Founded in 1927 in Gothenburg, Volvo from the beginning made safety in automobiles the company's primary goal. The company's first car, the Volvo OV 4, was produced in 1927, and the radiator design for that car, the now-trademark stripe through a grille, is still in use today, though it has been somewhat modified over time. The first Volvo on the American market was the PV444 in 1955, sold in California and then Texas and then the rest of North America the next year. Although today they are separate companies under separate ownership, the Volvo Group (which builds commercial vehicles) and the Volvo Car Corp (which makes cars) use the same logos and trademark.
Through its history, Volvo has been marked as an innovator and first-adopter of safety technologies. Volvo is credited with making laminated safety glass a standard in the 1940s, inventing the three-point safety harness still in use today (standard in all Volvo cars as of 1959 and giving the licensing away for free to other automakers). Volvo also developed the first rear-facing child safety seat (1964) and a booster seat in 1978. Volvo also introduced Side Impact Protection, which channeled side impact force away from the doors in 1991 – something that is now standard on all automobiles. In 1995, Volvo introduced side airbags, making them standard in their cars in 1996. Volvo is also credited with developing air bag technologies, Blind Spot Warning systems, side marker and daytime running lights, and many other safety innovations that are standards today.
Although the company often does not make crash safety tests lists from American and European safety boards, they have a strong reputation for crash survival and occupant safety. The company explains that this is because they focus on safety itself, not passing safety tests. In recent years, Volvo has begun scoring well on those safety tests despite not building towards them.