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Media post: Volvo: A Major Change in a 90-Year Tradition

Volvo XC90 in Tallberg, Sweden 

For 90+ years, Volvo Car Corporation has been producing quality automobiles known the world over for their durability, safety and reputation for innovation. Since 1927, when the first Volvo rolled off the assembly line in Gothenburg, Sweden (albeit backwards, at first, because the differential was improperly installed), this has been a car company obsessed with the safety of its drivers and passengers.

Volvo has been an automobile manufacturer of numerous “firsts,” many of them safety oriented but also firsts in other areas as well. Volvo was the first foreign car company, for example, to build a manufacturing facility in North America, which they did in 1958. Their Canadian operation produced vehicles in Nova Scotia for the next 40 years and some of their models were even designed by Quebec-based stylists. Volvo has designed a car to meet your needs and you can find the model that better meet your expectations by visiting the cards dealer

Other firsts include the company’s breaking from their 90+-year of engineering cars featuring only internal combustion engines in favor of all-electric and electric/diesel hybrid vehicles. They are the first major automobile manufacturer to have decided to go “all-electric,” with all of their planned models beginning in 2019 featuring electric motors, either alone or in combination with an internal combustion engine (hybrid).

Additionally, with Volvo now owned by Chinese car manufacturer Greely Automobile (since 2010), Volvo looks to be the first company that will be selling Chinese cars in North America! Although they haven’t yet announced which car built in their Chinese factories will be the first to make its way to the U.S. and/or Canada, some hints have surfaced that it may be the S60L model.

Important Automotive Safety Contributions

Some of the more important contributions Volvo has made to improve safety in the automotive industry include:

  • The invention of the three-point seat belt in 1959. This invention has been called the single most important safety improvement to passenger vehicles in history, credited with saving more than one million lives and countless serious injuries. Three-point seat belts are now standard equipment in just about every car manufactured in the world.
  • Volvo engineered the first rear-facing child restraint seat in 1964 and later developed a special child booster-seat.
  • The invention of the seat belt reminder-alarm in 1972.
  • The development of SIPS (Side Impact Protection System) in 1991, making side airbags standard equipment of some Volvo models beginning in 1995. 1998 saw the introduction of the head-protection airbag, which soon became standard equipment on all new Volvo models.
  • Also in the 1970s, Volvo invented something called the “Lambdasonde,” which can now be found on nearly every gas-powered car made. This is a small oxygen-sensing device responsible for reducing the amount of dangerous exhaust emissions by as much as 90%.

Safety First

When Volvo earned the patent for the first automobile three-point seat belt in 1959 they could have enjoyed the benefits of that invention while other car manufacturers continued to employ the then-standard lap belt, which was certainly inadequate in protecting automobile passengers in the event of a collision. It’s been speculated that lap belts often cause more injuries than they prevented. Because Volvo believed the safety benefits of the newly developed three-point seat belt were so significant, they made the decision to open up the patent to allow other car companies the ability to utilize the belt design in their own manufacturing processes. This fit in line perfectly with Volvo’s main driving force of “safety first.”

Things You May Not Have Known

While some may believe the word “Volvo” is Swedish, it’s actually Latin and means, “I roll.” The name was chosen by the founders of the company who were originally in the ball bearing business, producing automotive ball bearings prior to founding their car company. The Volvo logo, which consists of the word “Volvo” emblazoned on a circle with an arrow pointing up and to the right, is believed by some to be the symbol for the male gender. It’s actually an ancient ideogram that stands for “iron” and also represents Mars, the Roman god of war. Company founders were looking for a strong, powerful image.

Volvo has come a long way in 90 years and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. They continue to innovate and to shape their image with successful design, manufacturing and marketing efforts.

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