Stadel Volvo's automotive expertise is a product of our sustained interest in industry trends and characteristics. We are privileged to share the latest news from Volvo and others with the hope the information will enhance your shopping and ownership experience.


September 2020

Furthering its ongoing commitment to safer roads, Volvo Car USA today announced that all Volvo owners with aspiring student drivers will receive free access to AAA's "How to Drive" online driver education course.

Volvo Cars, the leader in vehicle safety, and AAA, North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, believe education is key to developing prepared and confident drivers, ultimately making the roads safer for all. AAA's 30-hour, self-paced course is the most comprehensive online driver education program available, built on research based-curriculum and featuring interactive exercises and real-world scenarios.

Volvo has also pioneered several recent safety innovations, including a 112-mph speed limit on all its cars and the Care Key, which allows owners to set a speed limit for themselves or family members. The Care Key, available in all model year 2021 vehicles, is perfect for younger, inexperienced drivers, both to help build their confidence on the road, and provide peace-of-mind for parents.

"While Volvo strives to make the safest cars on the road, it is just as important for the safety of all that the driver feel prepared and confident behind the wheel," said Jim Nichols, Sr. Product and technology Communications Manager, Volvo Car USA. "In a year that has seen unprecedented disruption to driver education nationwide, we felt compelled to provide Volvo families with access to the best online learning platform available and tools like Care Key and AAA resources to help make the roads safer for everyone."

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue has only been exacerbated. Aspiring young drivers have seen unprecedented interruption in their driver education journey. In-school offerings have been paused or done virtually, while stay-at-home and social distancing regulations made real-world training with instructors or parents difficult. With a backlog and gradual reopening of state DMV offices, some young drivers have been given licenses without taking a traditional "road test," while others have been unable to do so, delaying this traditional rite of passage for months.

"AAA is excited to partner with Volvo to help prepare new drivers for the rigors of driving on today's roads, and to use modern vehicle technologies safely and effectively"  said William Van Tassel, Ph.D., AAA driver training programs manager. " offers a a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens. Both the Parents Coaching Guide and StartSmart Parent Session are excellent resources on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage teen driving privileges."

Volvo owners can receive access to their AAA "How to Drive" course by:

  • Visit the Volvo Car USA Customer Support page
  • Enter your information including Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Once approved, you will receive a confirmation email with unique code
  • Click on link to AAA website and use code to redeem course.

Volvo Cars has long focused on safety as its core value, reflected by decades of innovation in vehicle technology. This includes several "world-first" inventions, including the three-point safety belt in 1959 - credited with saving more than one million lives. Volvo released its patent on this life-saving invention in the name of safety, and to this day it remains as the most important safety feature in today's cars.

August 2019

A new study from Volvo Car USA and The Harris Poll revealed that allowing pets to roam unrestrained while driving led to significantly more unsafe driving behaviors, more time distracted and increased stress on both drivers and their four-legged friends.

While pets are now ingrained as essential members of the family, many pet owners aren't keeping their safety in mind when driving with them. Volvo Reports: Keeping Pets Safe on the Road is highlighted by a unique observational study on how pet restraints affect the driving experience.

Volvo and The Harris Poll followed 15 drivers and their dogs for more than 30 hours on the road, to examine how driving with an unrestrained pet affected driving behavior vs. when an owner used restraints (e.g. pet seat belts, harnesses, crates, carriers). With pets allowed to roam freely, we found:

  • Unsafe driving behaviors more than doubled
    • 649 instances while unrestrained vs. 274 while restrained
    • Includes climbing on a driver's lap or hanging their head out the window
  • Time drivers were distracted more than doubled
    • 3 hr. 39 min. unrestrained vs. 1 hr. 39 min. restrained
    • Includes dogs jumping from seat to seat or taking drivers' eyes off the road
  • Stress on both drivers and pups increased
    • Heart rates were likely to increase for people and pets
    • Unrestrained dogs measured a heart rate 7 beats per minute faster
    • Drivers felt calmer when dogs were buckled in, with heart rates dropping as much as 28 and 34 beats per minute.
The study further illustrates the dangers to all passengers, human and canine, when drivers do not restrain their dogs. This is echoed by internationally renowned veterinarian Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, Staff Criticalist, Cornell University Veterinary Specialists. Dr. Mazzaferro is an expert in emergency and critical care of animals."While pets roaming around the car can be cute and convenient, it poses serious risk for both drivers and their pets, both in terms of causing distractions and increasing the chances of serious injury in the event of an accident," said Dr. Mazzaferro. "Unfortunately, in my field, we see the potential devastating consequences regularly, many of which can avoided by simply ensuring our animals are safely secured.

Volvo Cars is the leading vehicle manufacturer to develop safety accessories for pets that directly tie into the safety system of the car. This integration is critical to ensuring all safety features work together to protect all occupants. These accessories include a Dog Harness, Load Compartment Divider, Dog Gate and Protective Steel Grille.

The report also built on last year's inaugural Volvo Report in exploring the unique relationship between Americans, their pets and their cars. Some additional new findings include:

  • Millennials still lead the way in pet pampering
    • More than half would spend $50 or more on a birthday party for their pet
    • 1 in 3 would pay more than $100 for doggy day care (36%), designer clothes (33%) and pet Fitbits (32%)
    • 4 in 10 would take a "paw-ternity" leave from work if they got a new pet
  • Americans want to travel with their pets, but are anxious about their safety
    • Half of millennials would rather go on a road trip with their dog than their family (vs. 39% of all respondents)
    • 4 in 10 millennials choose a weekend getaway with their dog than their partner (vs. 28% of pet owners overall)
    • 32% of pet owners have left a dog at home because they felt their car was not safe enough
    • 77% of Americans say people don't take vehicular dog safety seriously enough
July 2019

No matter what vintage Volvo you may drive, roadside towing is now available free of charge.

Volvo Car USA is expanding the suite of complementary services available to Volvo owners with "Tow for Life". This service works alongside the recently launched Volvo Car Accident Advisor and the Volvo Lifetime Replacement Parts & Labor Warranty.

"Tow for Life ensures that in the event of a breakdown, help is on hand no matter the age of the vehicle," said Scott Doering, Head of Customer Service for Volvo Car USA, "It's a commitment to all our customers that cars will be taken to experts who use genuine Volvo parts and repair methods. This will get the customer back on the road faster and provide assurance that the repair was done right."

Towing is already included as part of roadside assistance under the car's warranty period. There is no additional fee to use Tow for Life for post-warranty customers.  Volvo customers can call for help through Volvo On-Call or via Volvo Customer Care at 1 (800) 550-5658. Vehicle tows that are initiated through these channels will have their tow to a local Volvo retailer covered under the program.

June 2019

Volvo Cars, a leader in automotive safety, and Uber, the leading ride-hailing firm, today present a jointly developed production car capable of driving by itself, the next step in the strategic collaboration between both companies.

 Uber and Volvo Cars entered a joint engineering agreement in 2016 and have since developed several prototypes aimed at accelerating the companies' self-driving car development. The Volvo XC90 SUV presented today is the first production car that in combination with Uber's self-driving system is capable of fully driving itself.

The XC90 base vehicle is equipped with key safety features that allow Uber to easily install its own self-driving system, enabling the possible future deployment of self-driving cars in Uber's network as an autonomous ridesharing service.

The most important features of Volvo Cars' autonomous drive-ready production vehicle include several back-up systems for both steering and braking functions as well as battery back-up power. If any of the primary systems should fail for some reason, the back-up systems are designed to immediately act to bring the car to a stop.  In addition to Volvo's built-in back-up systems, an array of sensors atop and built into the vehicle are designed for Uber's self-driving system to safely operate and maneuver in an urban environment.

The autonomous drive-capable production vehicle revealed today is part of Volvo Cars' 2016 commercial agreement with Uber for the delivery of tens of thousands of autonomous drive-ready base cars in coming years.

"We believe autonomous drive technology will allow us to further improve safety, the foundation of our company," said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive of Volvo Cars. "By the middle of the next decade we expect one-third of all cars we sell to be fully autonomous. Our agreement with Uber underlines our ambition to be the supplier of choice to the world's leading ride-hailing companies."

"Working in close cooperation with companies like Volvo is a key ingredient to effectively building a safe, scalable, self-driving fleet," said Eric Meyhofer, CEO of Uber Advanced Technologies Group. "Volvo has long been known for their commitment to safety, which is the cornerstone of their newest production-ready self-driving base vehicle. When paired with our self-driving technology, this vehicle will be a key ingredient in Uber's autonomous product suite."

Volvo Cars plans to use a similar autonomous base vehicle concept for the introduction of its future autonomous drive cars in the early 2020s. These technologies, to be introduced on the next generation of Volvo models based on the SPA2 vehicle architecture, will include features designed to enable unsupervised autonomous drive in clearly designated areas such as highways and ring roads.

Volvo Cars believes autonomous drive can generate significant potential road safety benefits for society as a whole when all cars are autonomous. Until that moment, the technology can offer customers a better driving experience by taking away mundane tasks such as stop-start driving in traffic jams.

April  2019

The all-new Volvo V60 wagon has been named one of the Wards 10 Best Interiors of 2019 by the editors at WardsAuto, a leading source of automotive intelligence.

"In the Volvo V60 sport wagon, what's old is new again as the Swedish brand expertly weaves an upholstered plaid interior that is visually stunning, environmentally friendly and uniquely European. But beyond the fabric, the V60 shines as the interior achieves a soothing sense of design harmony with soft-touch surfaces complemented by glistening hard trim. We felt this way three years ago about the larger XC90 CUV when it made the Wards 10 Best Interiors list and ushered in Volvo's new interior design language. We can't wait to see the next interior homerun from Gothenburg."


The Volvo V60, offered with the company's new city-weave textile interior, is the latest torchbearer in a long line of versatile Volvo cars. The V60 shares its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform with the award-winning XC60 (named 2018 North American Utility of the Year and 2018 World Car of the Year), S60 sedan, and four top-of-the-line 90 Series cars, which have been the collective force behind the company's record-breaking global sales performance in recent years.


