Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Volvo Cars, or Volvo Personvagnar, is a near-luxury automobile maker that was founded in 1927 in the city of Gothenburg in Sweden, as a spin-off from roller ball bearing maker SKF. It was owned by Volvo until 1998, when it was acquired by the Ford Motor Company and placed in Premier Automotive Group, Ford's luxury division.
Since the 1950s, Volvo cars have had a reputation for safety. Starting in 1944 with the use of laminated glass in the PV model. The PV series cars were also among the first to have what Volvo called a 'safety body' (what is now called a unibody). The Volvo design team invented both the 'safety cage' and 'crumple zones' concept, where passengers are protected in a strong, encircling frame and the energy of a crash is absorbed by destruction of the hood or trunk of the car. Volvo also invented the easy-to-use three-point seatbelt; first introduced as an accessory in 1957 and made standard on all Volvo cars in 1959. All these safety features are now standard in all cars and are responsible for saving millions of lives. Volvo also was the first company to produce cars with padded dashboards starting in late 1956 with their Amazon model. Volvo also developed the first rear-facing child seat in the late 1960s and introduced its own booster seat in 1978. Seatbelt and child seat innovation continued as shown in the 1991 960. The 960 introduced the first three-point seatbelt for the middle of the rear seat and a child safety cushion integrated in the middle armrest. Also in 1991 came the introduction of the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) on the 940/960 and 850 models, which channeled the force of a side impact away from the doors and into the safety cage. In 2000, Volvo introduced its Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), a safety device to prevent injury of front seat users during collisions. In 2004, Volvo introduced the BLIS system, which detects vehicles entering the Volvo's blind spot with a side view mirror mounted sensor and alerts the driver with a light. Much of Volvo's safety technology now also goes into other Ford vehicles, such as the Aston Martin DB9. By the mid-1990s there was little to distinguish Volvo from some other manufacturers (notably Renault) on safety when put through tests such as EuroNCAP as other manufacturers caught up when they realised the marketing potential of safety. The Volvo 745 had some severe problems with the C-pillar that could break in collisions even at relatively low speeds. The design was strengthened and renamed to Volvo 940.   However, Volvo is still considered a leader of innovating safety technology, although it now faces stiff competition in this field. Even today, the Volvo S80 is regarded by many to be the safest mass-production car in the world.
In the early 1970s Volvo acquired the car-making division of the Dutch company DAF, and marketed their small cars as Volvos before releasing the Dutch-built Volvo 340, which went on to be one of the biggest-selling cars in the UK market in the 1980s.
Volvo, as one of the largest truck manufacturers in the world, took the initiative to sell its automobile manufacturing in 1998 in order to fully focus its efforts on the market for commercial vehicles. Ford, on the other hand saw advantages in acquiring a profitable prestige midsize European automobile manufacturer, well renowned for its safety aspects, as an addition to its Premier Automotive Group. The buyout of Volvo Cars was announced on January 28, 1998 and in the following year acquisition was completed at a price of $6.45 billion USD.
Volvo now consists of two parts:
- Volvo - the manufacturing of commercial vehicles, etc. owned by Swedish interests.
- Volvo Cars - the manufacturing of automobiles owned by Ford Motor Company, in its Premier Automotive Group.
The Volvo™ trademark is now jointly owned (50/50) by Volvo and Ford. One of the main promotional activities for the trademark is the sailing contest Volvo Ocean Race, formerly the Whitbread Around the World Cup. There is also a Volvo Baltic Race.
- Volvo ÍV 4 , aka Jakob
- Volvo PV (PV444 and PV544)
- Volvo Snabbe
- Volvo Trygge
- Volvo Sugga
- Volvo Valp
- Volvo PV36
- Volvo PV51
- Volvo PV60
- Volvo Duett
- Volvo Amazon/Volvo 122
- Volvo P1800
- Volvo P1900
- Volvo 66
Starting with the 140 series in 1968, Volvo used a three number system for their cars. The first number was the series, the second number the number of cylinders and the third number the number of doors. So a 164 was a 1-series with a 6-cylinder engine and 4 doors. However there were exceptions to this rule - the 780 for example, which came with turbocharged inline 4 and V6 gas engines, also inline 6 diesel engines, but never an eight cylinder as the 8 would suggest. Similarly, the 760 often was equipped with a turbocharged inline 4 cylinder and the Volvo 360 only had four cylinders. The company dropped the meaning of the final digit for later cars like the 740, but the digit continued to identify cars underhood on the identification plate.
- Volvo 140 (Volvo 142, Volvo 144, Volvo 145)
- Volvo 160
- Volvo 164
- Volvo 240 (Volvo 242, 244, 245)
- Volvo 260 (Volvo 262C, 264, 265)
- Volvo 340 (Volvo 343, 345)
- Volvo 360
- Volvo 440
- Volvo 460
- Volvo 480
- Volvo 740
- Volvo 760
- Volvo 780
- Volvo 850
- Volvo 940
- Volvo 960
Today, the company uses a system of letters denoting body style followed by the series number. S means saloon, C means coupe, V means versatile or estate car, and XC means cross country or all wheel drive. So a V50 is an estate ("V") in the smaller 40/50 series.
- Small cars (Volvo P1 platform)
- Large cars (Volvo P2 platform)
Volvo concept cars
- B4B and B14A - fitted into the Volvo PV and Volvo Duett from 1947 to 1956
- B16 (A and B) - fitted into the PV, Duett and Volvo Amazon from 1957 to 1960
- B18 and B20/B20E - 1.8 L/2.0 L OHV 8v fitted into all Volvo models from 1961 to 1974.
- B21 and B23 - fitted from 1975
- B230 - 2.3 L SOHC 8v fitted to 240, 700, 940 series cars from 1985
- B234 - Twin cam 16 valve engine
- B27 and B28 - 2.7/2.8 L SOHC 12v developed together with Renault and Peugeot
- B30 - fitted to all 164 models
- Volvo Cars - Official Site
- Volvo Concept Lab - Volvo Car Corperation's Concept Cars
- Open Directory on Volvo
- Texas Volvo Club
- Volvo Club of America
- The Volvo Owner's Resource since 1997.
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