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Our heritage

We started making cars in 1927 because we believed nobody else was making them strong enough or safe enough for Swedish roads. Learn more about our models and major milestones over the years.

Iconic cars

Discover some of our most iconic Volvo models. From the introduction of our first car in 1927 up to our most recent models.

Our company history

The very first Volvo car rolls out from the factory gate.

1927 – First car rolls out from the factory

On the morning of 14 April 1927, the first Volvo car drove out through the factory gates in Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. The car was officially called the ÖV4 and it was an open tourer with a four-cylinder engine. The world's first Volvo was ready to hit the road.

A grey Volvo PV 44 on a stage.

1944 – The “little Volvo” comes along

On 1 September 1944, the car that would make Volvo an international car company was unveiled in Stockholm. “The little Volvo”, as it was called, was seen in Sweden as a promise of post-war prosperity and in the course of two weeks 2,300 people placed orders for the PV 444.

1953 – The estate story begins with Duett

The Volvo Duett was launched as “two cars in one” – for both work and leisure. It was the first in a long line of estates that have made Volvo synonymous with this type of practical car. Since then, more than 6 million Volvo estates have been made.

Multiple PV 444 are unloaded from a cargo ship.

1955 – Export to the USA begins

In August 1955 the first PV 444 was unloaded at a port in Long Beach, California. Many onlookers were sceptical, but two years later Volvo Cars had become the second-biggest import brand in California and in 1974 the USA became our biggest market at the time.

The three-point safety belt showcased by the inventor, Nils Bohlin in 1959.

1959 – Three-point safety belt

Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin introduced three-point safety belts into the series production of PV 544 and we decided to waive our patent rights so everybody could benefit. To date, it’s estimated that over one million lives have been saved by the three-point safety belt.

A Volvo 240 standing on a hill.

1976 – A safety benchmark in the US

Our international reputation for advanced safety was confirmed when the US Government bought 24 cars of the model Volvo 240 for extensive crash testing. As a result of the tests, Volvo was officially chosen at the time as the benchmark to set safety standards for all new cars.

A red Volvo 850 standing in front of a bridge.

1991 – A car with four unique innovations

The Volvo 850 was presented with four world-firsts: a transverse five-cylinder engine, the Side Impact Protection System, self-adjusting belt reels for the front seat and Delta-link rear suspension. It was also the first of our larger models with front-wheel drive.

A grey Volvo XC90 driving on a country road.

2002 – Our first SUV

When the Volvo XC90 was launched it became an instant success all over the world. It redefined the segment for big SUVs and became Sweden’s most important export product within a few years.

A woman examines the car's body in the factory.

2013 – First manufacturing plant in China

For the first time, we operated a complete manufacturing plant outside Europe. It was inaugurated in the city of Chengdu, where we initially produced the Volvo S60L and XC60.

A black Volvo XC90 seen driving from behind.

2015 – The second-generation XC90

The second-generation XC90 marked the beginning of a new chapter in our history. It featured a completely new design language, new technologies and the new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform.

A Volvo XC40, our first compact SUV.

2017 – Our first compact SUV

The Volvo XC40 was the first model based on our compact modular vehicle architecture (CMA) which set our new standard in design, connectivity and safety. It was also the first car model you could access via our monthly flat-fee subscription service Care by Volvo.

A red Volvo S60 rolling of the production line.

2018 – Our first US manufacturing plant

We inaugurated our first US manufacturing plant in Charleston, South Carolina, establishing Volvo Cars as a truly global car manufacturer with plants in Europe, Asia and North America.

Volvo XC40 Recharge pure electric SUV plugged in to a charging box.

2019 – Our first fully electric SUV

The Volvo XC40 Recharge P8 was our first ever all-electric SUV. It was based on the best-selling XC40 and was the first Volvo model to be equipped with a brand-new infotainment system powered by Android.

A safety belt in grey with the text "Since 1959" engraved on the buckle.

Decades of safety innovations

Ever since our founding in 1927, we’ve been designing cars that put people first. Discover our most important safety innovations over the years.

Planet earth seen from space.

A heritage of sustainability

We have worked for many years to reduce our environmental impact. Discover some of the actions we have taken to date.