Hilmer Johansson, a sales manager, drove the first mass-produced Volvo ÖV4 through the factory gates at 10am on April 14th, 1927.
The same exact Vovlo ÖV4 model that Johansson drove will pass through exactly the same gates to celebrate Volvo's 85th birthday.
Who will be driving the car this time though? Stefan Jacoby, President and CEO of Volvo Car Corporation, and Olof Persson, President and CEO of the Volvo Group, will be in the Volvo ÖV4.
"It's a fantastic car, but it's easy to see how much has changed over the last 85 years," says Stefan Jacoby.
Indeed quite a lot has changed for Volvo over the past 85 years. In 1999, the Volvo Group sold it's car division, Volvo Car Corporation, to Ford Motor Company. This separated the commercial and consumer divisions of the company. Volvo was recently acquired by Geely, a Chinese automaker, in 2010. A partnership with Fiat is currently in the works.
Volvo's founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson had no direct experience of cars or the automotive industry, but were still able to make it the competitive auto industry. During its first year of production, Volvo sold a modest 300 cars. However, in the following year business really began to take off, when the company expanded the operations manufacturing trucks and buses.
Even back then, Volvo realized that the key to success lay in exporting it's vehicles to gain a larger market share. "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 Volvo Group and Volvo Car Corporation are two companies with a long shared history though. Both companies have continued to grow, just working to satisfy different market for transportation.
The Volvo Car Corporation is a leader in providing drivers with luxury vehicles. Last year the automaker sold around 450,000 cars in 120 countries, with the US being the largest market.
The Volvo Group builds trucks under the Volvo and several other brands which includes Renault Trucks, Mack and UD Trucks. The Volvo Group also manufactures buses, construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications and components for aircraft engines. With a turnover of 310 billion Swedish Kronors (US $45.67 billion dollars), The Volvo Group is the world's second largest manufacturer of heavy trucks and Sweden's largest company. The company continues to be innovative constantly improving it's products, with vehicles like the Mean Green Hybrid Dragster. The group has production facilities in 20 countries and 190 sales organizations across the globe.
To further celebrate Volvo's birthday and this important historical event for the company, the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg will hold an open house from 11:00 am- 4:00 pm today, April 14th. Another event that is scheduled to take place, if weather permits, a parade to the city center with both new and vintage Volvo vehicles will be showcased.
Happy 85th Birthday Volvo! We hope to see you in business for another 85 years.