Since the 1960s Volvo cars have had a reputation for safety in crashes, rather than speed or handling ability. The Volvo design team patented the 3-point seatbelt but soon after released it to the public, making Volvo the first company to offer as standard equipment this restraint. Volvo also was the first company to produce cars with padded dashboards starting in late 1956 with their Amazon model. In 2000, Volvo introduced its Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), a safety device to prevent injury of front seat users during collisions. However by the mid-1990s there was little to distinguish most manufacturers on safety when put through tests such as NCAP. In the early 1970s Volvo acquired the car-making division of the Dutch company DAF, and marketed their small cars as Volvos before releasing the Dutch-built 340 series. Smaller Volvos are still built in the Netherlands.
Volvo now consists of two parts:
- Volvo Group - the manufacturing of commercial vehicles, etc. owned by Swedish interests.
- Volvo Cars - the manufacturing of automobiles owned by Ford Motor Company.
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