The five-passenger V60 is available with either a 250 horsepower Front-Wheel-Drive, or a 316 horsepower All-Wheel-Drive Drive-E powertrain. Each has an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V60 also has one of the largest load compartments, with clever storage solutions that make life less complicated. The V60 also touts as standard a number of key interior elements, such as a panoramic moonroof, aluminum inlays, and the award-winning Sensus Connect touchscreen interface

Volvo models across Europe to warn each other of slippery roads and hazards....


Volvo Cars is making its groundbreaking, industry-first connected safety technology available across Europe as another step in its ambitions to improve traffic safety. 

The technology allows Volvo cars to communicate with each other and alert drivers of nearby slippery road conditions and hazards via a cloud based network.


Hazard Light Alert and Slippery Road Alert were first introduced in 2016 on Volvo's 90 Series cars in Sweden and Norway. Next week the features become available to Volvo drivers across Europe. They come as standard on all new model year 2020 Volvos and can be retrofitted on selected earlier models*.


"Sharing real-time safety data between cars can help avoid accidents," said Malin Ekholm, head of Volvo Cars Safety Centre. "Volvo owners directly contribute to making roads safer for other drivers that enable the feature, while they also benefit from early warnings to potentially dangerous conditions ahead."

Safety research by Volvo shows that adjusting speeds to the actual traffic situation can radically reduce the risk for accidents. By alerting people to dangers ahead in a timely manner and allowing them to adapt with time to spare, connected safety technologies can support better driver behaviour and boost traffic safety.

With the launch of these features across Europe, Volvo Cars also reiterates its invitation to the car industry to join it in sharing anonymised data related to traffic safety across car brands.

Sharing such data in real time can provide a strong boost to overall traffic safety and becomes more influential the more cars are connected. Since last year, Volvo Cars and Volvo Trucks have shared data to alert drivers of nearby hazards in Sweden and Norway.


"The more vehicles we have sharing safety data in real time, the safer our roads become. We hope to establish more collaborations with partners who share our commitment to safety," said Malin Ekholm.

On introduction, Volvo Cars' systems were the first of their kind in the automotive industry. As soon as any equipped Volvo switches on its hazard lights, the Hazard Light Alert sends a signal to all nearby Volvo cars connected to the cloud service, warning drivers to help avoid potential accidents. This is particularly useful on blind corners and over the crest of hills in the road.

Meanwhile, Slippery Road Alert increases the driver's awareness of both current road conditions and those on the road ahead, by anonymously collecting road surface information from cars further ahead on the road and warning drivers approaching a slippery road section in advance.

Last month Volvo Cars made a number of announcements aimed at supporting better driver behaviour and safer driving. From 2020, all Volvos will be speed-limited at 180 kph. Starting in the early 2020s, the company will also install in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver and allow the car to intervene if a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver is risking an accident involving serious injury or death.

March 2019

Volvo Cars announces EQUAL VEHICLES for ALL  ( E.V.A.) an initiative to share their safety research with everyone for the betterment of all.  Always having been focused on people, Volvo is releasing data, studies, and results from over 40 years of intense studies, reenactments of real world collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, animals and stationary objects.  This extensive library is available at no cost or license fee to the industry as was done back in 1959 with the release of Volvo's 3 point seat belt.


The three-point safety belt introduced by Volvo in 1959 is still the single most important safety feature. Constantly developed and now with advanced pre-tensioning functions.


Whiplash Protection System, WHIPS, combines a unique robust head restraint with clever seat design to protect both head and spine, reducing risk of whiplash.


For optimal protection, Volvo has continuously developed our car structure, safety belt, and side airbags. Together with the side airbag, our Side Impact Protection System (SIPS), reduces severe chest injuries by more than 50% for all passengers.


A range of airbags are designed to help protect the occupants in the event of a crash. They include the driver airbag, located in the steering wheel, the front passenger airbag, located in the dashboard, side airbags and inflatable curtains.

February 2019

Volvo Cars has today unveiled a refreshed version of its best-selling XC90 large SUV, the company's top-of-the-line flagship, adding a newly-developed fuel-saving engine option that marks the next step in the company's ambitious electrification strategy. 

The refreshed XC90 for the first time offers customers Volvo's advanced kinetic energy recovery braking system, which is coupled with its existing internal combustion engines to create a new integrated electrified powertrain, under its new 'B' badge. *** 

This new electrified powertrain offers drivers up to 15 per cent fuel savings and emission reductions in real world driving. The new brake-by-wire system interacts with the energy recovery system and reduces fuel consumption and emissions by recovering kinetic energy under braking.

The introduction of the new XC90 'B'-badged cars represents a major step for Volvo Cars towards its electrification ambitions.  The new 'B'-badged cars complement Volvo's existing T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid electrified option on the new XC90.

On the outside, the refreshed XC90 offers subtle upgrades to the original award-winning exterior design, such as new wheels, exterior colours and a modern new grill, among other details.  On the inside, the superlative and award-winning interior design remains in place, but perhaps the most noticeable addition is the fact that it can be ordered with a range of different seating configurations.

From the four-seat Excellence variant and the seven-seat family SUV to the brand new six-seat configuration, the XC90 is available with any number of seats that best fits people's preferences and lifestyles. New interior materials including a wool blend offer further options for personalisation.

Based on Volvo's own, in-house developed platform, powertrain and safety technology, the 2015 XC90 marked the start of Volvo Cars' transformation. It introduced the new face of the Volvo brand characterised by the Thor's Hammer headlights, while introducing its new Scalable Product Architecture.  The world-first technologies and innovations that were launched on Volvo's other 90 and 60 Series models between 2015 and 2019 have also found their way into the XC90 over the intervening years.

As a result, Volvo's top-of-the-line SUV has become more advanced since its introduction, clocking up over 320,000 units sold worldwide - and counting.

In terms of active safety technology, the XC90 now offers drivers help with steering on both the City Safety and the Blind Spot Information System. City Safety with Autobrake is still the only system on the market to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and large animals.  The Oncoming Lane Mitigation system first introduced on the XC60 is now also available on XC90, while the Cross Traffic Alert technology now also offers autobrake. All this, together with the safety cage that forms the core of the passive safety technology, makes the XC90 one of the safest cars on the road and underlines Volvo Cars' unwavering commitment to developing the safest cars possible.

While the XC90 was the first Volvo to offer Apple Carplay integration, it is now also compatible with Android Auto. The Sensus infotainment system has gone through multiple updates in recent years, all of which have been adopted into the XC90. Where available, the Spotify music streaming service is integrated in the XC90.

The model year 2020 version of the XC90 will go in production in May at the Torslanda plant in Sweden and is now available to order in all Volvo markets around the globe.


Volvo Cars has taken a significant step towards its electrification goals with the release of upgraded and newly-developed electrified powertrain options, to be made available across its entire model range going forward. 

The company has upgraded its existing T8 and T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid powertrains, while at the same time confirming that plug-in options will now be available on every model it produces. Moreover, Volvo Cars will introduce a range of mild hybrids in the coming months, starting with diesel and petrol versions on the XC90 and XC60 SUV models.

 These mild hybrids for the first time offer customers Volvo's advanced kinetic energy recovery braking system, which is coupled with its existing internal combustion engines to create a new integrated electrified powertrain, under its new 'B' badge.  ***

 This new powertrain, electrified via brake-by-wire energy recovery, offers drivers up to 15 per cent fuel savings and emission reductions in real world driving.  The new brake-by-wire system interacts with the energy recovery system and reduces fuel consumption and emissions by recovering kinetic energy under braking.  

In line with our strategy and supported by extremely strong demand, Volvo Cars has upgraded its production capacity so that up to 25 per cent of total production can be Twin Engine plug-in hybrid cars. In addition, it expects its new 'B' badged powertrains to gradually become the new standard, moving it closer to its goal that by the middle of the next decade all of its cars will be electrified.

There will be new and upgraded powertrains introduced on Volvo's larger Scalable Product Architecture (SPA)-based cars.  The upgraded T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid with up to 420 horsepower features a new battery and brake-by-wire advanced battery charging. The range of the T8 powertrain has increased by around 15 per cent and this powertrain is available on all 90 and 60 Series cars.

An upgraded version of the smaller capacity T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid is also combined with the new battery and brake-by wire-technology. This powertrain also offers an approximate 15 per cent range increase and is available on the V60 estate and S60 sedan.   The XC90 will be available with a B5-badged mild hybrid petrol or diesel variant, as well as a B6-badged petrol mild hybrid.

On the XC60, customers will be able to choose between a B5 mild hybrid petrol or diesel variant, a B4 diesel mild hybrid as well as a B6 petrol mild hybrid. The B5 petrol will be available with front wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

The company's smaller Compact Modular Architecture-based XC40 SUV will also receive a new electrified option, in the form of a T5 Twin Engine petrol-plug-in hybrid. A second, T4 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid option will follow later.


For the first time, Volvo Car US Operations is exporting the all new S60 sedans to Europe from its plant in Ridgeville, SC. 

"We began commercial production of the S60s just six short months ago here in South Carolina, and we're excited to be building cars for customers around the world," said Jeff Moore, vice president, Manufacturing, Americas. "Export markets are critical to the long-term success of our plant and we're on track to deliver vehicles to our customers worldwide," he added.

S60 models will be delivered, via the South Carolina Ports Authority, to the Belgium port of Zeebrugge to connect with distribution centers in Ghent that feed the European retailer network in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, UK, Italy, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech, Slovenia and Poland. 

Throughout the year, S60 models will also be exported to Turkey, Australia and New Zealand, plus 93 countries, including in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific (excluding China).  In 2019, Volvo Cars is expected to produce nearly 50,000 vehicles at its Ridgeville plant. Over 50 per cent of the cars produced will be exported.


