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Volvo, producer of the "Swedish Car," is currently one of the leading construction equipment manufacturers in the world. Although the company is intimately linked with famed Swedish engineers dating back to 1832, the company was not officially formed until 1927.

While Volvo is renowned for its place in the automobile industry, it sold its car division to Ford in 1999 and now focuses on commercial vehicles (buses, trucks); construction, marine and aerospace technology; as well as financial services.Through various mergers and acquisitions, Volvo has developed a comprehensive line of equipment.

It currently produces 150 different types of equipment in more than 200 countries. With over 80,000 employees, it currently ranks 185th on the Fortune 500 Global List. Annual revenues for 2006 are more than US$35 billion.[1]


[edit] History

[edit] Early Contributors

Volvo's history begins with the first engineering developments of Johan Theofron Munktell. As the developer of Sweden's first printing press, Munktell developed an idea for a business based on "quality, innovation, and technical expertise."[2] By 1839, Munktell had built his first engineering plant, which manufactured products for infrastructure, industry, and agriculture.

Two other important engineers in Volvo's history are Jean and Carl Gerhard Bolinder who became major manufacturers of saw frames and steam engines. These three men continued to advance the construction industry through a variety of steam-powered machines such as trains and tractors. Their developments were essential for the innovation of the construction business.

In 1932, Munktell's tractor company merged with Bolinder's, who were making advancements with engines, to become AB Bolinder-Munktell (BM).

[edit] Founding Volvo

In April 1927, two men, Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson, met to discuss the formation of a Swedish car company. They named the company Volvo, which means, "I roll" in Latin.

Early in production Volvo was determined to compete with the American market. Initially Volvo did not make any automobile parts. Instead it purchased all components from different Swedish manufacturers. In fact, the only role Volvo played in production was the designing and assembling of the cars. Still, despite a variety of problems Volvo managed to stay competitive by utilizing global markets. Most other countries were unwilling to reach outside of their own nations to find components, whereas Volvo wanted the best parts despite their origins.

Co-founder Gabrielsson said, "We bought where we found the best product. Our purchasing field became larger and more varied since we did not need to have any consideration for nationalist feelings."[3]

This sentiment echoes throughout Volvo's entire history.

During World War II, Volvo switched its focus and delegated a significant amount of its efforts on the production of aircraft engines, gas-operated tractors, and crawler dozers for the Swedish Air Force.

[edit] Acquisitions and New Products

After the war Volvo acquired AB Bolinder-Munktell. Together, they made significant advancements for a burgeoning market. BM Volvo developed the first diesel engine tractor in 1952, the first wheel loader in 1954 (the forerunner to the Articulated wheel loader), and the first articulated hauler in 1956 (nicknamed "Gravel Charlie").

By 1977, Volvo was concentrating its focus on construction equipment.

After its success teaming with BM, Volvo decided to merge with Clark Michigan Co. and its subsidiary Euclid to form VME in 1985.

Clark spent most of its early history dealing in drilling equipment, but decided to move into construction equipment in 1952. Clark acquired Euclid in 1983 for its ability to manufacture quality haulers.

In 1995, Volvo bought out Clark and gained full ownership of VME, changing its name to Volvo Construction Equipment. That same year Volvo acquired Pel-Job, a French company and Europe's first manufacturer of compact excavators. Volvo also added wheel loaders, A40 articulated haulers and Ackerman Excavators to its production line.

Volvo continued its acquisitions throughout the 1990s. It purchased Champion Machinery, the Canadian roadbuilding company, for its respected grader. It also became the first foreign investor in Korean industry by purchasing Samsung Heavy Equipment Construction in 1998. With the Samsung purchase, Volvo entered the excavator market, which they eagerly wanted a piece of.

All these acquisitions have made Volvo a powerhouse in the construction equipment market. The new technology has also made Volvo an innovator itself. In 2001 it developed its very own loader backhoe.

In 2002, Volvo purchased the exclusive design and manufacturing rights from American manufacturer Scat Trak for five skid steer loaders.[4]

[edit] The Company Today

The Volvo Group deals in a few different industries: trucks, buses, marine, air, construction, and financial advising. The current CEO of Volvo Group is Leif Johansson while the CEO for Volvo Construction Equipment is Tony Helsham.

Volvo is no longer traded on NASDAQ, but continues on the Stockholm Exchange under the moniker VOLV B.

[edit] Equipment List

[edit] References

  1. Fortune 500. Money CNN. 2008-09-22.
  2. History. Volvo. 2008-09-22.
  3. Gabrielsson, Assar. Thirty-Year History of Volvo.
  4. Volvo acquires scat trak line. The Free Library [July 7, 2009].

[edit] External Links