Volvo is celebrating its 85th year by having the first mass-produced ÖV4 vehicle model pass through the Lundby factory gates in Göteborg. The vehicle was driven by Volvo Car Corporation President and CEO Stefan Jacoby and Volvo Group President and CEO Olof Persson. On April 14, 1927, at 10am, the same vehicle model passed through exactly the same gates with sales manager Hilmer Johansson behind the wheel.
Jacoby commented that the vehicle was "fantastic," adding that it is "easy to see" how much has changed through the past 85 years. The Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Group are two companies with a long shared history.
They started as one company at that time as a very bleak project because Volvo's founders Gustaf Larson and Assar Gabrielsson did not have direct experience of the automotive industry or vehicles. In the first year of production, the company sold only 300 vehicles, but the business started to take off the next year, when it began building buses and trucks. Even at that time, Volvo knew that exports are the key to success.
Persson stated that their roots are "still very important" to them. There are about 30,000 out of the 120,000 employees in Volvo Group working in Sweden, but 95% of their products are exported, Persson noted.
The corresponding figures for Volvo Car Corporation are 14,500 workers in Sweden from the 21,500 people employed worldwide. About 87% of all sales of Volvo Car are made outside the country. The Volvo Group sold its vehicle business in 1999.
The two companies have continued to develop in different segments. The Volvo Group manufactures trucks under the Renault Trucks, Volvo, Mack and UD Trucks brands. It also produces buses, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, components for aircraft engines and construction equipment. On the other hand, Volvo Car Corporation is currently in the premium segment.
In 2011, it sold about 450,000 vehicles in 120 countries. The United States is its single biggest market. The Volvo Group has a turnover of SEK 310 billion, making it the second biggest maker of heavy trucks in the world. It is also the largest company in Sweden. This group has sales organizations in 190 countries and production sites in 20 nations.