The Volvo XC90 luxury SUV is a Must-Have Certified Preowned Car, according to Autotrader, the most recognized third-party car listings brand.

The 2016 XC90 was the first all-new Volvo in the luxury carmaker's bold plan to remake its entire product line-up. The seven-seat SUV, with available all-wheel-drive and 400 horsepower Plug-In Hybrid Electric propulsion system, would go on to collect more than 100 awards from around the world, including 2016 Motor Trend SUV of the Year and 2016 North American Truck/Utility of the Year.

It is the 2016 to 2018 model years Autotrader called "Good as New: 10 Best Luxury CPO Cars for 2019."

The XC90 is one of the most desirable luxury crossovers on the market thanks to its attractive styling and forward-looking interior tech, according to Autotrader. It also boasts room for seven, a comfortable ride and excellent safety features. "Volvo's CPO program is typically one of the best among luxury automakers making a used XC90 attractive," said Brian Moody, executive editor, Autotrader.

"When consumers choose a Certified by Volvo certified preowned vehicle, they can be confident they're fully protected," said Rick Bryant, vice president Sales Operations, Volvo Car USA. "It's great that Autotrader has recognized the XC90 as a must-have car."

Each Certified by Volvo vehicle meets the strictest criteria and is backed by the company's unlimited mileage warranty. Each must pass a rigorous test with more than 170 points, have less than 80,000 miles, and receive a detailed CARFAX Vehicle History Report. Volvo repairs or replaces any necessary components-carefully checking the exterior and powertrain-and even does a road test. A factory-backed warranty covers every part of each Certified by Volvo vehicle that is not specifically excluded, including the replacement or repair of thousands of components. Plus, it's upgradeable up to 10 years. Complimentary roadside assistance and a zero deductible for all warranty visits are also included.

Key features: 

  • • Complimentary roadside assistance with 24/7/365 protection
  • • Emergency towing & lockout service
  • • Trip interruption benefits
  • • Emergency towing


Five Volvo cars, including all of the luxury carmaker's SUVs and two of its wagons, earned Car and Driver Editors' Choice awards for 2019.  After testing almost 500 cars editors chose the XC90, XC60, and XC40 SUVs and V90 and V90 Cross Country wagons to recommend to family and friends.


"For the experts at a place as trusted as Car and Driver to give five Volvo cars their Editor's Choice award is a very big deal," said Anders Gustafsson, Senior Vice President Americas and President and CEO Volvo Car USA. "Now anyone considering a new luxury car should absolutely look at a Volvo." 

  • The XC40 was recognized for its huge back seat and cargo area, beautiful interior execution, and for being chock full of tech
  • Editors praised the XC60 for being fuel efficient, its Swedish design, and cutting-edge driver-assist tech.
  • And they gushed over the eminently handsome design of the XC90, its satisfying drive, and lots of safety tech.
  • Of the V90, Car and Driver editors lauded its gorgeous cabin, mammoth cargo capacity, and dazzling exterior styling.
  • They praised its close cousin, the V90 Cross Country, for its upscale design, lovely and spacious cabin, and for being more practical than an SUV.
February 12, 2018:  Volvo Cars, for the 2nd year in a row, the only car company in the list of 2018 World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere.

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE The Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, today announced 135 companies spanning 23 countries and 57 industries.

"Responsible business is a fundamental part of Volvo Cars' culture and way of operating, and something we continuously promote internally as well as with our business partners," said Volvo Cars President and CEO, Håkan Samuelsson. "An ethical approach to business is not only the right thing to do, but also brings financial value and helps attract and retain the best talent. We are proud that we have been recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for the second consecutive year."

With the many recalls, lawsuits, criminal charges, and fines lodged against well-known, global auto companies, Volvo stands alone in its commitment and concern for the well being of employees, customers, and  the environment

December 2017

Volvo Cars will from today start developing its autonomous drive cars with help from Swedish families who will test its cars on the public roads of Gothenburg and feed back their impressions to Volvo Cars engineers.

The first two families, the Hains and the Simonovskis from the Gothenburg area, have now received the Volvo XC90 premium SUVs with which they will support the Drive Me project. Three more families will follow early next year and over the next four years, up to 100 people will be involved in Drive Me.

 Both families will contribute to Drive Me with invaluable data by allowing engineers at the company to monitor their everyday use and interaction with the car, as they drive to work, bring the kids to school or go shopping for groceries.

 Volvo Cars plans to have a fully autonomous car commercially available by 2021 and the data derived from Drive Me will play a crucial role in the development of these autonomous cars.

The Hain family comprises Alex and Paula (45 years old), and their daughters Filippa (17) and Smilla (14). The Hains were the first people chosen to take part in Drive Me earlier this year.  

They are now joined by Sasko Simonovski (44) and his wife Anna (41), and their children Elin (10) and Villiam (8). Additional families will be added going forward as the project progresses.

"It feels great to be a part of this project," said Alex Hain, 45 years old. "We get the chance to be part of developing technology that will one day save lives."

Drive Me will involve real customers testing the different stages of driver assisted and eventually fully autonomous technology.

"Drive Me is an important research project for Volvo Cars," said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President for the company's R&D department. "We expect to learn a lot from engaging these families and will use their experiences to shape the development of our autonomous driving technology, so that by 2021 we can offer our customers a fully autonomous car."

The Hains and the Simonovskis have received Volvo XC90s fitted with Volvo's latest driver assistance technology as well as an array of cameras and sensors to monitor their behavior and provide the car with information on its surroundings.

During these first stages, the families will keep their hands on the steering wheel and supervise the driving at all times when using their cars. But, over time, all participants in the Drive Me project will gradually be introduced to more advanced assisted driving cars, after receiving special training.

Even then, testing these more advanced cars will initially take place in controlled environments with supervision from a Volvo Cars safety expert. No technology will ever be introduced if there is any question over its safety.

This means Volvo Cars continues to develop autonomous cars with the same care and thoroughness that has helped it establish its position as the builder of some of the world's safest cars.

South Carolina Volvo Assembly Complex on Schedule

ROCKLEIGH, NJ (September 25, 2017) -- Volvo Cars today announces that the next generation XC90 SUV will be the second car to be built at its new manufacturing plant in Berkeley County, South Carolina from 2021. This takes Volvo Cars' total investment in its US manufacturing operations to over USD 1.1 billion and will raise the total of new jobs created at the Charleston site to nearly 4,000.

The South Carolina plant will start production of the next generation S60 in the fall of 2018. The addition of the next generation XC90 from 2021 as well as a planned new office campus will create 1,900 new jobs, which come on top of the 2,000 new employees currently being hired.

"The continued expansion of our plant in South Carolina is another significant commitment to the US market," said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. "The plant in Charleston will serve both the US and international markets and forms a strong foundation for our future growth in the U.S. and globally."

Volvo Cars announced in May 2015 that its first ever manufacturing plant in the United States would be located just outside Charleston in South Carolina. The decision to choose South Carolina was taken as a result of its easy access to international ports and infrastructure, a well-trained labor force, an attractive investment environment and experience in the high tech manufacturing sector.

The business logic behind the decision to build the next generation XC90 in South Carolina is compelling. The U.S. is the largest single market for the XC90, although a considerable amount of XC90 volume will be exported from the Port of Charleston. Total U.S. production capacity at the plant will rise to 150,000 vehicles annually.

The XC90 has played an important role in Volvo Cars' sales revival in the United States and around the globe. The widely acclaimed large SUV, launched in 2014, is the most awarded luxury SUV of the century and helped Volvo Cars recover its sales in the United States from a low of 56,000 units sold in 2014 to almost 83,000 units in 2016.

Today's announcement on further expansion in South Carolina allows Volvo Cars to take another step toward the company's 'build where you sell' global manufacturing strategy. It currently operates two manufacturing plants in Europe, as well as two factories in China. A third Chinese plant is currently under construction.

In addition to expanding the manufacturing plant Volvo Cars will further develop its neighboring office campus at the Charleston site. A new office building will be constructed to house up to 300 staff from R&D, purchasing, quality as well as Volvo's Southern regional sales team.

"We're excited to add a second car to our first American factory in South Carolina and we continue to be impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit in South Carolina," said Lex Kerssemakers, President and CEO of Volvo Car USA. "Our business in the U.S. has been undergoing a transformation over the past two years and this is an important next step for our development here."

Volvo Cars will employ up to 4,000 at the South Carolina site and the full economic impact will be much greater once the job multiplier effect is included.

July 5, 2017 Stockholm, Sweden

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced that every Volvo it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the historic end of cars that only have an internal combustion engine (ICE) and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

The announcement represents one of the most significant moves by any car maker to embrace electrification and highlights how over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history.

"This is about the customer," said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive. "People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers' current and future needs. You can now pick and choose whichever electrified Volvo you wish."

Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing;

1) fully electric cars

2) plug in hybrid cars 

3) "mild 48v hybrid" cars. 

It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars' performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date.

These five cars will be supplemented by a range of petrol and diesel plug in hybrid and mild hybrid 48 volt options on all models, representing one of the broadest electrified car offerings of any car maker.

This means that there will in future be no Volvo cars without an electric motor, as pure ICE cars are gradually phased out and replaced by ICE cars that are enhanced with electrified options.

"This announcement marks the end of the solely combustion engine-powered car," said Mr Samuelsson. "Volvo Cars has stated that it plans to have sold a total of 1m electrified cars by 2025. When we said it we meant it. This is how we are going to do it."

The announcement underlines Volvo Cars' commitment to minimising its environmental impact and making the cities of the future cleaner. Volvo Cars is focused on reducing the carbon emissions of both its products as well as its operations. It aims to have climate neutral manufacturing operations by 2025.

The decision also follows this month's announcement that Volvo Cars will turn Polestar into a new separately-branded electrified global high performance car company. Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars, will lead Polestar as Chief Executive Officer.

