Why Volvo Is Losing Its Big Lead In Safety

Why Volvo Is Losing Its Big Lead In Safety

For much of its history, the
name Volvo has been practically synonymous with safety. The Swedish brand has
a long track record of safety innovation. It has often been the
first to introduce features now common across the industry and for a long
time enjoyed a reputation for going quite a bit further than competitors to
reduce the risks of simply driving a car. The trouble for Volvo is
that safety has become a far greater priority for consumers and automakers alike
than it had been earlier in automotive history. Technology has improved,r egulations have
tightened and other brands are catching up and are touting
their own commitments to safety. It’s getting tougher for Volvo to
distinguish itself as a safety leader. Since it was taken over by the
Chinese automaker Geely in 2010, Volvo has been steadily hammering out a new,
more luxurious image as a serious competitor to German brands such
as Mercedes and BMW. Now it is also making a
remarkably aggressive push into electric and hybrid vehicles. So far, it seems to have worked. Volvo has frequently hit record levels
of sales and profits in recent years. In July of 2019, for example,
the carmaker reported its best ever first half year sales. But the carmaker in 2019 began
warning investors of shrinking margins resulting from an ongoing global trade
war and slowing global demand for cars. In late 2018, Volvo abandoned
plans for an initial public offering over the same concerns. And Volvo is up against some far
larger and far more deep pocketed competitors in its push
toward an electric future. This is an expensive
transformation fraught with risks. Safety has been one of Volvo’s
defining characteristics over the decades, and the company has a long,
solid record as a safety innovator. One of its best known innovations is
the three-point seatbelt as we know it today, which is nearly universal in cars
sold in the US and in many other countries around the world. The three-point seatbelt held a few
serious advantages over these simpler two-point lap belts, which had been
common up to that point. Three-point seatbelts secured both the upper
and lower body of each passenger in a vehicle, preventing the
passenger from being thrown forward into the dashboard from the waist up
in the event of an impact. Volvo also introduced the world’s first
prototype for a rear-facing child seat in 1964. The company was the first to introduce
side impact and curtain airbags in the 1990s. Volvo created its own renowned whiplash
protection system in 1998, called appropriately whips. Volvo was an early leader in
the development of blindspot detection technology. It also created its own
rollover protection system in 2002. In my observation, I think Volvo is a
company that from very early on has paid a lot of attention to safety. And even today, the corporation says that
safety is part of their DNA and we will see that
reflected in their products. Apart from these innovations, the company
has made other moves that distinguished it as a brand,
especially interested in protecting its passengers. In the 1990s, Volvo,
along with German automaker Mercedes Benz, pushed industry groups such as the
IIHS to pay more attention to certain types of crashes the company
felt were not getting enough attention in tests. Volvo continued to build cars that
would protect against these impacts, even though they
weren’t being tested. The company was ahead of the
shift that would come later. Roll the calendar forward several years and
we come up with a small overlap crash test and we find that
Volvo stuck to their to the research that they had done back in the
1990s and continued to develop products that would offer not only good
protection and the moderate overlap crash, but also the small overlap crash. So Volvo products were among the first
to earn good ratings in that new crash test for us, where some of
the other automakers, even though they had had access to the same information
that Volvo did back in the 1990s, sort of ignored that crash condition
until we brought it more forward without with our crash test ratings. But safety has become more of a
priority for buyers overall and for newer groups of customers who have
an increasing degree of clout. One such group is women. More than 60 percent of car purchases are
made by women and 85 percent are influenced by them, according to
data collected by cars.com. And a survey from Kelley Blue Book
found that safety is more important to women car buyers than it is to men. Automakers have taken notice, and while
Volvo’s products are still highly regarded, there is just not the same
distance between the best and the rest that there used to be. If there is a gap, it’s much smaller than
it used to be 20 or 30 years ago for sure the attention that our
Christmas programs have brought on safety and the changes that have
occurred with government regulation. The government’s own efforts toward
consumer information have forced the automakers to step up their
game in terms of safety. And I think the gaps are not
as big as they once were. IIHS names vehicles from several manufacturers
to its top safety picks list, including lower priced cars from
Subaru, Mazda, KIYA and Hyundai. So absolutely has a reputation
for safety and certainly people. So she Volvo would say the question
really becomes is really are you getting more safety today with a
Volvo than your other cars? And the truth is, is that while
Volvo was innovators when it came to seatbelts and a lot of crumbles owns
a lot of things in the past. Today, we’re going to get a great
deal of safety with many different vehicles. So you really don’t have to go and
step up to a Volvo to get a leading edge at safety anymore. Now, Volvo aims to distinguish
itself in other ways. When Chinese automaker Geely bought Volvo
in 2010, there was a certain degree of skepticism
over the acquisition. Geely was a rather small Chinese automaker
that made low cost cars for Chinese buyers. Volvo was thought to be on its last
legs after years of ownership by Ford. Geely paid $1.8 billion for the carmaker, a
fraction of the $6.5 billion Ford had paid
for Volvo in 1999. After the deal was done, Geely Chairman
Li Shufu said he thought Volvo ought to try competing more
with Mercedes and BMW. But he also stressed that Geely
would mostly leave Volvo alone. So far, that plan has worked out
