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If Volvo is known for anything (besides being Swedish), it’s for the safety of their cars. At the time of the Volvo’s “official” founding in 1927, co-founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson made the following statement: "Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain safety.” That has indeed remained the guiding principle for Volvo Cars to this day, and brought them to develop technologies ranging from the three-point seat-belt in 1959 to side airbags in 1995 to hood-mounted pedestrian airbags in 2012.
In addition to safety, Volvo cars have developed a historic reputation for solidity and reliability over the course of the brand’s long life. However, with all things, parts will ultimately get damaged or fail, and will need to be replaced. Luckily for you, when it comes to Volvo parts, 1A Auto has you covered! It is our mission here at 1A Auto to supply you with the right parts you need to keep your Volvo working in tip top shape, at a great discount. Simply put, if you are in need of a replacement part for your Volvo vehicle, you've come to the right place. You'll find a large selection of new, high quality aftermarket Volvo auto parts, including headlights, taillights, weatherstripping, mirrors, door handles, exhaust manifolds, radiators, and more, as well as genuine OEM replacement parts - the very same ones you would receive if purchased from your local dealer, but without the inflated cost. However, we don't only just sell replacement Volvo parts online here at 1A Auto; we also carry a selection of new and performance parts such as high flow air filters and bike racks for your Volvo automobile as well.
Our product development team spends over 8,000 hours a year researching the best Volvo auto parts, and they are carefully selected by our trained engineers so you can rest assured that you are getting the correct, high quality part you need for your car or SUV, at a discount price. If we wouldn't put the part in our own vehicles, we won't sell them to anyone else. A new aftermarket replacement Volvo part from 1A Auto will save you 30-50% on average over a comparable new OEM replacement Volvo part that you would get at a dealership, and our new aftermarket Volvo parts are also extremely durable and reliable. Don't overpay for Volvo parts and save yourself from a lot of potential headaches by shopping at 1A Auto.
You can shop for all of your Volvo car parts online and buy safely and securely right here on our website, or you can call our customer service toll free at 888-844-3393 if you have any questions about any of our parts, or to buy over the phone. With over 150 years combined experience, 1A Auto's customer service representatives are the most qualified to answer your questions about all of our new, aftermarket, genuine OEM, and performance Volvo car parts. Our representatives answer 99.9% of phone calls in less than one minute and emails are responded to within the hour because we know you need answers quickly to get your beloved Volvo back in working order again. We also know you want your part fast for the same reason; 98% of in stock Volvo auto parts ship from our warehouse within one business day so that you can get back on the road in no time, and all ground shipping in the continental U.S. is completely free. And, in the unlikely case that you are unhappy with your Volvo auto part for any reason, 1A Auto also offers the only No Hassle return policy for unused items in the industry. Simply put, our competitors can't beat the 1A Advantage. Don't just take it from us - take it from over 50,000 satisfied customers!
Look no further than 1A Auto for your aftermarket, original equipment (OE) replacement, new and performance Volvo auto parts and get your car or SUV the new parts it needs today from Volvo enthusiasts just like you! If you happen to be an enthusiastic Volvo owner, have a deep passion for Volvo vehicles, or just want to learn more about the automobile manufacturer, continue reading below for a detailed look at the brand's history and some of its past and present models.
Volvo Car Corporation is an automobile manufacturer founded in Sweden in 1927 originally by the Swedish multinational manufacturing company AB Volvo. Today, it is currently owned by the Chinese automotive manufacturing company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which acquired Volvo in 2010. While a subsidiary of Geely, Volvo Cars continues to operate independent of its Chinese owners and its headquarters remain in Sweden. Volvo automobiles, including sedans, SUVs and coupes, are sold in many countries all over the world.
The name Volvo (“I roll” in Latin) was originally registered in 1915 as a separate subsidiary company within Swedish ball-bearing manufacturer Aktiebolaget Svenska Kullagerfabriken (AB SKF) and as a trademark on the initiative of AB SKF employee Björn Prytz, with the intention of using it for a series of new, low-priced ball-bearings which were to be sold in the United States. In the application for the Volvo trademark however, it was also designated for the purpose of automobiles, a foreshadowing of things to come. The original idea did not last long however and shortly thereafter, SKF scrapped their plans and decided to use the "SKF" name and logotype, the same logotype it uses to this day, for all its bearing products. A small number of bearings were actually manufactured and stamped with the Volvo brand name, but they were never released to the American market.