May 2017

Volvo Cars partners with Google to build Android into next generation connected cars

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced a close partnership with Google, one of the world's largest technology companies, to develop the next generation of its award-winning in-car infotainment and connectivity solution based on Android, offering access to a wide array of apps and services. It will launch on new Volvo models within two years.

The partnership promises to revolutionize how Volvo customers engage and interact with their cars. The large catalogue of popular Android apps - developed by Google, Volvo, or third party app developers - will offer connected and predictive services in and around the car.

"We are making an important strategic step with the Google partnership. Google's platform and services will enhance the user experience by enabling more personalization possibilities, while Android will offer increased flexibility from a development perspective," said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Car Group.

Volvo Cars' partnership with Google reflects the ongoing convergence between the automotive and technology industries as cars become increasingly connected. Volvo believes smart partnerships are the future for the car industry. Using Android as the base operating system will increase speed and flexibility in the development and offer its customers the ability to personalise the connected in-car experience.

 "We're thrilled to partner with Volvo to bring Android into their next generation connected cars," said Patrick Brady, Vice President of Android Engineering at Google. "This partnership gives us the opportunity to deliver a more seamless experience to Volvo drivers through a full-featured infotainment platform and rich ecosystem of Android applications and Google services."

 "With the advent of Android we will embrace a rich ecosystem while keeping our iconic Volvo user interface. We will offer hundreds of popular apps and the best integrated experience in this broad, connected environment," said Henrik Green.

 Volvo is also collaborating with Google on another initiative to update recent Volvo models by adding Google Local Search, a location based service application. This will be released through an update to customers with Sensus Navigation.

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, will build its first fully electric car in China
the company announced today at Auto Shanghai in China.

The all new model will be based on Volvo's Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) for smaller cars, and will be available for sale in 2019 and exported globally from China, Volvo said.

The decision to make its first electric car in China highlights the central role China will play in Volvo's electrified future and underlines China's growing sophistication as a manufacturing centre for the automotive industry.

 "Volvo Cars fully supports the Chinese government's call for cleaner air as outlined in the latest five-year plan. It is fully in-line with our own core values of environmental care, quality and safety," said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive of Volvo Cars. "We believe that electrification is the answer to sustainable mobility."

China is the world's largest sales market for electrified cars and has ambitious targets to expand sales of fully electric and hybrid cars in order to address congestion and air quality issues in its cities.

Volvo has a commitment to sell a total of 1m electrified cars - including fully electric cars and hybrids - by 2025. It is also developing a fully electric car on its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA). The Swedish company also plans to offer plug-in hybrid versions of every model.

Volvo has three manufacturing facilities in China in Daqing, which makes its 90 series cars, Chengdu, which makes its 60 series cars, and Luqiao, which will make its 40 series cars.

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, announced today that it has been recognised by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as a 2017 World's Most Ethical Company®. This is the first time that Volvo Cars has received this recognition. 124 companies have been listed this year, with Volvo Cars one of only four from the automotive industry.

 "I'm very proud that Volvo Cars has been recognised as one of the world's most ethical companies," said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. "Responsible business is a fundamental part of Volvo Cars' heritage, and engrained in our corporate culture. An ethical approach is not just the right thing to do, but it brings financial value too."

 Maria Hemberg, Senior Vice President Group Legal, General Counsel and Chair of Volvo Cars' Sustainability Board, commented: "The World's Most Ethical Company assessment process has helped us drive the continuous improvement of our Compliance & Ethics programme. This achievement is a welcome acknowledgement of our work to date in promoting ethical and responsible practices, both internally and externally."

 "Congratulations to all at Volvo Car Group for being recognised as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies," said Timothy Erblich, Ethisphere's Chief Executive Officer. "Volvo Cars embraces policies of diversity and inclusion, is committed to ethical leadership and demonstrates the values of a true global citizen."

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced that the new XC60 SUV - which will be revealed at the Geneva Motor Show - will feature three new advanced driver assistance features aimed at keeping the driver out of trouble.

The new safety features are designed to provide the driver with automatic steering assistance or support - when required - to help avoid potential collisions. Volvo believes that these new features will make the new XC60 one of the safest cars on the road.

 "We have been working with collision avoidance systems for many years and we can see how effective they are. In Sweden alone we have seen a decline of around 45 percent* in rear-end frontal crashes thanks to our collision warning with autobrake system. With the XC60 we are determined to take the next step in reducing avoidable collisions with the addition of steering support and assistance systems," said Malin Ekholm, Senior Director, Volvo Cars' Safety Centre.

City Safety has been updated in the XC60 to include steering support, which engages when automatic braking alone would not help avoid a potential collision. In such circumstances, the car will provide steering assistance to avoid the obstacle ahead. City Safety helps to avoid collisions with vehicles, pedestrians and large animals. Steering support is active between 50-100 km/h.

Volvo Cars has also added a system called Oncoming Lane Mitigation, which helps drivers to avoid collisions with vehicles in an oncoming lane.

 The system works by alerting a driver who has unwittingly wandered out of a driving lane by providing automatic steering assistance, guiding them back into their own lane and out of the path of any oncoming vehicle. This system is active between 60-140 km/h.

"All three of these new features represent clear steps in our work towards fully autonomous cars," added Malin Ekholm.

 Volvo Cars' optional Blind Spot Information System, which alerts drivers to the presence of vehicles in their blind spot, has also received an update to include steer assist functionality that helps to avoid potential collisions with vehicles in a blind spot by steering the car back into its own lane and away from danger.

 "We have all of the benefits of the safety technology we introduced in our larger 90 Series cars in the new XC60. This is fully in-line with our strategic approach to develop automotive safety systems based on real-life, real-road safety. Our vision is that no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020," added Malin Ekholm.

 The XC60 will deliver a host of high-end safety systems, just like its larger 90 Series siblings, including Large Animal Detection, Run-off Road Mitigation and the semi-autonomous driver support and convenience system Pilot Assist as an option.

Eaton develops new technology in their supercharger expertise for Volvo's Drive-E T6 engine:
The appeal of twin-charging is obvious: the sledgehammer top end of a turbo complimented by a belt-driven supercharger's linear grunt and low-end power boost.  But packaging and driveability concerns have relegated this tech to the weirdo-sphere of microcars and homologation specials.  Solution: The electromagnetic clutching mechanism on this Roots-style blower, designed by Eaton for Volvo's twin-charged T6 Drive-E four-cylinder.  The clutch is sandwiched between the input shaft and rotors.  During steady-state cruising or light throttle load, the clutch is open, decoupling the supercharger's nose from tit body.  When needed, a signal from the ECU activated the clutch, engaging a spring loaded armature, spinning the supercharger rotors.  This takes 80 - 500 milliseconds, ensuring a smoothness..  The clutch opens gain above 3,500 rpm, when a butter fly valve in the intake tube shuts off the supercharger's contribution and the turbo takes over.  Because there's no risk of overspeeding the rotors at higher engine speeds, the pulley ration is bonkers - 6:1 rather than the usual 2 or 3:1.  So at its peak, this supercharger spins near 24,000 revs, the fastest production unit Eaton has ever built.  More info HERE

Volvo Cars puts 1000 test cars to use in a Scandinavian cloud-based project for sharing road-condition information.
Volvo Cars, the Swedish Transport Administration and the Norwegian Public Roads Administration are working together on a project to enable cars to share information about conditions that relate to road friction (such as icy patches).

The information will be shared through a cloud-based network - a revolutionary approach to improving traffic safety. And with the test fleet now expanding from about 50 cars to 1000, the project is moving rapidly towards its goal of making the technology available to customers within a few years' time.

"The more information that can be shared on the road, the fewer surprises there are. And when you're driving, surprises are what you most want to avoid," says Erik Israelsson, Project Leader Cooperative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) at Volvo Cars.

"In light of that, we've developed a slippery-road alert, which notifies drivers about icy patches and contributes to making winter road maintenance more efficient. We're also adding a hazard-light alert, which will tell drivers if another vehicle in the area has its hazard lights on. With these first two features, we have a great platform for developing additional safety features. This is just the beginning," Erik Israelsson continues.

 Project nears completion

And the research project is getting closer to real-world implementation: with the technology in place, the testing and validation phase is now about to begin. In this phase, Volvo Cars will both expand the test fleet 20-fold and broaden the test area to include two big Scandinavian cities: Gothenburg and Oslo. Together, these measures will provide a more complete picture of how the system will work in real winter traffic conditions.

Improved winter road maintenance

The slippery-road alert also sends information about icy patches to road administrators as a complement to existing measurement stations along the road. The data can help road administrators and their contracted entrepreneurs to better plan and execute winter road maintenance and quickly address changed conditions. In addition, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration will conduct an independent assessment of the system to identify additional uses for the data in aiding future winter road maintenance.

Ambitious connectivity strategy

Volvo Cars strategically invests in and initiates partnerships to create cloud-based solutions. The hazard-light and slippery-road alerts are the first safety features in the Volvo cloud. The development of sophisticated communication via the mobile network is part of the company's aim to offer customers a fully connected experience.

"In the future we will have increased the exchange of vital information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and infrastructure," says Erik Israelsson. "There is considerable potential in this area, including safer traffic, a more comfortable drive and improved traffic flow," he adds.

"This will bring us closer to our safety vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. And it's another way in which the 'Designed around you' philosophy improves the driving experience," concludes Erik Israelsson.


This is a development and demonstration project designed to improve road safety and ensure efficient use of resources for winter road maintenance. RSI combines the latest generation of climate models, advanced analysis of vehicle data and a detailed statistical analysis of road sections. Prevention of ice-related accidents on Scandinavian roads is a prioritised safety area offering many community benefits. The project was started by the Swedish Transport Administration and is a collaboration with Volvo Cars, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Klimator AB, RoadIT, Luleå University of Technology, The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Taxi Göteborg and the University of Gothenburg.

