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Overview of Volvo
The Volvo Group (legally Aktiebolaget Volvo, usually shortened to AB Volvo) is a Swedish multinational manufacturing company headquartered in Gothenburg. Its core activity is the production, distribution and sale of trucks, buses and construction equipment.
Volvo also supplies marine and industrial drive systems and financial services. Although the two firms are still often conflated, Volvo Cars, also based in Gothenburg, has been a totally separate company since it was sold off in 1999. The companies still share the Volvo logo and co-operate in running the Volvo Museum.
Volvo was established in 1915 as a subsidiary of SKF, the ball bearing manufacturer; however the Volvo Group and Volvo Cars consider themselves to have been officially founded on 14 April 1927, when the first car, the Volvo ÍV 4 series, affectionately known as "Jakob", rolled out of the factory in Hisingen, Gothenburg.
Volvo means "I roll" in Latin, conjugated from "volvere", in reference to ball bearings. The brand name Volvo was originally registered as a trademark in May 1911 with the intention to be used for a new series of SKF ball bearings. This idea was only used for a short period and SKF decided to simply use "SKF" as the trademark for all its bearing products.
In 1924, Assar Gabrielsson, an SKF sales manager, and engineer Gustav Larson, the two founders, decided to start construction of a Swedish car. Their vision was to build cars that could withstand the rigors of the country's rough roads and cold temperatures. AB Volvo began activities on 10 August 1926. After one year of preparations involving the production of ten prototypes the firm was ready to commence the car-manufacturing business within the SKF group.
The Volvo Group has its origin in 1927, when the first Volvo car rolled off the production line at the factory in Gothenburg. Only 280 cars were built that year. The first truck, the "Series 1", debuted in January 1928, as an immediate success and attracted attention outside the country. In 1930, Volvo sold 639 cars and the export of trucks to Europe started soon after; the cars did not become well-known outside Sweden until after World War II.
Pentaverken, who had manufactured engines for Volvo, was acquired in 1935, providing a secure supply of engines and entry into the marine engine market.
The first bus, named B1, was launched in 1934, and aircraft engines were added to the growing range of products at the beginning of the 1940s.
In 1963, Volvo opened the Volvo Halifax Assembly plant, the first assembly plant in the company's history outside of Sweden in Halifax, Canada.
In 1999, the European Union blocked a merger with Scania AB.
Volvo Group sold its car division Volvo Car Corporation to Ford Motor Company for $6.45 billion during 2000, it was placed within the Premier Automotive Group alongside Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin. Volvo engineering resources and components would be used in various Ford, Land Rover and Aston Martin products, with the second generation Land Rover Freelander designed on the same platform as the second generation Volvo S80. The Volvo T5 petrol engine was used in the Ford Focus ST and RS performance models, and Volvo's satellite navigation system was used on certain Aston Martin Vanquish, DB9 and V8 Vantage models.
Ford sold the Volvo Car Corporation in 2010 to Geely Automobile of China for $1.8 billion, following on from their sale of Jaguar Land Rover in 2008 and Aston Martin in 2007.