Volvo logo history
When the bearing company SKF decided to found a car-manufacturing division, they picked a recognizable and simple logo to represent the brand. A circle with an arrow at the top right side, pointing diagonally upwards, has been long known as a chemical symbol of iron. In the Roman Empire this sign stood for Mars planet and symbolized that god of warfare and male gender. As long as most weapons were made of iron at the time, a strong connection between the symbol and the metal was established. As time went by, it became the de-facto symbol of the iron industry.
Thus, Volvo creators intended to highlight the strength, quality, durability and safety of their vehicles. They also honored the Swedish iron industry traditions. At the same time, the logo appealed to masculine nature of the customers, with cars being mainly men’s business at the time.
The diagonal stripe, crossing the radiator and complementing the logo, was initially a technical necessity to support the badge. However, as design of the cars changed, the stripe was removed from the front of the vehicle, but was later returned onto the grille as a styling and heritage feature. The Volvo inscription is now embedded into the iron symbol.
In 1927 the Swedish bearing manufacturer SKF, based in Gothenburg, decided to launch its own car production and used a registered trademark ‘Volvo’ to name the new division. The word means ‘I roll’ in Latin and symbolizes the company’s bearing roots. It was also picked due to easy spelling and pronunciation simplicity. The appointed executives Assar Gabrielsson and Gustav Larson claimed they would build the safest and the most secure cars, durable enough for rough Swedish climate and roads. These simple guidelines have emphasized Volvo evolution through times and earned it the reputation of a manufacturer, building solid and reliable cars, caring about people.
The first car, wearing a Volvo badge, was ÖV4, which stood for ‘4-cylinder open car’. However, a cabriolet was not a perfect match for Swedish climate and the company soon introduced a hardtop version. However, it was not until the company introduced their compact PV444 model in post-war years that the sales got a major boost. Embracing American styling, affordable price and innovations like laminated windscreen, this car found over 200,000 customers and made Volvo’s way to US market. The Swedish manufacturer has always emphasized its commitment to safety and kept introducing innovations in the field. In 1958 the company’s engineer Nils Bohlin revealed a three-point safety belt, which went on to become standard on all Volvo vehicles since 1959.
Moreover, the owners waived the patent to make it available to all manufacturers, highlighting their commitment to safety standards. Later on they patented the rearward-facing child safety seat, side airbags and inflatable curtains. Volvo is also a leader in innovative electronic safety systems. Roll-over protection system, important for SUVs, blind spot information system, city safety systems, preventing cars from minor collisions at city speeds and many others were all introduced by the Swedish company.
In 1999 Volvo Cars division was separated from Volvo Group and sold to Ford Motor Company. However, after less than 10 years of ownership, the American giant got in financial trouble after the 2008 crisis and had to sell the Swedish brand. It was a Chinese auto giant Zhejiang Geely Holding Group that acquired the brand for around $1.8 billion, nearly four times less than Ford paid to Volvo Group. Today Volvo produces premium cars with crisp Scandinavian design and outstanding safety record. Volvo Group, producing trucks, buses and construction machinery, has been an independent company since 1999.
Volvo Car Emblems
Official Volvo website: VolvoCars.com