Swedish Car Brands

Swedish car brands: Everything you need to now about Swedish auto companies

Swedish car brands are well-known around the world, and you can typically associate the largest brands with reliability. You will find several types of cars from Sweden, ranging from ones designed for families to Swedish luxury cars.

In addition to the larger companies still operating today, many Swedish car brands have now become defunct or become part of something different. All of them, however, have played a key role in shaping the landscape that you see today.

Swedish car companies have a huge influence domestically and in other Scandinavian countries. And if you go further afield, you will also notice a wide selection of exports to other regions far and wide. Some are primarily designed for business, whereas others focus on personal use.

Sweden has positioned itself as one of the world’s leaders in sustainable thinking and innovation in recent years. And naturally, you will find plenty of cars that fit very much within this ethos. Swedish car design is also pretty unique compared to much of the globe.

This article will provide a list of well-known Swedish car brands, both those still existing and others that are no longer around. You will learn a bit about their history, what they’re up to now, and much more.

And so, without further ado, let’s hop in.

What kinds of cars do Swedish brands make?

The Swedish automobile industry is pretty varied, and you will find all kinds of cars, trucks, and lorries.

Perhaps the most famous kind of Swedish car is Volvo’s suite of cars, which are largely designed for consumers rather than businesses. You will find a wide selection of four and five-seater, and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

In addition to the Volvo, Scania’s trucks and lorries are something that you’ve probably seen in at least one place. Many of these are designed to carry heavy materials en-masse around, such as food products and construction goods.

These are an especially common sight on motorways in Sweden and other countries.

You might not associate Sweden with luxury cars, and owning something fancy definitely doesn’t fit in with the ethos of Janteloven.

Nonetheless, you will find a selection of more high-end cars available for sale in the country if you want to try something a little more unique from the Italian counterparts you’re probably used to seeing.

If you want to join the trend of electric cars and green technology, you will find several Swedish car companies that have begun catering to this particular market. And on top of that, you will also find multiple models that fit into this respective category.

While you will find most of the major Swedish car brands throughout Sweden, many of them also export their vehicles to other markets around the world. As such, it’s worth checking to see whether you can find what you’re looking for where you live.

What are the main brands making cars from Sweden?

Now that you have a little more knowledge about Swedish car brands and what you can find, you’re ready to learn more about the country’s main companies in this respect. In the sections below, you will find a list of major Swedish car companies. Some of them are still operating, whereas others are now defunct.

Swedish Car Brands

Volvo Cars

Volvo is one of the most famous Swedish car makers, if not the best-known one. The brand has its headquarters on the country’s west coast and is located in Gothenburg — Sweden’s second-largest city.

Volvo is one of the most established businesses in Sweden; it was founded in 1927 by Gustav Larson and Assar Gabrielsson.

As one of the world’s most important automotive companies, Volvo is listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange. It produces a wide selection of cars that solve multiple purposes, such as SUVs.

The aim of its vehicles, when the company first came onto the scene, was to ensure that they could endure the rough Swedish winters without issues. That original idea is why you see the models you do today, which are capable of driving in all kinds of weather conditions.

While Volvo rolled out its first cars in 1927, the idea came about years beforehand. Those initial models were the result of several years’ worth of planning and conceptualization.

As the years progressed, Volvo expanded to more countries and began to specialize in a wider range of automotive products. In recent years, it has become especially involved with heavy vehicles. In fact, it was the second-biggest heavy-duty truck maker on the globe in 2016.

In 2021, Volvo made over 372 billion Swedish Kronor in revenue – which is around $33 billion. The company continues to be a significant employer in the Gothenburg region, along with around the world.

Globally, Volvo Group has 95,000 people working for the company.

As you might have expected from its significant local impact, Volvo is a huge reason behind Gothenburg’s prosperity. If you happen to find yourself in Sweden’s second-largest city, you can visit the Volvo Museum on Hisingen island.

Swedish Car Brands

Saab Automobile AB

Perhaps the best-known defunct Swedish car company is Saab Automobile, which was a part of the larger Saab Group. Saab Automobile was founded eight years after its parent company in 1945, and it originally took the Swedish market by storm before expanding further afield.

While Volvo was more of an everyday car, Saab’s vehicles had a very specific audience.

Focusing on that audience led to Saab’s popularity surging, but in the end, it was also one of its largest Achilles heels. One of its most popular models was the Saab 900, which you will almost certainly recognize if you saw it on the streets today.

