Volvo was founded in 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden, as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SKF, one of the World's leading manufacturers of ball-bearings.

SKF had been planning to use the Volvo trademark for some years to market a range of ball bearings specially developed for export markets, in particular, the United States.

While the Volvo ball bearing line failed to set the heather on fire stateside, for reasons that remain mired in history, SKF also designated the trademark for a range of vehicles to be released at an undisclosed date in the future.

That time came in 1927 when SKF decided to take their first careful steps into the car manufacturing industry.

To head up this exciting new project, to be based in Gothenburg, SKF appointed Assar Gabrielsson, co-founder of the ball bearing giant as managing director.

Gabrielsson wasted no time in bringing in his good friend, Gustav Larson a talented and innovative engineer to be the company's technical manager.

The first Volvo car rolled off the production line at Gothenburg in the spring of 1927.

Marketed as the Volvo ÖV 4, this debut model was followed up by a series of workhorse like closed top and cabriolet vehicles, specially designed and developed to meet the rigours of motoring in Sweden's demanding climate and terrain.

That was to change in 1947 when Volvo finally began production of their PV444 saloon, which had captured the attention of the foreign press on its release three years previously.

The smallest Volvo to date, the PV44 proved to be a tremendous success, earning the Swedish car industry its first glimmers of international recognition.

Volvos were for sale initially just in Scandinavia, with its reputation gradually spreading throughout Western Europe and the United Kingdom.

Volvo's long overdue entry into the United States, not in the form of a simple ball bearing but as an entire family saloon came in the mid-Fifties when Californian based hardware distributor Leo Hirsh was handed the franchise to market cars in the state.

News of the Volvo cars and what they had to offer soon began to spread, and by the end, if the Fifties Volvo dealers could be found throughout the United States and Canada.

In 1957 Volvo introduced the Amazon, their first international bestseller. So successful was the Amazon that it went on to become the backbone of the range throughout the Sixties, remaining in production until 1970, in various formats, designs, and engine sizes.

Such was the extent of Volvo's success in North America that by 1963, the company opened their first assembly plant there outside of Sweden, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Driven by the success of the Amazon, Volvo went on to become a leading global manufacturer of luxury saloons, sports cars, and SUVs with an emphasis on safety and reliability.

Towards the end of the Seventies the management team at Volvo, with the Volvo Car Corporation now an international brand to be reckoned with, began to realise that it would sound fiscal policy to register the division as a separate and autonomous entity within the group. A decision that would have long-term ramifications.

First to step in, were French auto giant Renault who took a minor share in the company, allowing collaboration in research and development, centralised purchasing of materials as well as the critical issue of quality control.

In 1993, after a more than ten-year association, the boards of both Renault and Volvo reached a joint decision that a full merger would be in the best interests of both companies.

Unfortunately, neither company’s shareholders were enthusiastic about the proposed amalgamation, eventually vetoed by the Volvo shareholders.

Animosity soon set in between the two companies and the mutually beneficial working arrangement enjoyed for more than a decade became a thing of the past.

Volvo were obliged to sell off their minority stake in Renault.

Undeterred, the Swedish auto giant began to actively seek similar working arrangements elsewhere.

During the Nineties, Volvo entered into a partnership with General Motors, which turned out to be less than fruitful.

In 1999, long since disillusioned with car manufacturing, parent company SKF sold Volvo to the Ford Motor Company for more than six billion dollars.

With the acquisition, Volvo became a part of Ford's ill-fated Premier Automotive Group alongside Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover.

The Group experiment proved to be a marketing disaster, leading Ford to dismantling the package ten years later, with Volvo being " offloaded" to the Geely Automobile Company of China in 2010 for $1.8 billion.

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