Volvo is Latin for "I roll". The Volvo trademark was originally registered for a unique line of ball bearings in 1915, to be sold in America. However, even then, the ball bearings were to be used in automobiles. It was registered by SKF, but they never used the Volvo trademark.
Though some of these bearings made their way into production, none were released. Volvo as a car maker did not exist until 1927, and was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden. SKF established the company as a subsidiary and assigned Assar Gabrielsson as the managing director, with Gustav Larson in charge of technical management.
The first of the Volvo cars was the OV 4, which was released in April of 1927. Volvo then began manufacturing cabriolet and closed top cars designed for Swedish terrain and weather. Volvo used a front-view copy of the OV 4's radiator in the logo application registration. It established a branch in Torslanda, Sweden, in 1964, now one of its biggest manufacturing facilities. One year later, Volvo opened a branch in Ghent, Belgium, its second largest manufacturing facility.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Volvo obtained the passenger car division in a Dutch company called DAF. It sold the available cars as Volvos just prior to releasing the Volvo 340. In the 1980s, this was one of the top selling cars in the UK. In 1989, it opened a branch in Uddevalla, Sweden, which is operated by both Volvo and the Italian company Pininfarina.
Volvo had safety in mind long before government began requiring safety regulations. In fact, in 1944, it began using laminated glass in its PV model. Twelve years later Volvo was the first to implement a padded dashboard, first used in its Amazon model.
Two years after that, Nils Bohlin, a Volvo engineer, designed the three-point safety belt, which came standard in all Volvo vehicles in 1959. On top of that, Volvo released the first children's rear-facing seat in 1964 in addition to its own booster seat fourteen years after that. The Volvo 960 used the first three-point seat belt used for passengers in the middle back seat, in addition to a children's safety cushion for the middle armrest. Volvo introduced the Side Impact Protection System in 1991 in the 850, 940 and 960 models. The system transferred the impact of side hits from the doors to the safety cage.
Due to the many innovations Volvo made, a museum was established to honor the company. The Volvo Museum is home to the most historically significant models. The museum was founded in 1995 and resides in Arendal at Hisingen, prior to that the collection was showcased in "The Blue Hangar".
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