From Hisingen to the world
With 100,000 employees worldwide, production facilities in 18 countries, a presence in 190 markets and sales close to 300,000 units per year, the Volvo Group has developed to become one of the world´s largest producers of commercial vehicles.
This has been an eventful journey which began 1927 with our founding fathers Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larsson.
Volvo is founded
In 1927 the first series-manufactured Volvo car, the Volvo ÖV4, rolled off the production line on the island of Hisingen, Göteborg.
During the war years Volvo's business operations underwent a period of rapid expansion.
Volvo acquired a majority shareholding in Svenska Flygmotor, later named Volvo Aero.
Volvo continued its round of acquisitions by purchasing Köpings Mekaniska Verkstad, an engineering company that supplied gears and gearboxes and in 1950 Volvo acquired the construction equipment manufacturer, AB Bolinder-Munktell, later part of the VME Group (now Volvo Construction Equipment).
Two plants were opened, one in Torslanda, Sweden, and one in Alsemberg near Brussels, Belgium. Together, they guaranteed that Volvo would have sufficient car and truck manufacturing capacity to place the company in a world ranking position.
The year after a new diesel engine plant was opened in Skövde, Sweden, and 1968 Volvo commenced truck assembly operations in Australia and car manufacture business in Malaysia.
1969 Volvo acquired the plant in Olofström, founded as early as 1735.
From Sweden to Europe
With the construction of a second truck manufacturing plant in Belgium, Volvo was now transformed into a European company with a Swedish base, instead of what it had previously been; a predominantly Swedish company with export sales.
Two new plants opened in Sweden. A bus plant in Borås and a factory with production of engines started up in Vara.
Time of acquisitions
This was a time of acquisitions, beginning with the acquisition of Beijerinvest AB, with interests in oil trading and food industry followed by the acquisition of the White Motor Corporation in the USA and AB Höglund & Co, in Säffle, Sweden, a company manufacturing bus bodies.
A new plant for producing bus chassis and trucks was opened in Curitiba, Brazil and in Tuve, Sweden Volvo opened its new assembly plant for trucks.
New board - new strategy
A serious debate culminating in a divorce between the Renault Group and Volvo. The consequences were that the board resigned with immediate effect.
A new board was elected in January 1994. Volvo now chose a new strategy: everything not directly connected with core operations, everything not associated with vehicles or transport, would be divested.
New orientation - more brands
An extraordinary general meeting proposed the selling of Volvo's "crown jewel", Volvo Cars, to the Ford Motor Company for SEK 50 billion.
A new Group, focusing on the commercial automotive industry, was created.
The Volvo Group acquired RVI/Mack with the aim of growing within the truck sectors in both the USA and Europe. Following this deal, the Group acquired two new brands, Mack and Renault Trucks.
Asia is growing
Asia was now the Group’s second largest market after Europe and Japan was the largest market in Asia following the acquisition of Nissan Diesel, which was now known as UD Trucks.
In China Volvo CE set up production in Shanghai. Volvo Buses and Volvo Penta were already running operations in the country.
Volvo CE also completed the acquisition of the shares in Lingong, a large producer of construction equipment in China, giving it two brands, Volvo CE and SDLG.
In India the Group set up a joint venture, VECV, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd, with the company, Eicher Motors, in Pithampur. Eicher was the third largest producer of trucks in India. Volvo Buses were already running production since 1998 in Bangalore, India.
The ground-breaking ceremony for the Group’s plant in Kaluga in Russia took place 2007. The plan was to produce trucks and construction equipment at this plant.
Volvo Aero to GKN
The Group sold Volvo Aero to the British company, GKN.
The Volvo Group now comprised a wide range of different brands and interest focused on positioning them on the market and clarifying their roles.
Two new brands
A partnership agreement was signed with the Chinese vehicle manufacturer, Dongfeng, as a result of which the Group would acquire 45 per cent of a new subsidiary called DFCV.
The Volvo Group acquired the Scottish company, Terex Equipment, which specialises in tipper trucks.