. All 62,000 employees were presented with a gift of a Swiss watch.
The introduction of the F10 and F12 was the biggest truck news so far, and a sensation as regards safety features.
A bus assembly plant was opened in Borås, Sweden.
The first of a completely new generation of wheel loaders was introduced in 1977 - the LM4300.
The Vara factory with production of engines started up in 1977.
The Board of Volvo proposed a merger between Saab-Scania and Volvo. The new company would be called Volvo Saab-Scania AB, but the proposal was not approved.
The same occurred to the plans to make a deal with the Norwegian Government, which would have resulted in Volvo being reorganised to become a joint Swedish-Norwegian company called Volvo (Swedish-Norwegian) AB.
The Volvo F7 truck was introduced this year and became one of the most popular Volvo trucks ever.
Volvo's research engineers designed a new safety assecory, a special booster cushion for children. The cusion was a success not least because it was also cheap.
The Volvo BM range of wheel loaders was completed with the addition of the compact L4200.
The B10R replaced the B59 as an ergonomic city bus.
New truck plant opened in Tuve, Sweden and a bus plant in Borås, Sweden.
Volvo Aero joined the European Ariane space project as the supplier of one of the most important rocket components, the combustor.
Volvo F7 was 'Truck of the Year'.
Two new safety features were presented, safe-type steering wheel and seat belt.
Renault acquires shareholding in Volvo.
Introduced in 1979 was the fourth generation B10M mid-engined bus.
Volvo instituted, in co-operation with prof Alf Nachemson, an international Back Ailment Research Award in 1979 for the best medicine research results in the field of back ailments.
Restructuring of Volvo BM was the start of one of the biggest restructuring programs in Swedish history.
For the very first time in history the number of cars manufactured in Japan exceeded the number manufactured in the USA, 7.0 million as opposed to 6.4 million.
A new plant for producing bus chassis and trucks was opened in Curitiba, Brazil.
The VCC - Volvo Concept Car, 'the Volvo of the 80's' was presented in spring 1980.
AB Volvo acquires Beijerinvest AB, with interests in oil trading, food industry etc.
This was a year of acquisitions, beginning with the acquisition of the White Motor Corporation in the USA and followed by the acquisition of AB Höglund & Co, in Säffle, Sweden, a company manufacturing bus bodies.
Volvo acquired Höglunds, a bodybuilding firm. This enables Volvo Bus Corporation to offer complete omnibuses and Volvo assumed full responsibility for both the chassis and the body.
Volvo's North American truck range was completed with the combination of Volvo and White products.
The world witnessed, for the very first time, an artificial heart being implanted into a human being.
- Volvo introduced the new model, the 760,which rapidly became a global success.
- From Volvo Penta came one of the greatest inventions, the duo-prop drive, a counter-rotating propeller.
- Formation of subsidiary companies, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks, Volvo Buses, Volvo Components, Volvobil, Volvo Penta and Volvo Data.
- In 1982 Volvo Trucks opened its new assembly plant in Tuve, near to Torslanda and Lundby
Under the guidance of the legendary car expert, Rolf Mellde, Volvo designers developed, the futuristic, environmental concept car, LCP.
Saloon versions of the 340 and 360 series were produced.
The Volvo F10/F12 models were largely revamped in 1983.
Volvo Buses introduced its C10M, a 'rolling-road'. This bus was the safest and most luxurious ever presented. Unfortunately, also the most expensive. Consequently, not more than one hundred CMT10s were manufactured.
Volvo won the prestigious 'Truck of the Year' title for the second time in 1984. This time for the Volvo F10 Intercooler.
Volvo Valmet in Finland introduced a more powerful tractor in the 'Nordic tractor' range, the 905.
In 1984, Volvo's employees were offered a productivity bonus system, the PBS.
Volvo this year presented a new technical feature, which many people thought was a joke: a water injection.
- When the West German Patents Board celebrated its Centenary in 1985, it selected eight patents, which, over the years, had had significant impact on mankind. One of these patents was the three-point seat belt developed by the research engineer, Nils Bohlin at Volvo.
- The time had also come for Volvo to introduce its first front-wheel-driven car, the 480 ES sports coupe, manufactured in Born, the Netherlands.