The Volvo name and company lay forgotten until 1924. It was then that Gustav Larson, an automotive engineer, met with his old friend and colleague Assar Gabrielsson, the sales manager of the entire SKF company group, in Stockholm. Larson had worked for SKF previously but was now working for another company in Stockholm at the time called AB Galco. It was at this meeting that Gabrielsson informed Larson of his desire to start up an automobile company and construct a new Swedish automobile, an idea he had first conceived a few years prior while he was the managing director of the SKF subsidiary in Paris, France, a position he held from 1921 to 1922 before ascending to the sales manager role. During his time as managing director, Gabrielsson had discovered that competitor bearing companies in Europe had started to invest a lot in automobile companies in order to secure their sales to key customers. Thus, Gabrielsson came up with his original idea which was to start an automobile manufacturing business within SKF in order to get advantages over competitors when developing new bearings for the automobile industry, and increase sales of the companies’ bearings. In addition, he felt that doing so would have positive effects on Swedish industry as a whole. Gabrielsson presented his ideas to the board of SKF but unfortunately, he was unable to convince them of his plan’s value as SKF felt that their core business was bearings and that there was no room for an automobile operation within the company.
Going back to the meeting, Gabrielsson was able to convince Larson of his ideas and as a result, Gabrielsson and Larson entered into a verbal agreement, signing a formal written contract more than a year later in 1925. Per the contract, Larson was appointed responsible for carrying out the engineering work for the new car, as well as coming up with an investment plan for a complete, new manufacturing plant. However, he would only be rewarded for that work if the project was successful. In this case, success meant that a certain of number of cars had to be produced before the first of January, 1928. Talk about pressure! Also per the terms of the contract, Gabrielsson "owned" the project and clearly, it was a project of the high-risk variety and came with no guarantees. All of the economic risks, including the initial capital raised, were Gabrielsson’s, while Larson at worst would have basically worked during his spare time for free while still collecting pay from his employer AB Galco. Gabrielsson stated in the contract as well that he might sell the project to any company that would be interested, but the hope was that SKF would be that company.
As part of his plan, Gabrielsson decided that he wanted to build a test series of ten automobiles using his own financing. Once the test series of vehicles were built, the plan was to present the car along with an entire investment plan to his employer, SKF. The decision to build the test series of ten vehicles rather than a larger quantity was that Gabrielsson felt that no company likely would have given him and Larson an offer to supply them with the components, such as engines, gearboxes, etc. With a smaller quantity, the pair were certain that SKF would approve their plans in due time. The activities required in order to prepare for the set up of what they hoped would be a new automobile company, such as engineering, documentation and investment planning, were carried out exactly in the same way as if it had been done by SKF. Gabrielsson had the blessings of his managing director of SKF at the time, Björn Prytz, so long as Gabrielsson’s “private” project did not interfere with his 9-5 job as the sales manager for SKF. In these early stages, Gabrielsson’s project was truly a private project, as SKF did not sponsor it and provided no economic aid whatsoever.
Armed with the vision to build cars that could withstand the rigors of Sweden's rough roads and cold temperatures, Larson got to work on the design of the new car model in late 1924. He would also enlist a number of other engineers to assist him. The ten prototypes were designed and assembled in Stockholm at AB Galco under the supervision of Larson, who like Gabrielsson also had his other work to attend to as well. Larson also set up a make-shift design office in one of the rooms in his apartment. All of the invoices related to the project were sent to Gabrielsson's home address, and he paid for them personally. The first prototype car was ready in 1926 and shortly thereafter, in August of 1926, Gabrielsson and Larson took the open carriage 4 cylinder car, which was dubbed the Öppen Vagn 4 cylindrar, or ÖV4, and drove themselves down to a meeting with SKF in Hofors, Sweden to show the board and present them with the final investment plan.
At this board meeting, Gabrielsson and Larson were finally able to convince SKF to invest in their plan. A new company would be created as a subsidiary of SFK to carry out the car manufacturing business, and they decided to resurrect the old Volvo name for this automobile project. A formal contract was signed two days later between SKF and Gabrielsson, which stated that all ten of the prototypes, as well as the engineering drawings, calculations, etc., would be handed over to the new company AB Volvo, and in return Gabrielsson would be refunded most of his private investments for the prototype cars. What this really meant was that Gabrielsson basically sold his project to the new subsidiary company, AB Volvo, and it was 100% owned by SKF. Larson also finally got paid for the initial engineering work that he had done for the ÖV4 as per the terms of the contract he had signed privately with Gabrielsson. A few months later, Gabrielsson left his position as sales manager for SKF and was appointed president and managing director for the new AB Volvo company on January 1, 1927. At the same time, Larson was appointed vice president and technical manager of AB Volvo and he left his job at AB Galco.
