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|Founder(s)||John G. Gronvall|
Today Volvo Penta provides internal combustion engines (ICEs) and complete power systems for leisure boats, workboats, power-generating equipment, and similar industrial applications. The business also manufacturers sterndrive and inboard drive systems such as the Volvo Penta IPS.
Volvo Penta operates worldwide and has one of the industry's strongest brand names and the largest dealer networks with more than 5,000 dealers globally. The engine programme comprises petroleum fuel (diesel and petrol) engines with power outputs of between 7.5 and 1,500 kilowatts (10 and 2,039 PS; 10 and 2,012 bhp).
In 1868, engineer John G Grönvall founded a mechanical workshop and foundry in Skövde, Sweden. The business of John G Grönvall & Co was to supply everyday items. The company became limited in 1875, known as Sköfde Gjuteri och Mekaniska Verkstad or simply Gjuteriet. Products ranged from pots and vents to stoves and brewery equipment. Soon Gjuteriet also started manufacturing agriculture equipment and various equipment for saw mills.
In 1907, a very fruitful co-operation with the Stockholm based engineering company Fritz Egnell begun, with a one cylinder 3 hp compression ignition engine. The engine was simply named B1 - but a five men committee was set to find a name that would catch on. The committee failed, but as they were five, they settled for Penta.[clarification needed]
In 1916, Egnell bought the company and the name changed to AB Pentaverken. Production was concentrated to engines, mostly for maritime applications.
The years immediately after WW1 were economically very harsh, but a new product saved the company. It was the small two cylinder U2 outboard engine designed by Carl-Axel Skärlund. The U2 was slightly improved in 1926, and renamed U21. It remained in production up to 1962. The U2/U21 was a great success and exported worldwide. In many countries, U21 is still synonymous with outboard engine.
In 1925, Penta was approached by Assar Gabrielsson, the founder of Volvo, who needed an engine for the first Volvo automobile. Penta then designed the four cylinder 28 hp (21 kW) side valve Typ DA engine for the Volvo ÖV 4.
- "Volvo Penta cuts jobs", Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Ill.) (November 17, 1991). Retrieved on 25 February 2010.
- Wagner, Lon (May 8, 1995). "Volvo Penta Of The Americas: What's In A Name? After Years Of Being Regarded As Safe, Staid And Reliable, Volvo Penta Is Re-Examining The Role Of Its Brand Name Inthe Making Of Fast And Exciting Marine Engines.", Virginian-Pilot, p. 10. Retrieved on 25 February 2010.
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