with Geely’s backing, Volvo revamped its entire lineup, focusing heavily on
sport utility vehicles that offer understated luxury features
and interiors. The brand has played off its
Swedish pedigree by designing its vehicles cabins around the theme of Scandinavian
sanctuary with plenty of natural light and colors and
materials that evoke nature. The brand’s sleek new aesthetic is
widely considered to be a sharp departure from the classic boxy and
sensible family wagons and sedans Volvo had long been known for. That said, Volvo’s name is
still strongly associated with safety. In Kelley Blue Book’s brand watch
survey, for example, Volvo is ranked first among luxury brands for safety. It’s the only category where it leads,
and a few recent moves suggest the car company is as serious about protecting
people as it has been in the past. It said in March of 2019
it will share hundreds of research papers based on data compiled by its traffic
accident research team over the last 40 years. The project is called the
Equal Vehicles for All Initiative or EVA for short. Part of the purpose of the initiative
is to reduce disparities in safety among different populations, particularly
between men and women. Which Volvo said results in part from
heavy reliance on crash test dummies modelled on men’s bodies. As you know that everything started
really with Volvo cars heritage related to the safety belt. When we invited the solution, we
decided to put it free for everyone. If you find something that
can save life safe, you shouldn’t give it out for free. To the
other manufacturers so they can they can learn. And a got project was related
to all the knowledge, based on all the tests that we have done with female
drivers and all the facts based on how they are structured and
because we are different. So I would say all of those
facts and figures you should share. The brand also has a stated goal
of eliminating all deaths and serious injuries from new Volvo cars by 2020. to achieve this end, it’s
making some other bold decisions. It said in 2019 it will limit speeds
and all of its vehicles to a maximum of 112 miles per hour and it will
install cameras in every car made from early 2020 onward. We had long discussions
about this, you know. Driving a car it should be fun. You should be able to relax because the
car is supposed to help you and support you. But we also know that when
things are going a little bit too fast, it is tougher to
have control over the car. And really, if we are very, very
honest, you don’t need to drive faster. You need to kind of move fast
between two different speeds, but you don’t need to have that maximum speed. And I think that suits very,
very well with the brand. And also, we talked about the typical
Volvo customer with what they are asking for and their
strengths and weaknesses. I would say it fits quite well. CEO Håkan Samuelsson said the move could
lead some to see Volvo as Big Brother, but added that if it can help
save lives, it will be worth it. But perhaps Volvo’s most dramatic transformation
is into a premium brand comprised entirely of electric
and hybrid vehicles. Even though the company is still touting
its commitment to safe cars, its transformation into an entirely electrified
car brand is perhaps gaining more attention. Volvo has said it plans
to only make electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019 onward. It is aiming for half of its global
sales to be fully electric by 2025 and the other half to be
some kind of hybrid. By that time, Volvo wants to have 1
million electric or hybrid cars on the road. Volvo is pitching its move as
both a bet on tighter emissions regulations around the world, including key
markets in Europe and China, as well as a natural continuation
of Volvo’s focus on safety and well-being. Even a recent advertising
campaign nods to Volvo’s safety legacy while promoting its new
focus on green vehicles. But developing electric power trains requires
money, which may be tight as auto sales slow and companies find
themselves caught in global trade disputes. Volvo arguably benefits tremendously
from its ownership by Geely. Much of Volvo’s sales growth came
from China, and the two companies have been combining operations in
some areas to share costs. However, Volvo is still a small fish
compared with some of the other luxury brands it is competing with
in electric cars or otherwise. So entering in the luxury market, especially
as a European brand but not a German is definitely tricky. Because you’re up against competitors have
been doing it for decades that are extremely well known. Audi, Mercedes, BMW all have deep
pockets, all have big marketing spend. All have really
big advertising budgets. So it seems to me that
Volvo is taking a different approach. I mean, they announced that all their
vehicles are going to be their electrified in some way, whether it’s
a plug-in hybrid or whether it’s fully electrified. And perhaps that is, you know, in
terms of a strategy, their way to differentiate themselves amongst the German
brands because they certainly get out German, the Germans. So trying to go a different approach, grab
a lot of as much luxury car as possible. Maybe something they’re
trying to do. They’re trying to find
their unique way. And it seemed as if they put
their their eggs in that electrified basket. While Volvo sold 642,253 vehicles
around the world in 2018, the BMW brand sold 2,125,026. Volvo is also going head to head
with illustrious brands such as Porsche and the continuously buzzed about
California electric carmaker Tesla. But if it takes carbon emissions as
seriously as it has taken safety, it could end up engineering something
as influential as its famous three-pointed seatbelt. It’s a reason why these brand is growing
is a reason why we attract new customers. And that is a combination of
all the design, design and safety you now focus on on the environment. And I think that the
awards, we really appreciate it. It’s very good for our employees and
engineers that we get kind of receipt that we’re doing the right things
and I’m happy for that. But I would say it’s the total, everything
needs to fit to fit together to just have safety in the front
seat; that is, of course, tremendous, extremely good. But we really would like
to work with every single part of the car. That’s the reason
why we are strong.