The first series produced ÖV4 left the newly established factory in Sweden on April 14th, 1927, and this is the date that the company considers itself officially founded on, though as an automobile company, it was actually born back in August of 1926. When an engineer attempted to drive the first car out the factory doors, he put the car into first gear and began to go backwards. As it turned out, a differential gear had been fitted incorrectly, causing what was marked as first gear to actually be reverse. Despite this inauspicious start, Volvo came to be known worldwide for the quality of its engineering. The ten prototype cars that had been built were never sold, except for one to Volvo's photographer Sven Sjöstedt (it was later donated to the Volvo Industrial Museum around 1930). The others were used as transportation vehicles within the new manufacturing plant and as “test benches” for newly developed components during the early years.
Early Struggles and Recovery
AB Volvo did not show any profit early on and SKF invested a lot of money to keep it going. In 1928, AB Volvo unveiled its first truck, the Series 1, which used the basic chassis components from the ÖV4. The truck was an immediate success and began a long history of truck production by AB Volvo which continues to this day. By the end of 1929 however, SKF was extremely close to selling the company to Nash Motors, an automaker located in the United States, but Gabrielsson and Prytz managed to convince the SKF board to call the deal off, just one day before Charles Nash, president of Nash Motors, arrived by boat in Sweden. By the end of 1930, AB Volvo showed a small profit for the first time and in 1935, the company was introduced on the Stockholm stock exchange. At this point, SKF had come to the realization that AB Volvo was now ready to stand on its own and thus they decided to sell its shares of the company so that they could once again concentrate on their core business of developing and manufacturing bearings, which they still are doing over 100 years later. AB Volvo had survived its early struggles and was now its own independent company.
Building the Volvo Car Brand
In addition to producing trucks, AB Volvo also launched its first bus, named the B1, in 1934. Aircraft engines were also added to the growing range of products in the early 1940’s. Its car division which the company was originally founded on, was also continuing to build on its successes. In 1941, the 50,000th Volvo car was delivered; it had taken ten years to produce the first 25,000 cars while it had produced the next 25,000 in only four.
The 1930’s saw the production of a small number of luxury cars and then material shortages as war broke out in Europe. These material shortages convinced Volvo to make a smaller car, the PV444. The PV444 was unique in the way it combined the style of American luxury cars of the time with the smaller size of European post-war cars. The car was released shortly after the end of the Second World War and was an immediate sales success as it was purchased by many Swedes. In addition, the PV444 helped to spearhead Volvo’s move into the profitable American market as well. The first Volvo’s arrived in the U.S. in 1955, after hardware wholesaler Leo Hirsh began distributing cars in California and later, Texas. In 1956, the same year Assar Gabrielsson stepped down from his position as managing director for AB Volvo and became CEO of the Volvo Group (as by this time the company had branched out into many other activities than just car manufacturing), Volvo themselves began importing cars to the U.S. and the North American market has consistently been one of the companies’ main outlets since. Eventually, a larger wagon version of the PV444, the Duett, was introduced. The Duett name signified the dual roles the car could play, as a delivery vehicle or a passenger car. The PV444 also introduced one of Volvo’s many safety innovations, laminated glass windshields, which holds together when shattered.
Volvo went on to develop the P1900, also known as the Volvo Sport, in 1956 using many components from the PV444. The P1900 was not quite up to Volvo standards though and, after Volvo’s new president of the company at the time test-drove one and exclaimed “I thought it would fall apart,” the company put a cease to P1900 production in 1957 after only sixty-eight total cars had been built. The failure of the P1900 inspired a second attempt at a sports car in 1957: the P1800. The P1800 found its success partly through a savvy marketing move. The producers of the British television program The Saint tried to convince Jaguar to give them an X-Type for use in the show. When Jaguar refused they asked Volvo for a P1800. The Saint star Roger Moore liked the car so much he bought one for personal use. It was one of nearly fifty-thousand sold. Unlike the P1900, which, even new, seemed on the verge of collapse, the P1800 has displayed outstanding longevity. A New York state man holds the Guinness world record for highest mileage in the same vehicle by the original owner in non-commercial use with his 1966 P1800. He was registered for the record with 1.69 million miles in 1998. In 2002, he hit two million miles and hit three million miles in September 2013. For reference, three million miles is about twelve-and-a-half times the distance from earth to the moon.