Volvo Cars' S60 Inscription: tailored to the U.S


  • New Volvo S60 Inscription comes with extra spacious interior and high-end luxury design

  • Focus on elegance and comfort

  • Launches at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

 Volvo Cars is stepping up to the plate yet again when it comes to delivering a luxury car experience with the launch of the S60 Inscription. Tailored to meet the discerning requirements of U.S. consumers, the S60 Inscription takes the S60 to a new level of comfort and rear passenger convenience, offering consumers 3.4 inches additional rear seat legroom, resulting in best-in-class rear accommodation.

 "As a part of our revitalisation of the Volvo Brand in the United States we have undertaken extensive research reaffirming what our customers want and have come to expect from Volvo Cars. It goes without saying that the traditional strength of Volvo Cars product offering are still highly sought after - specifically leading-edge safety, low-impact, high-performance powertrains and standard connectivity across all models. What we have added to the S60 Inscription is a luxurious edge using the most natural materials, attention to detail and our iconic Scandinavian design language," said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Car Group.

The choice of materials used in the S60 Inscription succinctly reflects the authentic Scandinavian origins of the Volvo Brand. Linear Walnut trim, silk metal detailing, spacious rear seating and a unique 19" wheels, combine to create a relaxing environment that exudes comfort. Additional enhancements include interior accent lighting and Inscription branded tread plates

The 2016 model year S60 Inscription will come in two variants: Premier and Platinum. Premier will comprise leather upholstery, a sun/moon roof and the Sensus Navigation package. The S60 Inscription will be available with the T5 in both front-wheel drive and All-Wheel Drive.

Volvo takes Cross Country brand into sedan territory

  • Volvo Cars points to the future with the new S60 Cross Country
  • A segment first from Volvo Cars
  • Builds on a strong heritage of lifestyle-oriented products

Volvo Cars is stepping up to meet the demands of its core customers with the unveiling of the exciting S60 Cross Country at the Detroit Auto Show.

Back in 1997, when Volvo was the first premium brand to introduce an all-road capable variant of its successful wagons, no one could predict the future success of the crossover concept. Today, the crossover is ubiquitous and has helped to define a whole new category of lifestyle vehicle. Volvo is once again taking a bold step forward - this time in the luxury sedan segment - with the unveiling of the S60 Cross Country - the first premium sedan with the same level of capability and rugged design cues of the renowned Cross Country wagons.

"We want to further explore the market with our Cross Country brand. We did this back in 1997 with the V70 Cross Country and it led to the birth of a whole new segment. We have included all the capability-driven benefits of the Cross Country brand in this new model, while offering a completely unique expression of adventure and all-road readiness in a distinctly sporty and stylish package," said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars.


Capable stance

Like the recently introduced V60 Cross Country, the S60 Cross Country shares an increased ride height of 65mm (2.5 inches) and comes with the same capable All-Wheel Drive underpinnings of its sibling, making it the only truly capable and stylish all-road sedan crossover on the market. The S60 Cross Country will also be delivered with front-wheel drive in Europe and selected markets.

"The S60 Cross Country is the sole contender in the luxury crossover sedan segment. We have identified a clear niche in the market for a more capable sedan with rugged styling cues and a higher stance. The S60 Cross Country will appeal to people that are searching for an exciting and capable sedan, whilst enjoying the clear benefits that a crossover offers," said Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Service.

Reflecting Volvo's legendary capability of nature and Scandinavian heritage, the S60 Cross Country offers both 18" and 19" wheels with high profile tires that add both comfort and all-road aesthetics, reduce road noise, and add increased wheel protection when needed for city or country.

Delivering an involved and focused driving experience with rugged substance, this dynamic design brings a sporty and adventurous edge to the sedan.


The S60 Cross Country will launch with a powerful T5 All-Wheel Drive gasoline powertrain delivering up to 250 bhp* available in the US, Canada, Russia and Europe. The S60 Cross Country is expected to be available on a limited basis this summer.

Volvo Cars and POC to demonstrate life-saving wearable cycling tech concept at International CES 2015

  •  Accident data reveals: 50 percent of all cyclists killed in European traffic have collided with a car
  • Nearly 50,000 cyclist fatalities and injuries in the US every year
  • Unique partnership between Volvo Cars, POC and Ericsson aims to end crashes between cars and bikes 

In a ground-breaking collaboration, Volvo Cars, protective gravity sports gear manufacturer POC and Ericsson will present an innovative safety technology connecting drivers and cyclists for the first time ever at the International CES in Las Vegas (6-9 January 2015).

The technology consists of a connected car and helmet prototype that will establish 2-way communication offering proximity alerts to Volvo drivers and cyclists and thereby avoid accidents. No car manufacturer has previously put a stake in the ground to help address the problem by using Connected Safety technology - until now.

The global growth in cycling continues unabated as commuters take to their bikes. This has resulted in an increase in serious cycling accidents, an issue that Volvo Cars and POC believes is unacceptable and requires an innovative and concerted effort to address. Volvo Cars' City Safety system - standard on the all-new XC90 - is a technology that can detect, warn and auto-brake to avoid collisions with cyclists. It was the industry's first step to seriously address cyclist safety. This commitment has paved the way for the innovative helmet technology concept, presented at the International CES 2015.

Using a popular smartphone app for bicyclists, like Strava, the cyclist's position can be shared through the Volvo cloud to the car, and vice versa. If an imminent collision is calculated, both road users will be warned - and enabled to take the necessary action to avoid a potential accident. The Volvo driver will be alerted to a cyclist nearby through a head-up display alert - even if he happens to be in a blind spot, e.g. behind a bend or another vehicle or hardly visible during night time. The cyclist will be warned via a helmet-mounted alert light.

The innovative concept is a result of an all-Swedish partnership between Volvo Cars, POC, the leading manufacturer of protective gear for gravity sports athletes and cyclists and Ericsson, the world leader in communications technology and services. The innovative, cloud-based safety concept has exciting development opportunities and will ultimately help save lives across the whole spectrum of unprotected road users.

Klas Bendrik, VP and Group CIO at Volvo Cars commented: "The partnership between Volvo Cars, POC and Ericsson is an important milestone in investigating the next steps towards Volvo Cars' vision to build cars that will not crash. But now, by exploring cloud-based safety systems, we are getting ever closer to eliminating the remaining blind spots between cars and cyclists and by that avoid collisions."

Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and Founder of POC added: "Our mission is to do the best we can to possibly save lives and to reduce the consequences of accidents for gravity sports athletes and cyclists. The partnership with Volvo Cars aligns very well with our mission and we are excited to see how we can contribute to cyclist safety and increase interaction between cars and cyclists alike".

Per Borgklint, SVP and Head of Business Unit Support Solutions at Ericsson said: "There is perhaps no greater promise that the Networked Society holds than its ability to create connections that save lives. Our latest work with Volvo Cars to explore protecting the millions of cyclists on the road is just the latest example of innovation that can change the world. We are proud to support this critical initiative in conjunction with POC and remain committed to the pursuit of connectivity-driven advancements that create limitless new possibilities."

Notes to editors:

Cycling statistics:

  • Globally, 132.3 million bicycles were sold in 2013 (source: NPD Group 2013)
  • Beijing government hopes, ¼ of people would use cycling to commute in 2015 (source: The Guardian, November 2013)
  • In the Swedish city of Gothenburg alone, the number of bikers raised 30% in 2013 (source: Göteborgs Posten, November 2014)
  • 4,533 cyclists were injured in Berlin only in 2012 (source: The Guardian, November 2013)
  • 55% of cyclist fatalities in EU-23 countries occur in urban areas (source: CARE Database, European Commission 2012). In US 69% of all cyclist deaths in 2012 occurred in urban areas (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Traffic Safety Facts April 2014)'
  • (On the road) serious injuries for UK cyclists in 2013 were 31% higher than in 2009 (source: Department for Transport, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2013 Annual Report)
  • In US 726 cyclists were killed in 2012, an increase in 6.5% compared to 2011 and 49'000 were injured, +2.1% vs. 2011 (source: NHTSA/Traffic Safety Facts, November 2013)
  • The total cost of bicyclist injuries and deaths is over $4 billion per year in the US (source: National Safety Council 2012)
  • In Germany, The Netherlands and Poland more than 85% of cyclist fatalities occurred at crossroads (source: CARE Database, European Commission 2012)
  • In some countries, pedestrians and cyclists constitute more than 75% of road deaths (source: WHO Fact Sheet # 358, March 2013)

Volvo City Safety

Since spring 2013, all new Volvo cars are equipped with Auto brake for cyclists. Volvo Cars' system, a world first, uses radar and camera to detect cyclists and based on advanced sensor technology can apply full automatic braking should the car come close to a collision.

Volvo Cars Vision 2020 - and beyond

Volvo Cars believes that fatalities and severe injuries in traffic are unacceptable. The Swedish safety pioneer has therefore declared its Vision 2020 - Nobody should die or be seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020 -, and beyond this, to build cars that do not crash any more.

Volvo Run Off Road Technology Development

Classic Volvo Featured in Jalopnik Film Festival winning film

Volvo Takes Top Honors in IntelliChoice's 2015 Certified Pre-Owned Car Awards for the Eighth Straight Year

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Nov. 12, 2014) - Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) once again took top honors from IntelliChoice, the leading provider of automotive cost and value analysis, at the 16th annual IntelliChoice Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Car Awards. Volvo won the Best Premium Program award for the eight straight year.

"The best of these programs have continued to deliver substantial peace of mind, particularly through their extended CPO Warranties, said Eric Anderson, Ownership Database Supervisor at IntelliChoice. "The Volvo program features a no-deductible 7-year/100,000-mile comprehensive plan, which is the primary reason Volvo retains the top spot in our analysis among Premium programs."

IntelliChoice highlighted Volvo's success noting the brand has achieved a 100% Inspection Score since 2008, which speaks to the thoroughness of its inspection process. Volvo has sold over 10,000 certified pre-owned vehicles in the first three quarters of 2014, which represents a 34% increase over the same time period in 2013. All of Volvo's dealerships participate in the program. The program adds a number of other benefits including VIN-specific window stickers summarize original equipment and display the warranty expiration date.