- And this year Volvo launched the new 700 series estate cars.
- The merger of Volvo's and Clark Equipment's construction equipment operations in 1985 formed the international VME Group.
- The Volvo FL6, with a GVW of 11 to 16 tonnes, was Volvo's new trump card in the small truck sector.
- The Volvo BM Valmet range was completed in 195 with the small 305 and the big 2005/2105 models.
Two dramatic incidents shook the world. The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was almost totally destroyed, and the manned Challenger space shuttle exploded shortly after being launched.
- Volvo announced the acquisition of GM Heavy Truck Corporation with a broad customer base and a more extensive dealer network in the USA, and with a strong presence on the Canadian market.
- Volvo was the first truck manufacturer to win the 'Truck of the Year' award for the third time. This time for the FL range.
- Launch of the low-built FL truck range.
- A revised wheel loader range was unveiled at the end of 1986.
- Volvo Penta introduced Volvo's first series-produced four-valve engine in its Aquamatic 171 drive.
- Volvo introduced its most powerful truck this year, the F16 with a 470 horsepower engine.
- A almost completely redesigned 760 model, equipped with a completely new rear axle, Multilink and ECC, electronic climate control, was introduced in 1987.
- A new White truck was introduced in the autumn of 1987 under the new WhiteGMC badge.
- The most powerful F16 was the major truck event of 1987
- With the L30, Volvo BM offered a small, versatile wheel loader.
- Operations at the new car plant in Uddevalla, Sweden, commenced in 1987.
- Volvo allocated SEK 20 million to the setting up of the 'Volvo Environmental Prize', with an annual prize amounting to one and a half million Swedish kronor.
- The new 440, the medium-segment car, soon became a favourite front-wheel drive family car as a complement to the larger, rear-wheel drive 240, 740 and 760 models.
- White trucks became known as WhiteGMC in 1988.
- Volvo Bus Corporation announced this year that the company had taken over the busbuilding division of Leyland in Britain. Leyland was renowned especially for its double-decker models.
- Equipped with the powerful RM12, built by Volvo Flygmotor, the JAS39 Gripen, Sweden's new interceptor/strike/reconnaissance aircraft, took to the air for the first time.
- The Uddevalla Plant was opened. Production at this plant was exclusively in the form of self-supervising groups in which many operators became 'whole car builders'. For financial reasons, this plant and the one in Kalmar were shut in 1993.
- Pehr G Gyllenhammar's successor as President of AB Volvo, Christer Zetterberg, was welcomed to Volvo.
- This year Volvo became the first Europen truck maker to market its products in Japan on a regular basis.
- Volvo NL10 and NL12 trucks were introduced in 1989.
- Volvo invested heavily in providing truck and bus owners with 24-hour service in all countries.
- The rear-engined B10C bus was produced in Australia in a small number, foreshadowing the introduction of the series-built B12 and B10B a couple of years later.
- Volvo employed an environmental auditor in 1989.
- The decade started with the exciting announcement that Volvo had entered into an alliance with the French automotive manufacturer, Renault. At first, the news was received with enthusiasm, but as time passed this reaction changed somewhat.
- Christer Zetterberg took up the position as President and CEO of AB Volvo. Pehr G Gyllenhammar at the same time took up as working Chairman of the Volvo Board.
- VME acquired Åkerman's Excavators and Zettelmeyer's Wheel Loaders.
- Volvo presented its new 960 car model in 1990.
The People's Congress in Moscow took the historic decision to dissolve the People's Republic of the Soviet Union.
- Volvo announced that the first woman had been appointed to the Board, Baroness Lydia Dunn, a member of the Hong Kong administration.
- The Munktell Museum was opened in Eskistuna, Sweden, the home of a collection of historical VCE machines.
- Volvo launched its front-wheel driven 850 and the side-impact protection system, SIPS, made the world news.
- Volvo Car Corporation introduced SIPS, Side Impact Protection System, consolidating Volvo's lead in the safety stakes.
- Volvo Buses introduced all-round models with rear-mounted engines.
- The Zettelmeyer models provided Volvowith a complete range of samll wheel loaders.
- The Swedish-built Nimbus 26 was one of many high-speed crafts powered by Volvo Penta KAD42.