100 Replies to “Why Volvo Is Losing Its Big Lead In Safety

  1. More like, Ford bought them a while back and ruined half of the safety features Volvo had in the name of profitability (or really in a reaction to leak of profits), then sold then to Geely, a Chinese company, and that's about all you need to know; avoid Volvo like the plague.

  2. I'm convinced at this point that the writers of these pieces don't know anything tangible about the automotive industry are just making purposely click baity and provocative title. This is journalism nowadays folks. It's basically just disinformation. #LearnToCode

  3. Volvo shares safety data and research with other car manufactures. GM destroyed SAAB and Ford almost did the same with Volvo.

  4. It's not losing?‍♂️. Its leading with the best safety features. And Volvo its a tough car and it claims to be the safest car in the world.

  5. The fact that it's now owned by the Chinese, where the culture of no respect to human lives and profits before ethics is the core, I do not see how Volvo's "DNA" can last without being "re-sequenced". Chinese steels are flawed, Chinese products don't last more than a few uses, Chinese cut corners, and the Chinese censor out the truths… Let's think twice before buying a Volvo!

  6. The new Volvo cars R just awefull. When you want to adjust the temperature you have to take your Eyes off the Road for 2 Seconds…

    The Navigation is unusable… The Automatik Gearbox is awefull.

  7. Soo you are saying that a car that is made of toy plastic and the cost of a toy car is better than a Volvo.

  8. Most if not all the safety equipment inside a Volvo is made by Autoliv. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoliv
    The same is true for most car brands.
    A year or two ago Autoliv split to two. Autoliv and Veoneer.
    Veoneer's products include radars, lidars, thermal night vision cameras, vision systems and advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving software.

  9. Interesting that Volvo is perceived as a luxury brand in the USA. You would struggle to find anyone who described it as such here in England. They still very much have the reputation as a maker of sensible, practical, reliable and safe family cars. The were most definitely not considered cool or luxury when I was growing up, they were the choice of middle aged, middle class families and housewives. The same is still although the SUVs are increasingly seen as an alternative to a BMW X5 or Range Rover for those who don't want to be mistaken for a drug dealer or instantly assumed to be a wanker.

  10. Here's a company that really cares about the people. That is really admirable, just the willingness to publish its research papers. Hats off !!!

  11. Although #Volvo is a renowned brand in terms of passenger safety, yet leaders around the world, prefer to travel around with the German #BigThree automobiles.
    Swedish peeps, please make a note of it.

  12. I drove the 760 GLE.I had accident with Toyota Mark2,but I'm didn't injury.Mark2 the driver had injury.Before the Volvos very strong car.

  13. it's hard to compete with cheap quality crap disguised as fancy design. Planned obsolescence…looks great, doesn't last, consumer buys another item the government collects tax on it. A modern day scam on consumers while the landfills overflow…oh but that's our fault too so punish us with eco and enviro fees too…….mammon worshipers.

  14. 1. CNBC is owned by NBCUniversal.
    2. NBCUniversal is owned by COMCAST.
    3. COMCAST recieves 1/3 of their REVENUE from GM/FORD AD-SPEND.


  15. Because Lead is not present on the car, its using some strong metals and aluminum, plastics, rubber and glass. Lead ususally present as the tip of a bullet.

  16. Their main reason why is volvo is now people have noticed that their problematic and now they are making the airbags self-breakable and needs to be fixed every 3 months, That's why.