Click HERE to view Certified Inventory
Volvo Cars adds a third shift and 1,300 new jobs in the Torslanda plant

Volvo Cars will add a third working shift in its Torslanda, Gothenburg plant to meet the increasing customer demand for the company's new cars. The expansion, planned for the first quarter of 2015, will be made in connection with the start of production for the all-new Volvo XC90 SUV.

Adding the third shift means the company will create approximately 1,300 new jobs and follows the opening of an entirely new body shop which lifted the production capacity in the Torslanda plant to 300,000 cars annually. This also means the total number of employees at Torslanda increases by close to 40 percent.

Volvo Cars Torslanda Plant, 2004

The all-new Volvo XC90 SUV marks the first car from the new in-house developed Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which will form the base for a range of upcoming new Volvo models. The new platform and the expansion of the Torslanda plant are part of Volvo's ongoing USD 11 billion investment program in new products and production capacity.

Volvo Cars global retail deliveries were up by 9.2 percent during the first nine months of the year while the outlook for the full year is a total sales volume of approximately 470,000 cars representing a 10 per cent growth and an all-time high sales result for the company. The all-new Volvo XC90 SUV is expected to further grow the company's sales volumes during 2015, creating a need for increased output from the Torslanda plant where the new car is to be produced. Deliveries from the Torslanda plant are expected to reach another all-time high in 2015.

In addition to introducing a third shift, the Torslanda plant will also implement a revised working agreement to further support higher production volumes. The new agreement increases the flexibility in production to meet customer demand.

The new working agreement will also be introduced in the first quarter of 2015 and when fully implemented, the Torslanda plant will employ 4,600 people. The plant, which earlier this year celebrated 50 years of car making, currently produces the Volvo S60, S80, V60, V70, XC70 and XC90 models.

360°-view technology key to Volvo Cars' goal of no fatal accidents by 2020

With the development of a new safety feature that locates collision-free escape routes, Volvo Cars has taken one of the final steps towards realizing its vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.

In December, the four-year Non-Hit Car and Truck project will draw to a close, leaving as its crowning achievement the development of next-generation sensor fusion technologies that provide a seamless 360° view around a car.  A Swedish collaboration between academia, various institutions and industry, the Non-Hit Car and Truck project has focused on developing new technologies and improving existing ones in order to reduce accident risks for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Unparalleled 360° view around the car - sensor fusion

One of the project's challenges was to build one cohesive detection system out of a number of discrete sensors installed around the car, something that has never before been accomplished. This required the development of a centralized Sensor Fusion framework to enable the various technologies - cameras, radar, lidar, GPS, etc.- to share information efficiently.

Through this framework, the system is able to provide a complete 360° view of the environment and perceive any potentially threatening objects that drivers would otherwise not be able to see. By focusing on viable automotive sensors, the project has taken a big step in making this new technology a reality in the near future.

Generating collision-free escape routes - threat assessment 

The 360° view is enhanced by the maneuver generator, a new safety feature that uses software to identify collision-free escape routes in all traffic scenarios. The system, which works by constantly analyzing threats around the car, can even assist drivers with auto-braking and steering. To illustrate how the 360° view and maneuver generator work together, the project has built two test vehicles.

A milestone for 2020 and self-driving cars 

"Volvo Cars is definitely on the front line when it comes to innovative active safety research and development. And with the Non-Hit Car and Truck project, we've taken a significant step towards realizing the vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. The technology is also imperative for the development of self-driving cars, which will be able to automatically steer and brake to avoid collision with any object in any situation. Our primary objective is to focus on preventing different types of accident scenarios. But going forward, we will also continue to work on developing cars that adapt to each individual driver's unique behavior," says Anders Almevad, Project Manager for the Non-Hit Car Project at Volvo Cars.

About the Non-Hit Car and Truck project

The Non-Hit Car and Truck project, an 80-million-SEK endeavor started by Volvo Cars and its partners in September 2010, will be closing in December 2014. It supports Volvo Cars' vision that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car. The focus has been on developing technologies to reduce accident risks for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Partners include: Volvo Cars, AB Volvo, ÅF (sensor fusion development), HiQ (sensor fusion development, threat assessment), Mecel (sensor supplier) and Chalmers University of Technology (sensor fusion development, driver adaptation). The Non-hit Car and Truck project is associated with the SAFER Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre. 

STOCKHOLM -- That tsunami of cheap cars from China predicted to hit U.S. shores has been slow in coming -- and may never come at all. But the first mainstream China-built vehicle is on the way -- in the form of a long-wheelbase version of Volvo's S60 sedan that will arrive in showrooms in 2015.

"We are not talking about 2020," Volvo Car Group CEO Hakan Samuelsson said at a press event here. "We are talking about next year."

Exact timing is not settled, he said, but it is "absolutely" for 2015.

Samuelsson: Absorbing lessons about luxury sedans in China

Volvo, owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., began producing the S60L at its new plant in Chengdu, China, in October and is ramping up to full capacity of 120,000 vehicles annually.

"The S60L will be a relatively low volume car, [but] its significance can't be overstated," said AutoPacific analyst Ed Kim. Volvo will "use it as a testbed of sorts to ascertain both real world quality of a Chinese-built car in the U.S. and consumer reaction to it."

The S60 -- by far the brand's best-selling vehicle in the U.S. -- is produced in Sweden. The S60L, built only in China, has a wheelbase extended by 3.2 inches to 112.5 inches.

Cost is a key reason for importing the S60L from China rather than Sweden, Samuelsson said. Production in China is less costly, and the country's currency is tied to the dollar rather than the euro, which, he said, "gives more stability."

Some observers predicted an onslaught of low-priced Chinese cars in the United States by now. Honda sells China-built Fits in Canada, and some small companies have sold a handful of Chinese vehicles in the United States. But the S60L would be the first sold in the U.S. by an established automaker.

Samuelsson, who declined to discuss volume levels, said Volvo has absorbed lessons about designing large sedans in China, where more affluent owners prefer to sit in the back. In the future, he said, Volvo's large vehicles will be designed mainly for the United States and China.

"The next time we present a car you will be surprised," Samuelsson said. "We will take a big step forward in the sedan."That vehicle, due late next year, is expected to replace the S80 sedan.

AutoBlog  Aug 28, 2014  by Noah Joseph
Things have been slow in Gothenburg the past few years, but they're picking up speed. The only new model Volvo has released in the past four years since it was taken over by Geely ? that being the V40 introduced in 2012 ? started its development when the company was still under Ford's umbrella. But now the Swedish automaker is preparing to launch a volley of new models, and the new XC90 is only the starting point.

Volvo has set out to align its product portfolio into three model families  40, 60 and 90 - each with three body-styles: sedan, wagon and crossover. That means a new S40 sedan and XC40 crossover as well as a replacement for the current V40 wagon, all to be based on a new platform shared with Geely. It also means replacements for the current S60, V60 and XC60 to be based on the modular SPA platform that underpins the new XC90, as well as a new S90 sedan to replace the S80 and a new V90 wagon to succeed the V70 and move it up-market above the V60.

All of these models are set to arrive within the next four years as Volvo moves to replace its entire lineup by 2019 and subsequently move to more competitive seven-to-eight-year product life-cycles. But as aggressively as Volvo is pursuing this renewal of its core models, they're not the only things Gothenburg has in store. Keep reading below to learn how Volvo's model line will flesh out over the coming years.

Volvo to Roll Out New Three-Cylinder Engines

Continuing its trend of downsized engines, Volvo will start producing a line of three-cylinders later this decade.

A group of 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engines will arrive on the S60 sedan, V60 wagon, and mid-level XC SUVs, Volvo confirmed to Autocar. Expect to see a gas version first before possible diesel and hybrid variants.

The new engines will complement a line of 2.0-liter four-bangers the company committed to back in 2011. Dubbing the fuel-efficient lineup as Drive-E, the new engines replaced all of Volvo's aging five-cylinder engines, providing better fuel economy and reducing carbon emissions. Volvo is in the process of rolling out several gas, diesel, and hybrid variants, and it is only after all the four-cylinders have rolled out that Volvo will start bringing in the even-smaller Drive-E engines.

Volvo joins Ford, General Motors, and BMW in offering efficient three-cylinder engines on select models. But according to Volvo global powertrain chief Derek Crabb, the automaker's three-cylinder lineup won't be as extensive as its list of four-bangers.

"I see it being possible in S60 but not higher," Crabb told Autocar. "It's not planned for the higher XC cars at the moment. It's not the power. It's more to do with the torque."

By next decade, three-cylinders won't be Volvo's only weapon for meeting future fuel economy goals. The new engines will provide the "building blocks" to more fuel-efficient electrified powertrains that should become commercially viable by 2025.

Source: Autocar

July 2014  End of an era as Swedish production of Volvo XC90 stops after 12 years

  •  After more than 636,000 cars, production of current XC90 stops today
  • Last XC90 out of Torslanda plant joins Volvo Museum collection
  • Torslanda plant now prepares for production of all-new XC90

Today marks the end of an era for Volvo Cars as production in Sweden of the iconic XC90 - a car that revolutionised the global SUV sector - comes to an end after 12 highly successful years.

The story began on 7 January 2002, when Volvo Car Corporation launched an eagerly awaited new model at the Detroit Motor Show. It was a car that dealers and customers principally in America had been yearning for - the Volvo XC90. 

A car that would be awarded more than 100 international distinctions, including "SUV of the Year" as early as 2003, and that was named Sweden's most valuable export product, with an annual export value of more than SEK 40 billion in the peak years. Before sales started in 2003, Volvo's dealers had already received 15,000 orders.

Volvo XC90

636,143 XC90s produced

But all good things must come to an end. After producing 636,143 XC90s, a legend of the car world will leave the factory in Torslanda today to make room for the next generation of the XC90. The last XC90 made in Gothenburg will be driven directly to the Volvo Museum, also located in Gothenburg. However, production of the current XC90 will continue in Volvo's new car plant in Daqing later in the year, under the name of Volvo XC Classic, which will only be sold in China.