Saab Automotive was a joint venture between Saab Group and General Motors for much of its history. In 2000, however, General Motors purchased Saab outright to take full ownership.

In its latter years, Spyker Cars N.V. — a Dutch company — attempted to purchase Saab. Eventually, Saab Automotive became defunct in 2016.

During its time in existence, Saab Automotive produced most of its goods in Trollhättan – a city just north of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden.

While Saab Automotive no longer exists, Saab Group is still around and prospering. The company focuses on the aerospace industry now. Its headquarters are in Stockholm, and the manufacturing for its pieces occurs in Linköping — a city in Östergötaland County.

Swedish Car Brands

Scania AB

Another of the main Swedish car brands is Scania, which is still around today and is one of the most important companies in Southern Sweden.

The name Scania is English for Skåne, which is Sweden’s southernmost county and where you will find Malmö — the country’s third-biggest city — and the university town of Lund.

Scania is one of the oldest Swedish auto manufacturers around today, having originally been founded in 1911. The companies that merged to form it were older; Scania was created when Vabis — based in Södertälje — and Maskinfabriks-Aktiebolaget from Malmö joined forces.

Over the years, Scania has become a key player in the global industry for heavy-duty vehicles. Its headquarters relocated to Södertalje, which is in the Stockholm region, in 1912 — and they have remained there ever since.

The initial merger was signed in 1910 before coming into force a year later; the original headquarters were in Malmö before moving north.

If you’ve noticed that the Scania logo looks very similar to the coat of arms for Skåne, that’s because it was derived from there.

Over its time in existence, Scania has produced parts for its vehicles in various countries across Europe — including Finland, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Around 50,000 people work for the company across the globe, with its operations extending across over 100 nations.

In 2021, Scania’s net sales went up by 17% and surpassed 146 billion SEK. The company has made a significant push toward reducing its carbon emissions in recent years, and that will continue to be a significant focus area going forward.

Swedish Car Brands

Koenigsegg Automotive AB

One of the most important Swedish car brands outside of the three already mentioned is Koenigsegg Automotive, which — like Scania — has its roots in the south of Sweden. It’s one of the most well-known brands in the Swedish car industry if we talk about performance vehicles.

Koenigsegg Automotive has been part of the Swedish car scene since 1994, and it’s one of the most exclusive brands in the country.

But while Christian von Koenigsegg founded the company toward the end of the 20th century, it wasn’t until eight years later that its inaugural car which was legal for use on the streets came about.

Since the release of the CC8S in 2002, Koenigsegg Automotive has made huge strides in the luxury car industry. And while it’s not as famous as the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, it has still won several awards from reputable publications in countries such as the UK and the US.

Koenigsegg Automotive focuses exclusively on high-performance cars, but it attempts to balance these with aesthetics. That has paid dividends so far; Forbes placed the CCXR on its list of the world’s most beautiful cars in 2009.

Koenigsegg’s headquarters are in Ängleholm, which is in the northern part of Skåne County and around 20 minutes away from Helsingborg by car. It largely produces its vehicles in-house; as of 2021, it had around 400 employees working to put together its cars.

Swedish Car Brands

Lynk & Co

One of the newer Swedish car brands on our list is Lynk & Co, which — like Volvo — was founded in Gothenburg. The company has been around since 2016 and is owned by the Chinese automotive company Geely Automobile Holdings.

Lynk & Co targets largely young professionals, and it is pretty popular in China; the company sold over 120,000 cars in the country during its first full year. The first Lynk & Co car came onto the market in 2017; it was an SUV, and many of its following models have followed a similar concept.

In addition to its suite of SUV cars, Lynk & Co also has an electric scooter that it launched in 2020.

Lynk & Co first expanded its operations to Europe in 2020; it has more than 200 retail spots in China. Geely is a sister company of Volvo, and the latter made the technology that Lynk & Co’s first car used.

People who want to use Lynk & Co can use a paid subscription service, which also includes insurance. Moreover, you can rent your car to others.

NEVS

NEVS is the company that rose from the ashes of Saab Automotive’s decline and was founded in 2012. But despite its headquarters being in Trollhättan, NEVS — also known as New Electric Vehicles Sweden — does not sell its cars in Scandinavia’s largest country.

Instead, it focuses solely on the Chinese market.

NEVS has had involvement with other Swedish car brands in recent years. In 2019, for example, it purchased 20% of Koenigsegg Automotive — though it has since sold that back.