- Volvo Buses began to invest heavily in designing buses to be run on natural gas.
- The Environmental Concept Car, ECC, with hybrid power, was presented for the world press.
- Sören Gyll became the new President and CEO of AB Volvo, in succession to Christer Zetterberg. Volvo found itself i a deep economic crisis.
- Volvo Buses introduced its new, rear-engined B10B early in the year.
- In the summer of 1992 Volvo Penta entered into a joint venture with OMC (Outboard Marine Corporation).
- Volvo Environmental Concept Car - the ECC - was presented in September 1992.
- Volvo displayed all of its high-tech expertise at the pavillion at the world exhibition, Expo 92 in Seville.
- Volvo became sole owner of BCP, the food company, and took 25% holding in Procordia, the pharmaceutical concern.
- A serious and at times heated debate took place in the autumn, culminating in, not a merger, but a divorce between the Renault Group and Volvo. The consequences were that the Board, led by Pehr G Gyllenhammar, resigned with immediate effect.
- Division of Procordia's operations into two parts, whereby BCP (the consumer group) became a subsidiary within the Volvo Group.
- Volvo presented a new generation of trucks this year - the Volvo FH series was introduced, the safest, most ergonomic and profitable trucks so far.
- A new Board was elected in January 1994. Volvo now chose a new strategy: everything not directly connected with core operations, everything not associated with vehicles or transport, would be divested.
- When it came to the company's products, many new features were presented in the fields of safety and the environment. Volvo Trucks, for example, introduced a new airbag specially designed for heavy trucks, for the driver's seat.
- Remaining holdings brought together within the Fortos Group.
- The first Volvo bus in China was produced by Xian Silver Bus.
- Volvo Penta in jouint venture with Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) in early 1994.
- Volvo won the 1994 'Truck of the Year' award for the FH truck series.
- A driver's airbag for trucks was demonstrated.
The motion picture industry celebrated its Centenary in honour of the Lumiere brothers. On 28th December 1895 the Lumiere brothers organised the world's first public showing of a film to a paying audience in Paris.
- Both Volvo Buses and Volvo Trucks introduced environmental concepts that attracted a great deal of attention; the ECB, Environmental Concept Bus, and the ECT, Environmental Concept Truck.
- AB Volvo acquired the remaining 50% of the outstanding shares in Volvo Construction Equipment (formerly the VME Group).
- In June Volvo acquired 51% of the Canadian bus manufacturer Prévost Car Inc.
- Two new car models, Volvo S40 and Volvo V40 were presented.
- Volvo Buses' B12-600 was designated 'Coach of the Year 1996'.
- The Volvo Environmental Concept Truck and Environmental Concept Bus were introduced.
- Richard Rydell drove his Volvo 850 to a series of victories in the British Touring Car championship.
- Volvo Construction Equipment introduced several new products in 1995.
- The Volvo Museum was officially opened in 1995.
- Volvo Aero was the first company to implement OD, Operational Development. The company was also appropriately awarded the highest token of excellent quality, the Swedish Quality Award, by the Swedish Institute of Quality. Two years later, Volvo Trucks received the same award.
- The Swedish Match company shares were distributed to Volvo's sharelolders on May 13.
- The sale of shares of Pharmacia & Upjohn was completed on July 23.
- During the autumn, Volvo Cars introduced the Volvo S70/V70, the new generation of the Volvo 850.
- And the exclusive Volvo C70 Coupé was launched during the year.
- The Volvo VN truck, based directly on the successful Volvo FH series, was introduced in North America in the autumn.
- Volvo Aero received the Swedish Quality Mark for the company's outstanding quality programs.
- At the Annual General Meeting in 1997 Leif Johansson replaced Sören Gyll as the President and CEO of Volvo group.
- Volvo XC made famous the concept 'Cross Country'.
- Volvo CE purchased the bulldozer manufacturer, Champion of Canada.
- Volvo signed an agreement with Mitsubishi to extend their joint venture to include the truck business operations.
- Once again, Volvo introduced 'the safest car in the world', the S80, with a side inflatable curtain and seats with whiplash protection. With the Volvo S80, Cars takes a big step forward within the segment for large cars. Safe, exciting and attractive were some of the opinions from the thoroughly positive international media.
