Auto Maker Series: Sweden (9A) Volvo

Introduction to Swedish car maker series.

Polaris

Polestar is a Swedish automotive brand established in 1996 by Volvo Cars partner Flash/Polestar Racing and acquired in July of 2015 by Volvo. The racing team changed its name to Cyan Racing, but maintained good relations with Volvo. Polestar shares began trading on the Nasdaq exchange in June of 2022.

Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, the company origins can be traced back to the foundation of Flash Engineering in 1996. In the 2000s, team was sold and rebranded to Polestar Racing, where they began engineering their own racing Volvos. The brand became the official Volvo partner to modify existing models in 2009, and in 2015 Volvo bought the brand so they could offer enhanced models directly from their resellers.

For a review of the Polestar 2 BST Edition – Review follow this link.

Polestar 2

Polestars first concept car in 2010 was the C30, with its 400 BPH, which they unveiled at the 2010 Gothenburg Motor show. The 2.5L Turbo engine with larger intercooler and KK & K 26 turbo, modified pistons, conrods and inlet camshaft power this beast. Giving it that race car handling Haldex AWD with Quaife mechanical differential brake front and rear, Öhlins shock absorbers and springs with 2.25 ratio steering rack, Brembo 380 mm front brake discs with six piston calipers, Brembo 330 mm rear brake discs with four piston calipers.

The C30’s heir, the Volvo S60 Polestar Concept, pushed the break horse power to 508. This car does 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds and tops out at 190 MPH. And of course it looks cool.

Volvo

Volvo cars got their start on on April 14, 1927, because that’s when the first Volvo rolled off the assembly line, not when they were incorporated as most car companies typically consider their date of founding. Volvo the company got their start in 1915 as a subsidiary of SKF, a ball bearing manufacturer.

Currently, The Volvo Group, is a Swedish manufacturing corporation headquartered in Gothenburg. It’s  the world’s second-largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks, but they also make buses and construction equipment, marine and industrial drive equipment. The name means “I roll” in Latin, which is sort of funny given that Swedish is primarily derived from German.

1999, Volvo Cars sold to the Ford Motor Company and as of 2010 they are owned by the automotive company Geely Holding Group.

The first Volvo car

The idea behind the 1927, Volvo ÖV 4 was to build cars that could withstand Sweden’s rough roads and cold temperatures. Only 280 cars were built that first year. The next year Volvo made their first truck, which quickly became popular in Europe. The cars were not well known outside Sweden until after WWII.

Volvo began trading on the Stockholm Stock Exchange in 1935, and over the next few decades they acquired a few companies, all vehicle makers, which diversified their manufacturing. In the 1970’s they acquired non-manufacturing companies and veered further and further from being a car maker at all.

In 1977 Volvo attempted to merge with SAAB but was rejected. By 1981 auto sales accounted for only a quarter of Volvo revenue so the car portion was spun off into it’s own entity. French car maker Renault had been collaborating with Volvo since 1970, and when Volvo Car became it’s own entity Renault became a minor shareholder, only to sell back that share two years later. The 1990’s brought a deeper partnership between the two companies, sharing testing, development, and safety technology. In 1997 an attempted merger fell through and the two companies parted ways for good.

Volvo Museum in Gothenburg

Also in the 90’s, Volvo joint ventured with Mitsubishi at the former DAF plant in Born, Netherlands. The effort, called NedCar, would produce the first generation Mitsubishi Carisma and the Volvo S40/V40 in 1996. Volvo also dabbled in joint ventures with GM in the 90’s and attempted to merge with major commercial vehicle maker  Scania AB. The latter effort was blocked by the European Union.

Ultimately, Volvo Group sold Volvo Car Corporation to Ford Motor Company for $6.45 billion in January 1999, and went back to focusing on heavy haulers and big commercial vehicles. Ford made good use of the deal with the second generation Land Rover Freelander designed on the same platform as the second generation Volvo S80. The Volvo T5 petrol engine was used in the Ford Focus ST and RS performance models, and Volvo’s satellite navigation system going into select Aston Martins.

Volvo Group dabbled in Mitsubishi Motors, then sold that off a year later to DaimlerChrysler who were making a larger move on the company. Later Volvo Group acquired most of Renault’s heavy industries, including Mac Truck, and Renault continued to acquire shares in Volvo and Volvo group bought shares in Nissan Diesel, a part of the the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Volvo Group took complete ownership of Nissan Diesel in 2007. If this is already confusing, just know it gets worse from there and has little to do with car making.

Volvo cars is currently owned by Geely, a massive Chinese car maker, which we’ll cover in the Automakers Series Part 7.

Lynk & Co

This Chinese-Swedish automobile brand owned by Geely Automobile Holdings was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2016, to target a young professional demographic by exploring internet connectivity and innovative purchasing models.

Lynk & Co 01

Yes it’s owned by the same parent company as Volvo and represents a close partnership. China Euro Vehicle Technology AB or CEVT developed a standard platform for Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) which Volvo uses and Lynk & Co announced three designs on that platform they intend to manufacture. Namely the crossover 01, the 03 sedan, and the 02, a smaller crossover based on the Volvo XC40. The 01 and 03 are already in production in China as of 2017.

Inspired by Tesla, Lynk & Co. sells directly to consumers over the net, though they opened 221 retail outlets in China as of 2019 and are expanding into Europe. In their first full year of sales, 2018, Lynk & Co reported sales of 120,414 vehicles in China.

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