Out now: the Autocade Yearbook 2024
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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024

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Founded in 1927 in Göteborg, Sweden, Volvo Cars began as a subsidiary to SKF, the ball bearing manufacturer. The name, Latin for ‘I roll’, was first registered by SKF in 1915, though no ball bearings were sold under the Volvo brand. The Volvo logo is derived from an ancient symbol for iron.

In 1935, Volvo AB was listed separately on the Swedish stock exchange after SKF sold most of its shares. In the 1970s, it acquired Dutch car maker DAF. In 1998, the Ford Motor Co. acquired Volvo Cars (the truck division remains separate). In 2010, Ford, under pressure to get itself out of a financial mess, sold Volvo to China’s Geely.

The company has been a pioneer in automotive safety, introducing laminated glass on the production PV model in 1944, and padded dashboards in 1956; inventing the three-point safety belt in 1958; developing the rear-facing child seat in 1964; developing the front and rear crumple zones in 1966, inertia reel safety belts in 1969, childproof rear doors in 1972 and daytime running lights in 1975; and introducing the high-mounted brake light in 1986. Its side-impact protection system was introduced in 1991, and side airbags in 1995. A whiplash protection system came in 1998. Its reputation remains partly founded on safety.


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Out now: Autocade Yearbook 2024