The all-new Volvo XC90 will also be produced in the Torslanda factory. The car, which will be revealed in August, will start production at the end of January 2015.

Hans-Olov Olsson, who is currently the Vice Chairman of Volvo Car Corporation's Board of Directors, was responsible for sales in the USA at the end of the 1990s. In 1998, he succeeded in convincing the company's then CEO, Tuve Johannesson, that the company should invest in an SUV.

 In August 1998, Volvo Cars project director Hans Wikman was commissioned to develop a proposal for a modern, 7-seater SUV that was not too large. The car project was named P28, was to be based on the same platform as the Volvo S80 and should be launched in 2002. The aim was to sell 50,000 cars a year, a goal that would be beaten by a clear margin - during the peak years 2004-2007, around 85,000 cars were sold each year. The USA has been the largest single market for the XC90, with record figures achieved in 2004 (38,800 cars sold) and 2005 (36,200).

At the same time as drawing up three design proposals, two in California and one in Gothenburg, a female reference group was brought together in California, including Swedish actress Maud Adams, to contribute their wishes and comments, as American women would make up a large proportion of the intended target group.

The first Volvo XC90

41°C in the desert
The 4th of May 1999 was an important day for the project. In temperatures of 41°C, the three design proposals were presented at Volvo Cars' test track outside Phoenix, Arizona. Senior management and some members of the future project management attended the gathering, with the aim of reaching agreement on the focus of the design. The winning exterior proposal was designed by Doug Frasher from Volvo's Concept & Monitoring Center in California, who also designed the exterior of the Volvo S80.

 Hans Wikman remembers the feeling when the management team inspected the three design alternatives under the burning desert sun:

 "Everyone in the project team was a little tense. After all, the SUV programme had been put on ice a couple of times before. We now had our fingers crossed that the design and the planned content would be good enough so that the management would approve it with no reservations. And that is exactly what happened."

Shot in the arm for the SUV segment
However, many critics felt that Volvo Car Corporation was entering the SUV segment too late in 2002. However, the XC90 came to be a shot in the arm for the entire segment by resolving many of the problems experienced in earlier SUVs.

"We were using the working hypothesis 'The Next Generation SUV'," explains Hans Wikman. "In other words, in the XC90 we were going to show innovative solutions for the drawbacks for which the SUVs of the time were known"

These solutions included:

  • The potential to create a flat cargo floor behind the front seats;
  • Driving properties equivalent to those of a regular car;
  • Leading fuel economy within the segment.
Five global innovations

The Volvo XC90 also presented five global innovations when the car was introduced in 2002:

  • RSC (Roll Stability Control), a system that uses a gyro sensor to detect and counter the risk of overturning, and ROPS (Roll Over Protection System) to optimise the protection for everyone in the car in the event that, despite everything, it should still overturn.
  • Inflatable side curtains for all three rows of seats.
  • An integrated, adjustable booster cushion for children in the second row.
  • Seat belts with "tensioners" for all seats.
  • A lower crossbeam at the front, which had the task of activating the car's safety systems in the event of a collision.

More than a decade later, the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) still ranked the XC90 as one of the safest cars on the market by naming it the 2014 Top Safety Pick+.

The Volvo XC90 was launched with a range of five and six-cylinder engines. All were transversely mounted in accordance with Volvo's powertrain concept. In 2004, the range was extended with a powerful, transversely mounted V8 engine made of aluminium, which was combined with a six speed automatic gearbox.

"We have learnt a great deal from the first generation XC90"

Now the first generation XC90 will make room for the next, a car that has made advances in terms of development and content at least on a par with the first.

"I am convinced that our customers will be very pleased," says Dennis Nobelius, who is primarily responsible for the all-new XC90. "We have learnt a great deal about the important holistic approach for everyone in the car, when it comes to following up this success."

"Our all-new XC90 is not just a natural development from an incredibly successful car, it is also an excellent example of the transformation underway at Volvo Cars, both within the company and from a brand perspective," says Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy & Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars. "We look forward to a new era of success.

Volvo Car Group's first self-driving Autopilot cars test on public roads around Gothenburg

Volvo Car Group's groundbreaking project 'Drive Me' - featuring 100 self-driving Volvos on public roads in everyday driving conditions - is moving forward rapidly. The first test cars are already rolling around the Swedish city of Gothenburg and the sophisticated Autopilot technology is performing well.

"The test cars are now able to handle lane following, speed adaption and merging traffic all by themselves. This is an important step towards our aim that the final 'Drive Me' cars will be able to drive the whole test route in highly autonomous mode. The technology, which will be called Autopilot, enables the driver to hand over the driving to the vehicle, which takes care of all driving functions," says Erik Coelingh, Technical Specialist at Volvo Car Group.

Autonomous drive - commuting       

What makes the 'Drive Me' project unique is that it involves all the key players: legislators, transport authorities, a major city, a vehicle manufacturer and real customers. The customers will drive the 100 cars in everyday driving conditions on approximately 50 kilometres of selected roads in and around Gothenburg. These roads are typical commuter arteries, including motorway conditions and frequent queues.

That Volvo Cars' hometown Gothenburg becomes the world's first arena for self-driving cars in everyday driving conditions demonstrates both our technological leadership and Sweden's dedication to pioneering the integration of self-driving vehicles," says Erik Coelingh.

Joint initiative

'Drive Me - Self-driving cars for sustainable mobility' is a joint initiative between Volvo Car Group, the Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Transport Agency, Lindholmen Science Park and the City of Gothenburg. The Swedish Government is endorsing the project.

"This public pilot will provide us with a valuable insight into the societal benefits of making autonomous vehicles a natural part of the traffic environment. Our smart vehicles are a key part of the solution, but a broad societal approach is vital to offer sustainable personal mobility in the future. This unique cross-functional co-operation is the key to a successful implementation of self-driving vehicles," says Erik Coelingh.

Volvo Presented With 2014 World Traffic Safety Achievement Award

NEW YORK (April 25, 2014) - Volvo Cars of North America (VCNA) was awarded the World Traffic Safety Symposium's 2014 World Traffic Safety Achievement Award today at the New York International Auto Show. The award was presented to Volvo for the research and development of pedestrian safety features including the company's pedestrian detection system.

Available first on the upcoming, all-new 2015 XC90, pedestrian detection in darkness also makes the detection and auto brake technology work effectively to protect pedestrians and vehicle occupants when driving in darkness. The technology includes detection and auto brake for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

Also noted by the World Traffic Safety Symposium is Volvo's work with its pedestrian airbag, the first for an auto manufacturer. When the car* senses it has come in contact with a human, the airbag is deployed from the hood to help protect the pedestrian.

The Honorable David J. Friedman, Acting Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) delivered the event's keynote address.  Other special guest speakers included Barbara J. Fiala, Commissioner, NYS Dept. of Motor Vehicles; Chief Thomas M. Chan, NYPD Transportation Bureau; and Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner, NYC Dept. of Transportation.

The program also included a panel discussion composed of highly regarded traffic safety experts discussing pedestrian safety including Adam Kopstein, manager, safety and compliance, Volvo Cars of North America. 

Each year, the World Traffic Safety Symposium addresses important traffic safety issues in order to minimize injuries and fatalities on America's roadways. Through its annual Traffic Safety Achievement Awards, the Symposium recognizes organizations and individuals that are creating a safer environment for motorists and pedestrians.

 *The pedestrian airbag is currently only available on the Volvo V40, which is not sold in the United States.

ROCKLEIGH, N. J. (April 14, 2014) - 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of Volvo Car Group's (Volvo Cars) dedication to protecting the smallest and most vulnerable car occupants. This groundbreaking work started with the world's first rear-facing child seat prototype in a PV544 back in 1964 - and the latest innovation is an Inflatable Child Seat Concept that is easily tucked away in a small bag when not in use.

The differences in anatomy between children and adults form the foundation for Volvo Cars' child safety developments both in terms of car integrated features and accessories. Children are not small versions of adults, which is why children need special restraints when travelling in cars.

Volvo XC70 interior (2007)

"The basic principle remains the same as 50 years ago. The smallest children must always travel facing the rear until the age of 3 or 4. Older children should use a booster cushion or booster seat that makes sure that the lap belt is correctly fitted over the pelvis," says Professor Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical specialist at Volvo Cars Safety Center.

Here are some of the most important milestones in Volvo Cars' child safety history:

1964    First child seat prototype

Inspired by how astronauts travel rearwards, Bertil Aldman, medical doctor and subsequently professor in traffic safety at Chalmers University of Technology, developed the very first child seat prototype. Volvo was closely involved in the development and testing was carried out in a PV544.

1967    Reversible front passenger seat with special child backrest

The first child seat to be sold to customers was created by turning the front passenger seat around. Adding a padded backrest with straps made sure that the rearward-facing child was kept in place. The solution was sold as an accessory for the recently introduced Volvo Amazon. 

1972    Volvo's first rear-facing child seat

Rearward-facing child seats are designed to support the neck and help spread the force of a frontal impact over a larger area. Frontal impacts are the most frequent and usually the most severe impact situation.

1976    The booster cushion - a world first from Volvo

Children from 3 or 4 years and up travel facing forward using the standard safety belt with a belt-positioning booster cushion. Volvo Cars' policy is that children should use a booster cushion until they are 140 centimeters tall and 10 years old. When using a booster cushion, the child runs about a 75 percent lower risk of being injured compared to being unrestrained.

1990    World's first integrated booster cushion

The first integrated booster cushion was an ingenious fold down and out version in the rear center position in the Volvo 960. Double integrated pop-up booster cushions in the outer rear seats were introduced in the Volvo S40 in 1995.

1999    World's first rear-facing seat for ISOFIX

The world-first solution for the standardized, car-integrated ISOFIX fittings was actually two rearward-facing seats in one. Both seats - one for infants and one for toddlers up to four years of age - could be fitted in the same ISOFIX frame.