At around the same time the P1800 was released, Volvo also released the 120, also known as the Amazon. The Amazon featured a padded dashboard (think of it as a primitive ancestor of the airbag), front seats designed in collaboration with doctors for a safe driving position, and, starting in 1959, three-point seat belts. Rather than seeking a patent on the three-point seat belt, which could have given Volvo a leg-up among safety-minded consumers, Volvo gave the technology to other automakers so that all drivers could be safer. By 1963, these belts were included in all Volvo’s, including those being exported to the U.S. Volvo started a study of data from 28,000 car accidents and found that three-point seat belts had already saved thousands of lives. This information led to legislation stipulating the presence of seatbelts on American automobiles. Volvo engineers like to claim that, with the three-point seatbelt, “there is a little bit of Volvo in every car.” Another notable event during this time was the death of AB Volvo’s co-founder, Assar Gabriesson, without whom the many notable achievements by the automaker would not have been possible. AB Volvo’s other co-founder, Gustav Larson, would pass away only a few years later in 1968.
The Amazon was joined in 1966 by the boxy 100 series. During this time period, Volvo’s were named with a three digit code, the first representing the series, the second the number of cylinders in the engine, and the third, the number of doors. The 144 for example, which featured disc-brakes, a steering column that could collapse in the event of a collision and front and rear crumple zones, was a four-cylinder sedan, the 145 a four cylinder station wagon, and the 164 a six-cylinder sedan. There were exceptions to the rule however, and the company would ultimately drop the meaning of the final digit for later cars like the 740 (though the digit continued to identify cars underhood on the identification plate), but this tri-digit system was used for all of their cars until 1998. At that time, the company moved to a system of letters which denote body style followed by the series number. So, S stands for saloon or sedan, C stands for coupe or convertible (including 3-door hatchback) and V stands for versatile as in estate car. Another notable safety feature that Volvo designed around this time was the first rear-facing child car seat in 1964.
In 1972, Volvo undertook building an experimental safety car. Many of its features were included in the 200 series, basically an update of the 100 series. The 200’s featured bigger crumple zones compared to the 100’s, but also improvements to help prevent collisions, in addition to protecting the driver and passengers in the event of a collision. These included improved rack-and-pinion steering or power-steering standard on some models, as well as improvements to the braking system and exterior lights. The 240 literally set the standards by which other cars would be tested for safety in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration used the 240 in determining its standards. During the seventies, Volvo released such safety innovations as the seatbelt reminder, a bulb monitor which comes on if any of the dash lights is not functioning, and a wide-angle rear view mirror. Also in the early 1970’s, Volvo acquired a large stake in the passenger car division of Dutch company DAF (founded in 1928 and now known as DAF Trucks NV as of 1993), along with its manufacturing plant, renaming it Volvo Car B.V. They first marketed their small cars as Volvo’s before releasing the Dutch-built Volvo 340 (initially badged as the 343/345), which went on to be one of the biggest-selling cars in the United Kingdom in the 1980’s. The 300 series, which also consisted of the Volvo 360, was produced until 1991. At that time, financial difficulties threatened to close down the plant but the Dutch government stepped in to save it. A joint venture between the Dutch government, Volvo and Mitsubishi Motors began in August 1991, though it wasn’t until 1996 that the name was officially changed from Volvo Car B.V. to Netherlands Car B.V. In February of 1999, the Dutch government sold its shares to Volvo and Mitsubishi, with both of them now owning fifty percent each. In 2001, Volvo sold its shares to Mitsubishi, who then owned 100 percent, and the last Volvo automobiles to be built in the Netherlands was in 2004. In 2012, Mitsubishi announced it too would stop producing cars in the Netherlands, and Dutch coach manufacturer VDL acquired the factory later that year, renaming it what it is known as today, VDL Nedcar.
Although the 700 series was meant to replace the 200 series, the 200 series proved so popular that Volvo continued to produce it into the 1990’s. The 760, introduced in 1982, was Volvo’s attempt at building a luxury car to its exacting safety standards. The lead designer proposed more than 50 designs before finally achieving a design he found acceptable. The final product was safe, luxurious, and quick, clocking a 0-60mph time under eight seconds. Several European countries adopted the 760 for police use. The appearance of Japanese luxury brands like Acura and Lexus in subsequent years was a big blow to Volvo however, and resulted in the loss of a significant market share for the company, one which they have never regained.
