Back in April 14, 1927, Volvo rolled off their first mass-produced car at their factory in Lundby, Goteborg, Sweden; an inaugural year that saw Volvo sell just 300 cars. Today, with annual sales that hit almost half a million, Volvo is commemorating their anniversary by rolling off the same model off the same factory gates 85 years later.
Volvo' was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, a pair that had no direct experience of cars or the automotive industry. During its first year of production, Volvo sold 300 cars. But, as a testament to the company's upward trend back in 1927, business took off and Volvo began manufacturing trucks and buses as well. As early as then, Volvo realized that the key to their success was the export market.
"Our roots are still very important to us. Around 30,000 of the Volvo Group's 120,000 employees work in Sweden, but 95 percent of our products are sold outside the country," says Olof Persson. The equivalent figures for Volvo Car Corporation are 14,500 employees in Sweden out of a worldwide total of 21,500. Around 87 percent of all Volvo Car Corporation's sales take place outside Sweden.
The event that took place 85 years ago saw sales manager Hilmer Johansson drive the first mass-produced Volvo OV4 out of the factory. Today, it will be Stefan Jacoby, Volvo Car Corporation President and CEO, as well as Olof Persson, Volvo Group President and CEO, that will do the honors behind the wheel.
"It's a fantastic car, but it's easy to see how much has changed over the last 85 years," says Stefan Jacoby, who recently premiered the new V40 at the Geneva Motor Show.
In 1999, the Volvo Group sold its car business to Ford. Since then, the two companies have continued to grow in different directions. Volvo Car Corporation is now in the premium segment and last year sold around 450,000 cars in 120 countries, with the USA as its single largest market. Currently, Volvo is owned by Geely Motors following the sale by Ford in 2010.