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Volvo is a Latin word, meaning “I roll”
The Volvo name was established 100 years ago, when the company was founded by Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson. It was originally for the ball bearing production part of the business at that time.
The first Volvo car went into mass production in 1927 and was designed to offer safety and quality – a commitment that remains at the heart of the brand to this day.
Volvo takes innovation seriously
Think of a feature that is now taken for granted on the modern automobile and the chances are that Volvo had a hand in developing it. The three-point seat belt was invented by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin in 1959, though Volvo didn’t patent it as it believes that safety is for everyone.
The company also pioneered the Lambda Sensor catalytic converter in 1976, underscoring its environmental credentials. It introduced the Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) in the 1990s and has since launched a number of collision-prevention devices, such as City Safety, which monitors other road users and brings the car to a halt if an impact looks likely.
For Volvo, comfort is a priority
As well as safety, Volvo is renowned for the comfort of its vehicles. It’s all part of the company’s “cool outside, warm inside” design philosophy, which ensures the clean exterior lines of its cars are complemented by luxurious interiors, in which it is a pleasure to spend time. Volvo even worked with orthopaedic surgeons in the 1960s on its seat design.
Just ask the people of Kilcullen, in Ireland, whose Town Hall Theatre is fitted out with seats from the S80 luxury saloon. This is thanks to the efforts of local Volvo dealer Pat Dunlea, who saw the seats being used in a theatre at the S80’s launch in Gothenburg, and asked the company to donate them to his local theatre after the event. Volvo readily agreed – ensuring Kilcullen’s residents enjoy their drama from a uniquely comfy vantage point.
Volvo makes the earth move – literally
To be certain of the strength of its vehicles, Volvo has a highly unusual piece of machinery in its Gothenburg test lab. Originally intended to assess how buildings withstand earthquakes, Volvo has modified it to crash test cars.
The company carries out 450 full-scale tests per year, taking up to 10 days to prepare for a full test. Cameras then record 1,000 frames per second and the crash test barrier weighs 800 tonnes. That’s how the company secures its reputation for building the world’s safest vehicles, inspiring confidence among motorists across the globe.
Volvo is committed to driver safety
Such is Volvo’s commitment to road safety, it has its own Accident Research Team. These specialists have analysed more than 40,000 accidents since 1970, either by visiting their aftermath in person or recreating them in Volvo’s test lab.
“In consequence,” explains Volvo’s head of business sales, Selwyn Cooper, “we have developed a deep understanding of what actually happens in accidents, and draw on this in designing ever-greater safety systems. This all works towards our target that by 2020, no one will be killed or seriously injured while travelling in one of our new cars.”
Also, the Volvo V40 has been awarded the highest score ever by EuroNCAP, making it the safest car produced.
Volvos go the distance
The highest recorded mileage on a Volvo is three million, which has been clocked up by American Irv Gordon in the P1800 he’s owned since he bought it new in 1966. That’s a lot more than the figure needed to join Volvo’s high mileage club: 150,000 miles gets you bronze membership, 300,000 secures silver, and 500,000 makes you a gold member.
In each case, a special badge can be ordered to share your vehicle’s achievement with the world. And of course, the existence of such a club tells you everything you need to know about the durability of Volvo’s vehicles.
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