STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Its been 80 years since the drawings for Volvos first truck the Series 1 were completed, and in a few short months the manufacturers first truck would roll off the line. Volvos trucks have come a long way in almost 80 years. The Series 1 has 28 horsepower and could carry 1.5 tonnes, but today, Volvos largest truck which company officials are pitching as the most powerful in the world boasts a 660 hp engine and can haul 200 tonnes.
There have been many changes in technology since 33-year-old economist, Assar Gabrielsson, linked with engineer, Gustaf Larson, to create a company based on equal parts quality and safety.
After gaining a firm foothold in the European market, Volvo began a period of global expansion in the 70s, including a move to North American in the late 70s and early 80s. In 1981 Volvo acquired US truck-maker White, signalling the start of sales for Volvo trucks in North America.
In the years ahead, Volvo made many other acquisitions, most notably in 1999 when it acquired French truck manufacturer Renault and its subsidiary, Mack Trucks in 1999. The aim of these was to generate economies of scale so as to develop more efficient trucks that meet both forthcoming environmental legislation and increasingly tough productivity demands, Volvo officials say. The move made Volvo Europes largest and the worlds second largest manufacturer of heavy trucks.
During the following seven years, truck operations were successfully integrated within the Volvo Group. The three brands live and develop alongside each other and each has its own specific target groups.
Most recently, it was announced that Volvo intends to continue its growth by acquiring all of Japans Nissan Diesel.
2006 was yet another record year for Volvo Trucks and the company faces with considerable confidence a future characterised by major challenges, not least environmental demands on tomorrows trucks, Volvo officials said in a release. Volvo is all set to roll with confidence towards its next 80 years of operation.
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