NEVS itself was purchased by Evergrande Group in 2019, which itself is a huge business in China. However, the company was trying to sell NEVS in 2021 due to its financial situation.

Caresto

Another Swedish car brand that has come about in the 21st century is Caresto. The company was founded in 2004 and — like Koenigsegg Automotive — is located in Ängleholm. Compared to many of the others on our list, Caresto’s cars focused on more of an older aesthetic.

Caresto focuses on making concept and project cars, and the company was founded by Leif Tufvesson. Caresto makes hot rods, in addition to refurbishing old car models. Tufvesson himself has an extensive background in automotive, and he worked for Volvo in the 1990s.

The founder of Caresto also worked with Koenigsegg Automotive after his time at Volvo. Following six years working for Koenigsegg, he decided to bring Caresto to the scene on a full-time basis.

SAF

SAF was also known as Svenska Automobilfabriken, which translates in English to the Swedish Automobile Factory. It’s one of the now-defunct Swedish car brands on our list, having gone out of business in 1921. SAF’s time in operation was pretty short, lasting for just two years.

During its time in existence, SAF was based in Bollnäs — a city in the center of Sweden on its east coast. The company built 28 cars over those couple of years, but it ultimately ran out of money in 1921 and was forced to close its doors.

Swedish Car Brands
Credit: Tekniska museet

Kalmar Verkstad

Kalmar Verkstad is another of our Swedish car manufacturers that are no longer operating. The company was one of Southern Sweden’s main employers in the automobile industry during its time in existence; it was originally founded in 1902.

Much of Kalmar Verkstad’s operations revolved around the rail sector, but it became involved with cars during the 20th century. It continued as a standalone company until 2005 when the German-Canadian company Bombardier Transportation purchased it.

Bombardier itself has since ceased operating. Having been founded in 1974, it continued as it was until being purchased in 2021. The company now operates as Alstom — which is headquartered in France. Alstom made over $15 billion in revenue in the 2021/2022 tax year.

Swedish Car Brands
Credit: ©BAE Systems

BAE Systems AB

BAE Systems AB is a very different kind of car company compared to many that we have already mentioned on our list. It’s more of a holding company for Hägglunds and BAE Systems Bofors.

The companies under BAE Systems AB’s umbrella produce vehicles designed for use in combat. You will find a wide selection of all-terrain cars, in addition to various tanks and other kinds of military vehicles.

BAE Systems AB is the Swedish subsidiary of UK-based BAE Systems Land & Armaments. BAE Systems is the overarching company for all of these; it was originally founded in 1999 and is headquartered in London.

Swedish Car Brands

Polestar

Polestar is another of our Swedish car brands with a close connection to Volvo. The company was founded in 1996 and is, like many of the companies on our list, headquartered in the Gothenburg region.

The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange as PSNY, having gone live in that respect in 2022 — and it has been part of Volvo Group since 2015.

While Polestar is headquartered just outside of Gothenburg’s city center, its cars are actually made in China. With Volvo, Polestar has launched several cars. Since 2017, it’s been separate from Geely and Volvo in terms of branding — and it now focuses on producing electric vehicles.

Bizarrely, you cannot buy Polestar cars in France. Citroën complained that its logo was too similar to its own, and it got its way.

Swedish car brands are diverse and plentiful

Did you know that there were as many Swedish car brands as we’ve listed in this article? It’s hard to believe, but the country is about much more than Volvo and Scania. Despite being a small country, it has a rich history in automotive, with the likes of Volvo still having significant relevance today.

And in more recent years, many brands have started looking toward producing electric cars. Swedish cars are reliable, and you will find plenty of passenger cars on the international market — both in European countries and further afield.

The automotive industry is one of Sweden’s most important for both domestic and foreign business. Car brands in the country export vehicles across the globe annually, and you will probably find what you’re looking for in your homeland.

Speaking of travel and Sweden, you will find plenty of places worth visiting throughout the country. Sweden is one of Europe’s best destinations for skiing, and snow is reliable in many parts of the country most years. So, why not take your car to one of the country’s several resorts?

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Scandification explores and celebrates the magic of Scandinavia. Stay tuned and we’ll bring the essence of Scandinavia to you.

Advertising enquiries

Scandification explores and celebrates the magic of Scandinavia. To advertise your brand to a global audience, contact our advertising team below.

advertising@scandification.com