Experience the Past, Present and Future of Swedish Car Maker No. 1

Swedish Car Maker No. 1

Volvo Cars has a long and rich history of designing and engineering its cars around people. Learn more about where it all began, where the company is today and how Volvo aims to lead the way to a new era of sustainable mobility, connected services and self-driving cars. Experience the past, present and future of Swedish Car Maker No. 1.

Volvo was founded upon the concept of safety in 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden: “Cars are driven by people. The guiding principle behind everything we make at Volvo, therefore, is and must remain, safety,” said the company’s founders Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson back in 1927.

The first car manufactured was an Amazon, while the PV544 was never built in Torslanda.

The Volvo Museum will take you from the first car was built back in 1927, through concept cars, historic rally racers and a few surprises, too. And don’t forget the fighter jets.

Experience the Past, Present and Future of Swedish Car Maker No. 1
The first VOLVO car manufactured was an Amazon, while the PV544 was never built in Torslanda.

The Torslanda Plant

Success and expansion in the latter 1950s led management to begin planning for the Torslanda Plant in 1959 in a rural area that had been intended by city planners as a future industrial use. As well, infrastructure had already been in place, the port and the open sea were nearby, and the city of Gothenburg’s airport was also located in Torslanda.

Experience the Past, Present and Future of Swedish Car Maker No. 1
Volvo was founded upon the concept of safety in 1927

In the Volvo Brand Experience Center, you can feel what makes each Volvo truly a Volvo. Typical visitors are companies, organizations and schools having guided tours around the exhibitions focusing on design, safety, environment and connected cars. A tour lasts for 1.5 hour and is available in both Swedish and English.

The Torslanda plant was inaugurated on Friday 24 April 1964. Containing 200,000 square metres of factory floorspace at its inception, production capacity was originally planned at 110,000 cars a year in single-shift operation, with the possibility of increasing to 150,000 cars in two-shift operation. The annual production record from 1973, when 178,000 cars left the factory, still held, as of 2004.

Production on a smaller scale had actually begun in 1962, when approximately a third of the factory was ready to assemble. The Volvo 144, and a completely new model, was launched into production in late summer 1966.

Swedish Car Maker No. 1
Volvo Amazon, 1957

The Swedish-Norwegian Volvo Deal

In the late 1970s a plan for industrial cooperation between Norway and Sweden was launched. Norway would get 40% of the shares of the Volvo car manufacturing concern, while Volvo would get control over oil resources on the Norwegian continental shelf. The plan was rejected in January 1979 by Volvo’s shareholders, who believed that Volvo was being sold too cheaply and that the Norwegian oil industry was not worth so much. Parts of the Norwegian Storting (parliament) were also skeptical.

Swedish Car Maker No. 1
Volvo Amazon custom coupe, 1966

This was an important moment in Norwegian and Swedish economic history. Norway’s oil resources later gave rise to significant wealth, some of which was spent while some was saved in the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

Volvo Cars Visitor Center

Today, you can experience a factory tour at the Torslanda plant going through the entire Volvo Cars production process, from rolls of sheet metal to finished cars. You’ll get to explore how humans and robots work hand in hand to build the Volvo cars.

Experience the Past, Present and Future of Swedish Car Maker No. 1
From the Volvo Visiting Center

Volvo Cars was separated from its former parent conglomerate and producer of heavy trucks, buses and construction equipment (among others). In 1999, AB Volvo sold its automobile division Volvo Cars to Ford Motor Company. In 2010, Ford sold loss-making Volvo Cars to the Chinese company Geely.

By 2014, Volvo Cars successfully completed an expansion of its Torslanda plant in its home town of Gothenburg. Volvo used the Torslanda plant for production of the 2nd Generation XC90. The expansion included a new body shop that was used to manufacture the new XC90, which was the first vehicle to ride on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture and added 24,000 square meters to the plant’s footprint, boosting the facility’s annual capacity from 200,000 vehicles to 300,000 vehicles.

Swedish Car Maker No. 1
Train at Volvo Visiting Center

In 2020, Volvo Cars reopened Torslanda manufacturing plant and offices in Sweden. Volvo Cars was publicly listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm stock exchange in 2021, though Geely still retains majority ownership. Volvo Cars and AB Volvo both share the Volvo logo, and cooperate in running the Volvo Museum.


Swedish Car Maker No. 1
Volvo C40 recharge

In the Volvo Cars Visitor Centre, the International Café & Brand Shop offers a range of snacks, meals and Volvo-themed merchandise. A perfect pit-stop for buying some presents or just grabbing a coffee.

Experience the Past, Present and Future of Swedish Car Maker No. 1, written by Tor Kjolberg.

Feature image (on top)VOLVO ev 2022 XC40 coupe


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Journalist, PR and marketing consultant Tor Kjolberg has several degrees in marketing management. He started out as a marketing manager in Scandinavian companies and his last engagement before going solo was as director in one of Norway’s largest corporations. Tor realized early on that writing engaging stories was more efficient and far cheaper than paying for ads. He wrote hundreds of articles on products and services offered by the companies he worked for. Thus, he was attuned to the fact that storytelling was his passion.