Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 10th October 2017

From the time it was founded in 1927, Volvo strived to make cars that were reliable and safe. The company expanded across the globe, creating a variety of vehicles, including classic motors and trucks. 2017 marks Volvo’s 90th anniversary, and to celebrate we’ve done some research and found a few things you might not have known about the company. Here are five fabulous facts about Volvo.

The name means ‘I roll’

The word Volvo is Latin for ‘I roll,’ shortened from ‘volvere.’ Company founders Gustav Larson and Assar Gabrielsson had originally created Volvo as a separate company within Swedish ball bearing manufacturer SKF in 1915. They later decided Volvo was better used for creating cars and SKF became the trademark for ball bearing products.

Volvo’s logo isn’t the male gender symbol

Volvo’s logo is a circle with a diagonal arrow pointing to the right, and though it might look like a symbol for the male gender, it’s actually the chemical symbol for iron. The emblem has been around for thousands of years. To the Ancient Romans, it represented the war god Mars. Iron was an important material in warfare, so the symbol became associated with battle.

Volvo’s logo represents safety, strength and durability.

Volvo invented a safe version of the seat belt

Seat belts were invented in the mid-19th century by English engineer George Cayley. However, early versions were more likely to cause injury than to keep people safe. Recognising the need for a change, Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin designed the three-point seat belt and it became mandatory for every new car. The first motor to feature the three-point seat belt was the 1959 PV544. Volvo have estimated seat belts have saved well over one million people since their introduction.

Volvo built an amphibious tank

Since the beginning, Volvo have built cars, buses, construction equipment and even military vehicles. One of the most impressive military projects was the BM-Volvo BV202, a vehicle built for the Swedish army. It could navigate through deep snow and even float on water!

The first Volvo car was called Jakob

The first Volvo car was the Oppen Vagn 4 cylindrar, or OV4 for short. It featured an ash and beech wooden frame and a 4-cylinder engine. One of the ten prototypes built in 1926 was called Jakob, and this lead to all OV4s to be referred to by the same name.