Volvo Car Corporation, or Volvo Personvagnar AB, is a Swedish automobile manufacturer founded in 1927, in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. Volvo was originally formed as a subsidiary company to the ball bearing maker SKF. When Volvo AB was introduced on the Swedish stock exchange in 1935, SKF sold most of the shares in the company. Volvo Cars was owned by AB Volvo until 1999, when it was acquired by the Ford Motor Company as part of its Premier Automotive Group. Geely Holding Group then acquired Volvo from Ford in 2010.
Volvo produces models ranging from SUVs, station wagons (estates), and sedans (saloons), to compact executive sedans and coupes. With approximately 2,300 local dealers from around 100 national sales companies worldwide, the US is Volvo Cars' largest market, followed by Sweden, the United Kingdom, China and Germany. In 2010, Volvo recorded global sales of 373,525 cars, an increase of 11.2% compared to 2009.
Volvo is often compared to and nicknamed tractors, partially because Volvo AB was and still is a manufacturer of heavy equipment, earlier Bolinder-Munktell, now Volvo Construction Equipment. Some consumers considered older models to be slow and heavy, thus earning the distinction, "brick", as a term of endearment for the classic, block-shaped Volvo, with the more powerful turbocharged variants known as "turbobricks". The company moved away from the boxy styles of the 1970s and 1980s, to models which gained a reputation for sporting performance, including the factory-supported Volvo 240 turbos, which won the 1985 European Touring Car Championship (ETC) and 1986 Australian Touring Car Championship (ATCC).
Volvo is known for its high safety standards. Owners are often proud of achieving high mileage; one well-documented 1966 Volvo P1800 has been driven over 2.8 million miles, a Guinness World Record for most miles driven by a single owner in a non-commercial vehicle. According to some figures, the average age of a Volvo being discarded is 19.8 years, second only to Mercedes.