  17. What a complete nonsense for a video title to make it catchy to maximize number of views. Are you now the Fox News for car safety? Shame on you CNBC

  18. Because Volvo got on the dogs, it keeps breaking down. I had 2018 xc90, got rid of it because it still broke. No more Volvo, especially since they produce this plant in China

  19. A manufacturer can impose it's standard if and when it's an exclusive standard. Slow speed is not an exclusivity and will therefore be a sales killer…

  20. Comedy Central already exposed the cheap populism of CNBC a decade ago trollolol:

  21. Volvo is still the best in safety.

    Wonder what CNBC hopes to achieve by this de-marketing video of the Volvo brand.

  22. The truth is Volvo still safe and nice, even though its a smaller company compare to BMW or Mercedes. Geely made it better.

  23. People, update your information. TEsla is number one in safety. It models X, S and 3 are the best among all vehicles, gas, electric or "nuclear."

  24. Under ford a American company it would likely have gone the same way as Saab.
    Thankfully the Chinese saw the potential and saved it. Resulting in sour grapes from the American car makers and more safe cars on the road. Meanwhile the bizarre cybertruck is the latest offering in the good ole USA which looks like a 8 year old designed it.

  25. Volvo is ridiculously expensive for the average
    Very cheap for the richest people in the world, It's sitting in the no man's land ?
    Pick a side
    Volvo !

  26. Volvo hasnt been the leader since 2012. Tesla has been the undisputed leader since the model S release in late 2012. No brand comes close to Tesla in terms of safety

  27. Misleading much there?? WTF …..Last May I very reluctantly let my low miles and much loved 15 year old 2005 Chrysler 300 go. Only because I wanted 4 wheel drive again and thought a wagon would be better for my bikes.
    After ruling out a Subaru with rubber band trans and weak power, I found a demo 2018 V90 in the only color I wanted> green. It has everything but HUD and kiddie back seats. It has the 316 HP turbo/ supercharger that is all the power I need. It can be jerky around 20 to 30 mph deciding what gear it wants.
    It has 4 cameras, radar detection and collision AVOIDANCE. So in summer it is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to crash. LOL… The NEED for crumple air bags etc is GREATLY reduced. Driving on snow is far more complicated for braking and steering of course.
    I then went for a 2 month drive 12,000 miles. I got tired of the in lane guidance the first day and turned it off, since I like going as far over as possible from other vehicles. Still the car nagged me a lot if I drove over a line. LOL It slammed on the brake a few times getting too close to the end of the pavement and a few times getting too close to a car in front. The car doesn't know if a wide load truck is coming. After 3,000 miles I went back to my usual default of NOT wearing a seat belt>>in 4 provinces and 19 states. LOL

  28. We switched from Mercedes to volvo and got us an xc90 R version . We are super happy with the way the car drives and the luxury interior it has .

  29. 9:21 lol 10:20 get the hell out. I'm not buying any Volvo. 12:40 Tesla called. They said it's their basket and Volvo ain't getting any.

  30. how was it that the west allowed china to buy all our brilliance… this incls GE by Haier… No, it is GE!!

  31. i'll be support congress making an act next year and that will permanently ban "made in china" in the United States

  32. They lost any brand loyalty I could have had when they were acquired by Geely. I won't support any organization who pays taxes to the Chinese Communist Party while it's stance on human rights remains.

  33. Most car technologies have become overall saturated across all major car manufacturers; not only safe related aspects, but design, reliability, engines, etc. etc. don't differ much these days.

  34. Volvo isn't losing ground. It's already at the finish line and is keeper of the goal-posts, which it moves occasionally.

  35. Still on my 2007 Volvo V50 1.8F and I have more trust for it than any other non-Volvo car on the road today. If I were to upgrade to a new car, it'll be none other than a newer Volvo.

  36. You should have done your research more carefully Volvo was not the first mass production vehicle to reach a five-star safety rating in fact Mercedes Ben's and Renault preceded Volvos five star rating by several years.

  37. so electric in some way, whether a plug in or fully electric? who ever said you could send a woman to do a man's job? it would be electric at the wheel, whether that power came only from a plugged in source or if used in conjunction with a gas or diesel generator. it would be electric motors driving the wheels

  38. Because Volvo are willing to spend the money on the R&D and then give it away to company's that are not willing or don't care about the safety of the people who pay their wages. I wouldn't buy another make car anymore.

  39. I love Volvo, support them. I have an 06 S60R and plan for a new XC60 by next year. They lead on what matters but their stigma and market share supresses and handicaps them so badly. I hope the newer generation will look at them more, Im 22 and I sure do

  40. My 2004 S60R is still the best thing I've ever driven, growls like a beast down the highway like nothing else and solid like a rock. SUECIA VICTA!

  41. Didn’t Volvo say nobody will die in one of their vehicles by 2025 or something? Still seems safety-oriented to me.

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