- Volvo Trucks most important product introduction during the year was Volvo FM - a new series of heavy trucks, developed for more efficient regional transports and construction work.
- With the introduction of the Volvo 5000 and Volvo 7000 city buses, the share of complete buses including chassis and bodies from Volvo's own plants increases.
- During the spring Volvo Construction Equipment introduced a new series of compact wheel loaders – the Volvo L30-L45. The heavy wheel loader, Volvo L220D was also introduced at the beginning of the year.
- Volvo Penta introduced its new TAMD 74 EDC marine diesel engine, which is the most powerful engine in the important 7-liter class in the boat engine market.
- The Ariane 5 European launch vehicle is now ready for commercial use following the successful launch of the Ariane 503 in October. Aero produces nozzles and turbines for the engines.
- This was an important and dramatic year for Volvo. An extraordinary general meeting proposed the selling of Volvo's 'crown jewel', Volvo Cars, to the Ford Motor Company for SEK 50 billion.
- Volvo's attempt to take over Scania was effectively disallowed by the EU Commission.
- Volvo Trucks enters co-operation agreement with Schmitz Cargobull.
- Volvo Aero increased its holding in The AGES Group and Norsk Jetmotor.
- Volvo Aero concluded an agreement with Boeing and acquired Jet Support Corporation. Volvo increased its holding in Scania to 20%.
- Volvo Construction Equipment divested its marketing company in Spain in line with its strategy of organizing sales via independent dealers.
- Volvo Trucks acquired an interest in the North American Petro Stopping Centers service chain.
- Volvo decided to participate in the financing of Henly's acquisition of Bluebird, an American bus company.
- Agreement on closer co-operation between Volvo and Mitsubishi Motors
- Volvo Trucks was awarded 'European Truck of the Year' for the fifth time.
- The year 2000 saw the launch of a number of new products. Among these, to name just a few, were Volvo Trucks' new FL generation, Volvo Buses' new B12M, Volvo CE's A35D and A40D and Volvo Penta's launch of the new engine series, 420 and 620.
- A new business area for Volvo's finance operations was formed, Volvo Financial Services, including customer-financing operations, insurance business, treasury and real estate operations.
- Volvo Aero divests its truck components manufacturing to Finnveden.
- Agreement on new bus company in China between Volvo Buses and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).
- Volvo acquires an interest in Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Company
- Volvo appointed five women to the boards of the product companies.
- Pel-Job excavators became genuine Volvo products marketed under the Volvo name.
In the fall, on September 11, terrorists launched an attack that resulted in the total destruction of the World Trade Center in New York, shaking the whole world. The final death toll was well over 3,000.
- In January, AB Volvo acquired Renault Trucks and its subsidiary Mack Trucks in the USA, and Volvo Global Trucks was formed. A complete renewal of the product program was carried out during 2001.
- Volvo Aero becomes a risk-and-revenue sharing partner in two Rolls-Royce's engine programs.
- Volvo Trucks introduced the new Volvo FH and FM models.
- Mack launched the new Granite, a versatile truck for construction applications.
- Renault introduced the new Magnum and Midlum trucks.
- Volvo launched its totally new Volvo FH and Volvo FM with a new 500-hp engine.
- In 2001, the intercity and coach platform – TX – was rolled out to all European markets. Volvo Buses was awarded the 'Bus builder of the year 2002' for its complete range of products.
- Volvo CE introduced the new series of articulated haulers, the A25D and A30D, a new wheel loader, L220E, and a new compact crawler excavator, the EC55. And announced an extension of its product range within compact equipment with the development of its new backhoe loader and the acquisition of a range of skidsteer loaders.
- Volvo Penta's product introductions during 2001 include the new marine leisure diesel engine KAD300 and the new D2-55 diesel engine for sailboats. The range of industrial engines was strengthened with the introduction of a new 12-liter engine and 5- to 7-liter engines for mobile applications. In the marine commercial segment a further developed 16-liter engine was launched.
