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.
Our company history
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.