Nobody expected it – Sweden’s car industry is still departing strong. With Saab and Volvo being iconic brands, well known all across the globe, their headquarters being just 50 miles away from each other – Saab is stationed in Trollhättan, Volvo’s headquarters are in Gothenburg, those two could not be more alike and yet different. Before Volvo was sold to Ford and Saab to General Motors, both car makers were part of giant Swedish truck makers but this time is now long gone.

The Differences

With a long history and a bunch of ups and downs – mostly for Saab – both brands have been through a lot.

Let’s sum up some important milestones:

ABC Photo /

• Volvo was founded more than 80 years ago, namely in the same year when their first car, ÖV4 (nicknamed Jakob) left the factory in Gothenburg, in 1927

• Saab’s way to automobile manufacturing took a bit longer, being founded in 1938, in Tröllhattan Sweden, as an aircraft manufacturer. They only started in 1945 to work on automobiles, Ursaab being Saab’s first prototype of that kind.

• General Motors bought 50% of Saab in 1989 for an astonishing $600 million and the other half in 2000, for $125 million more.

• In 1999, Ford bought Volvo for the unbelievable amount of $6.45 billion.

• In 2010 Volvo produced 375,000 cars.

• Saab produced 32,000 cars in its final year before shutting down (2011).

Maxim Lysenko /
Maxim Lysenko /

• In 2010 the Chinese Zheijiang Geely Holding Group Company bought Volvo from Ford.

• In 2012 a Chinese-Swedish investment group Nevs bought the company Saab. The new owners wanted to focus on electric cars, trying to revive the brand. In 2014 Saab has halted production at its plant in Trollhättan, because its owner, the Chinese-owned National Electric Vehicle Sweden, could not pay the bills.

Are the Swedes Finished?

Now, in 2015, the situation is at a real low for one of those two, with Saab having become one of the first automotive casualties of the global financial crisis. All Eyes are on Volvo now, being the very last bastion of Sweden’s once so proud automobile industry.

Volvo is eager to impress and astonish all of us. All quietly the company has been developing new platforms and engines in the past years, planning to soon reemerge even stronger than before.

The release of the all-new 2016 XC90 SUV model is just around the corner and it will be the best Volvo in years. By 2018, the company will have eight other all-new models on the market, replacing their entire line.

This might be the last chance to prove that Swedish cars have more to offer than just a unique personality.