- Volvo Aero entered in Rolls-Royce's program for the development of the Trent 500 for Airbus 340- 400/600 and Trent 900, which will be mounted in Airbus' forth-coming A380 super-jumbo. Volvo Aero was also selected a strategic partner by Pratt & Whitney in the development of the new RL60 rocket engine. A new contract was signed for the manufacture of 23 Vulcain motors for the Ariane 5 rocket.
- Volvo Financial Services started up as a new business area. It reorganized its operations and introduced new programs aimed at bolstering its customer finance portfolio. It also rolled out a variety of soft offers to Renault and Mack dealers and customers. Treasury, real estate and insurance operations performed in line with expectations. Volvia's insur-ance operations were divested at a gain.
- On April 14, 2002 Volvo celebrated its 75th anniversary.
- In 2002 Volvo CE officially opened its new factory in Poland and also establishes production facility in Shanghai, China, this year.
- In China Renault Trucks starts an engine cooperation with Dong Feng Motors.
- Volvo Trucks concluded a comprehensive product renewal of its heavy-duty range, started with the introduction of the new Volvo FH and Volvo FM trucks in Europe, Asia and other markets, and continued with the introduction of the Volvo VN in North America.
- Renault Trucks launched the Optidriver, a fully automated gearbox with its own software for the Renault Magnum and Premium ranges. The vehicle management system 'Infomax,' which was awarded the Siemens Prize for Innovation, is available in all of Renault Trucks' ranges except Light Commercials. The 'Driving Monitoring System' is available on the heavy ranges.
- Mack Trucks showed its new generation of vehicles for the construction market, the Granite series.
- In the entirely new Volvo Bus product program, the TX platform has been extented with new low entry and articulated versions. The TX and B7R platforms have now been introduced in the production plants in Mexico and China.
- Volvo CE launched its new B-series of crawler excavators and the new Volvo E-series of wheel loaders, followed in the spring by the new B-series of motor graders.
- Volvo Penta became the first company in the marine engine industry to launch telematic services. Volvo Penta's marine product range was broadened with new 5 and 7-liter diesel engines. Marine Leisure introduced its TAMD75 for the 450 to 500 hp segment. The Industrial engine program was strenghtened with new 10-liter diesel engines.
- Volvo Aero made its first deliveries of components for the Rolls-Royce Trent 500 engine for the Airbus A340. Volvo Aero also signed an agreement on the manufacture of components for the GP7000 engine. Volvo Aero's Space Propulsion Division delivered the first complete sandwich nozzle for Pratt & Whitney´s RL60, the rocket engine of the future.
- In 2002, Volvo Financial Services (VFS) forged closer ties to Mack and Renault Trucks. Both manufacturers now enjoy custom-branded finance programs.
- Volvo's holding of Scania B shares was divested to Deutsche Bank on March 4, 2004 for an amount of about SEK 15 billion.
- Volvo acquires Bilia's truck and construction equipment operations
- Volvo Trucks begins production in Russia and also started assembly of trucks in China. New model introductions: Volvo NH in Brazil, Volvo FH and Volvo FM in South America and the new medium-heavy truck in the 17-23 ton segment, Volvo VM, was also introduced during 2003 and the new Volvo FH16.
- Volvo CE starts the production in China and acquires US dealer L B Smith.
- Volvo Penta is launching a new generation of medium-heavy diesel engines for leisure boats.
- Renault Trucks launches the new Renault Master.
- Volvo Aero is partner in General Electric's new LMS100 gas turbine.
- Volvo and ArvinMeritor plan strategic alliance on axles.
- Volvo Penta introduced a mew boat drive system - the Volvo Penta IPS (Inboard Performance System).
- Mack presented the new Advantage chassis, to better serve the needs of highway customers.
- Volvo and ArvinMeritor entered into a Strategic Alliance Agreement for the supply of axles.
- Volvo CE launced its ECR range of short swing radius compact excavators from 2.5 to 8 tons.
- Volvo Group reached an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% of the North American bus manufacturer Prévost Car Inc, containing the Prévost and Nova brands.
- Renault Trucks has signed an agreement with the Chinese truck manufacturer Dong Feng Motors aimed at establishing a joint-venture company for manufacturing trucks and truck components in China.
- Volvo Aero and General Electric Company have signed an agreement of three major components for the new GEnx engine.
- New version of Renault Magnum to be launched in the beginning of 2005.