In the 1990’s, the 700 series was succeeded by the 900 series, which tended to resemble 700’s with rounder corners. Concurrently to the 900 series, Volvo produced its first front wheel drive car, the 850. In 1991, 900’s and the 850 included a new Side Impact Protection System, which allows the seats to move towards and crush the center console in the event of a side impact. This distributes the energy of the crash. This system would later be augmented with side-airbags. In the late 1990’s Volvo replaced the 900-series and the three-digit naming custom, with newer models using a system of letters denoting body style followed by the series number.
In 1999, the Volvo Group decided to sell its automobile division to the Ford Motor Company in order to concentrate solely on the production of commercial vehicles. Ford saw advantages in acquiring a profitable, prestigious mid-sized European automobile manufacturer who was well known for its safety aspects, as an addition to its Premier Automotive Group (PAG). The Premier Automotive Group (PAG) was an organizational division within the Ford Motor Company which was formed by Ford to oversee the business operations of its high-end automobile marques; the group was eventually dismantled in 2010. The acquisition of AB Volvo’s car division by Ford was completed a year later. As a result of the divestiture, the Volvo trademark was to be now owned and used by two separate companies, the Volvo Group (AB Volvo) and the new Volvo Car Corporation (also known as Volvo Cars) owned by Ford. This marked the birth of the Volvo car company as we know it today, and the end of the original Volvo car company owned by Swedish interests. Today, AB Volvo concentrates on the production, distribution and sale of heavy vehicles such as trucks, buses, and construction equipment, and also supplies marine and industrial drive systems, along with financial services.
While part of the PAG, Volvo grew in its range of vehicles significantly. Ford decided to sell another member of the PAG, Jaguar Land Rover, eventually doing so in 2008 to Tata Motors of India, but it had decided to keep Volvo Cars despite the fact that the company was no longer profitable and was not in great shape. As a result, Ford restructured plans for Volvo, pushing it further up the market alongside the lower end of Mercedes and BMW sedans, wagons, and SUV crossovers. The outcome of this restructuring was the second generation Volvo S80 and the new small premium crossover, the Volvo XC60. Economic downturns however continued to hamper the brand and when the global economic crisis of 2008 threatened the state of U.S automakers, Swedish authorities became concerned about the fate of Volvo if Ford were to be forced to file for bankruptcy. Repeated mass-layoffs at Volvo did nothing to quell those concerns and in late 2008, Ford announced that it was considering selling the Volvo Car Corporation, or possibly spinning it off as an independent company as losses continued to mount. The Swedish government was asked to look into a possible state ownership of Volvo, or a financial bailout, while former parent AB Volvo agreed to help the company cut costs through partnerships and suggested taking part in a shared ownership of Volvo Cars amongst a larger consortium. Other companies were also rumored to be interested in purchasing Volvo Cars, including BMW AG of Germany, Volkswagen, Chinese investors, etc. Ultimately, Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, the parent of Chinese motor manufacturer Geely Automobile, was selected by Ford as the preferred buyer of the Swedish automaker in late 2009. A deal was reached in early 2009 and the sale was completed later in the year. Geely took the company over but Volvo continued, and still continues, to operate independent of its new owners, though the two companies do communicate during the year.
Volvo continues to push new developments in safety technology, many of which aim to prevent collisions. These include: stability control to prevent rollovers on the XC90; City Safety Systems which apply the brakes automatically if it senses an obstacle at less than 20 mph; and similar systems for cyclist and wild animal detection. In the event of a crash, Volvo drivers are protected by systems like the Rollover Protection System, which rapidly releases a telescopic roll bar; and pedestrian air bags which deploy from the hood to protect any pedestrians unfortunate enough to find themselves on your hood. The City Safety System led chauffer company Tristar to adopt Volvos for its fleets, and since doing so, it has reduced accidents where their cars drive into the back of another car by 66% and reduced its repair costs by 41%. Just a few examples of Volvo’s continued notable safety achievements.
To develop these technologies, Volvo engineers put their ideas through a process they call the “Circle of Life.” They begin by studying real world accidents – since 1970, they’ve studied over 40,000. Next, they check that their designs meet legal safety requirements, which in turn are often influenced by Volvo’s own developments. Then they develop new technologies, test them, and finally study more accidents to think of new possibilities. Volvo has made their mark as the car for the safety minded for decades since their introduction of the three point seat belt, and they plan to continue improving. The company has boldly stated that it is their intent that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo.
The Volvo logo, in addition to the Volvo name, includes a symbol, a circle with an arrow, which is an ancient chemistry sign for iron. This iron sign is used to symbolize the strength of iron used in their cars as Sweden is well known for its quality iron. This strength carries on its models of today, which include the S60, V60, C70, to name just a few, and will carry on in Volvo models of the future undoubtedly.
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