2007    World's first two-stage integrated booster cushion

Two-stage integrated booster cushions were introduced in the Volvo V70 estate. The two-stage version, with two sitting heights, enables a better belt fit regardless of the child's size. Child adapted safety belt load limiters were also fitted.

2014    Inflatable Child Seat Concept (See article below)

The innovation, which is still in the development stage, is easy to install and can be tucked away in a small bag when not in use. This means that the child seat can be easily transferred between cars and the bag even fits in carry-on luggage when flying or traveling.

ROCKLEIGH, N. J. (April 14, 2014) - Children's car seats are historically bulky, hard to move and tedious to mount. This is why Volvo Cars has designed a lightweight and inflatable rear-facing child seat concept using groundbreaking technology. The seat is safe, easy to pack and carry, and will enable parents to use it in many situations not practical with the seats on the market today.

Lawrence Abele, design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, and the designer behind the new seat, had his two children in mind while designing the concept: "For me child safety is always the No. 1 priority and when we lived abroad with two toddlers we had to haul bulky child seats through airports and then into taxis. For many, traveling with young children is a challenge. Any assistance to simplify the parents' life with young children is a great thing."

Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept: three stages

The concept presents new opportunities, for example grandparents and friends who take care of your kids and need an ultra-mobile child seat. It is also very convenient when traveling by taxi, rental car or bus, situations where you historically had to rely on the safety measures available.

 Inflates in 40 seconds
The seat has an innovative pump system that is silent and efficient in its construction. The seat inflates in less than 40 seconds and deflates with an integrated pump. The total weight of the seat less than 11 pounds, half the weight of a contemporary seat, and it is constantly online via Bluetooth, enabling a wide range of features, including remote controlled inflation. It fits into a weekend bag together with other necessities for your child.

 Unique drop-stitch fabrics

"We used a unique material called drop-stitch fabric when creating the prototype of the seat. This fabric is very strong when inflated as it can be brought to a very high internal pressure. It is a quite common technology in the boating industry and was originally developed by the military in an effort to develop inflatable airplanes," says Maria Hansson, project manager at Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles.

Rear-faced safest

The Inflatable Child Seat Concept faces the rear of the car, as it is the safest way for children to travel. A child's neck is not as strong as an adult's because it is still developing physically. In a frontal impact collision, the head of a forward-facing car occupant is thrown forward inducing great strain on the neck. Children, therefore, require special restraints and need to face the rear of the vehicle until at least 3 or 4 years of age.

Autoweek on the Volvo R-Design:  April 2014 

WEST COAST EDITOR MARK VAUGHN: Even though the 2014 model has a facelifted front end and redone interior, the Volvo S60T6 R-Design still manages to give me the anonymity I crave with the sporty feel I love. Anonymous and fun to drive in the city -- that's what I'd say after a weekend in it.

Unless you have a BMW M5, hardly anyone's going to take a larger sedan like this to an autocross. So rather than alienate most buyers with a harsh suspension fit only for a racetrack, Volvo has managed to straddle sporty and luxurious and deliver a car that makes everyday urban driving a little more fun than it might otherwise be. The R-Design trim level gets actual performance enhancements, too, and not just those stickers and wings. Yes, it gets the silly aerodynamic cosmetics that I would just as soon do without, as well as the R-Design aluminum inlays and sport pedals, but it also gets stiffer springs, bushings, sway bars and monotube shocks. It rides more than a half-inch lower than the stock S60, too. The result is a practical sedan that is remarkably comfortable yet still mostly responsive for spelunking into city traffic. Maybe if I'd entered it in an autocross, I'd notice different handling traits exhibited only at the limit like, maybe, understeer. But I didn't. On empty freeway interchanges taken much faster than those yellow recommended speed signs suggest, it held on smoothly. From a standstill, it got to 60 mph in just 5.0 seconds, a figure that would surely have dropped by half a second if I could have switched off the traction control. As it was, TC and DTSC eliminated any benefit that might have come from brake-torquing off the line, leaving a half-second's worth of launch time at the starting line. Stomp on the gas and it sort of sits there as five tenths tick on by. Then off it goes, the shifter in Sport and the six-speeds clicking off as you vroom away.

After the suspension upgrades, the next best thing I liked was the R-Design seats. They grasp your gizzard like a long-lost lover and don't let go until you're ready to leave, which might be a while. The rest of the interior was fully functional and not at all hard to live in.

My preconceived notion of price about this thing was about $15K more than it actually cost. Even in R-Design trim it was only $44,165. You could get a Chevy SS for that. The SS is more powerful and a half-second quicker to 60, and of course the SS is a little less refined, more of a beast, but it's a delightful beast, if you can imagine that, one you will enjoy wrestling with. The Volvo offers European refinement to go with its sporty character. The SS is a brawling Aussie who's had a few Fosters. You like both of them, but the Aussie will get you in more trouble, which maybe you could stand lately. A comparable Mercedes-Benz (say an E350 Sport Sedan with the 3.5-liter six and seven-speed automatic) is eight grand more, a BMW 535i xDrive Sedan with AWD, 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder and eight-speed automatic is $10K more; but everybody has those. You're not going to see R-Designs going back and forth on your street. The Volvo is a way to satisfy both the spouse, who wants "a safe car" (said without knowing anything at all about all those FMVSS hoops all cars have to leap through nowadays) and yourself, who wants a "fun" car (said knowing how much fun cars can be). You're both happy and both think you've pulled one over on the other. But you know best, don't you?

ASSOCIATE WEST COAST EDITOR BLAKE Z. RONG: This Volvo arrived during the most tenacious storm Los Angeles had seen in three years. The rain came down in sheets. Clouds marched overhead like an impending invasion. The 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder, breathed upon by Polestar, is a beaut -- it's soon to be phased out for the 2.0-liter turbo four underpinning Volvo's entire lineup, so we had better salute this while we still can. Haldex AWD felt light on its feet. The S60 T6 is fast as all hell but its throttle is touchy, and launching from a stoplight in a non-frenetic way involves tapping the throttle, lurching forward, and lifting off before the turbo lag finishes. Whoosh.

The S60 has some strange options, some advanced luxury features that omit some seemingly basic ones. There are adaptive headlights, but no navigation. Then there are automatic mirrors, but no rear camera. Those are part of a $3,000 Platinum package, one that we think will be a leap of faith for Volvo buyers.

Volvo aims to double down and become a global player in the premium game once and for all. In that case, tactility is important -- the way things feel impart further feelings of quality, of detail, of getting what you paid nearly $44,165 for. Heck, I'm typing this on an IBM keyboard old enough to graduate college, for that very reason: because I love the way the keys feel. In the S60's case, every lid and cover in the center console feels reluctant to open, for one. The headliner can be pushed in by a good 3 inches. Doors close with mushiness, not Scandinavian safety-minded surety. Stalk-mounted trip computers need to go away. An aggressive driver doesn't so much as bang the shifter into Sport mode but creak it over like a recalcitrant front door. Volvo could do little better than to make every touch point and every button and every sweated detail feel like an IBM Model M from 1984.

Volvo did nail it on the seats, which look and feel great and feature bolsters fat enough to smuggle medium-sized waterfowl. The gauges themselves are beautiful, responsive and accurate. Volvo's floating dashboard is still chic but aggressively aging -- this might be the only carmaker in the world that makes its dummy placeholder buttons, the ones that remind you how poor you are, for not ordering more options, actual press-able buttons. Europeans are obsessed with telephone numbers -- see Benz, who only recently started hiding them. They work well for presets, but who memorizes phone numbers anymore?

And yet, what's brilliant about this Volvo is a button in the dashboard that, when pressed, orders the rear headrests to flop down as if ordered by a drill sergeant. There, maximum visibility. Genius. The government should make this a requirement on every new car in America, possibly the world.

Driver State Estimation Technology Studies

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (March 17, 2014) - Through systems that can recognize and distinguish whether a driver is tired or inattentive, the car of the future can become even safer. Examples of this include technology that detects what the driver is looking at or whether he or she has closed eyes.

 "This will enable the driver to rely a bit more on their car, and know that it will help them when needed," explains Per Landfors, engineer at Volvo Cars and project leader for driver support functions.

 By placing a sensor on the dashboard to monitor aspects such as the direction in which a drivers are looking, ho

Sensor for Driver State Estimation

w open their eyes are, as well as their head position and angle, it is possible to develop precise safety systems that detect driver alertness and

are able to adjust the car accordingly. This also means that the car will ensure that it does not stray out of the lane or get too close to the car in front when the driver is not paying attention, as well as being able to wake a driver who is falling asleep.

"Since the car is able to detect if a driver is not paying attention, safety systems can be adapted more effectively. For example, the car's support systems can be activated later on if the driver is focused, and earlier if the driver's attention is directed elsewhere," Landfors explains.

Some of the current systems that can be included are Lane Keeping Aid, Collision warning with full auto brake and Adaptive Cruise Control with Queue Assist.

The technology is based on a sensor mounted on the dashboard in front of the driver. Small LEDs illuminate the driver with infrared light, which is then monitored by the sensor. Infrared light is just outside the wavelengths that the human eye can see, which means that the person behind the wheel doesn't notice it at all.

Driver sensors are also opening up other possibilities. By monitoring eye movements, the car would be able to adjust both interior and exterior lighting to follow the direction in which the driver is looking. The car would also be able to adjust seat settings, for instance, simply by recognizing the person sitting behind the wheel.

"This could be done by the sensor measuring different points on the face to identify the driver, for example. At the same time, however, it is essential to remember than the car doesn't save any pictures and nor does it have a driver surveillance function," Landfors clarifies.

The technology is already installed in test vehicles. Volvo Cars is also conducting research together with partners including Chalmers University of Technology and Volvo AB to identify effective methods for detecting tiredness and inattention.

The analysis of the driver's state, known as driver state estimation, in which driver sensors play an important role, is a field that may be key to self-driving cars in the future. The car will need to be able to determine whether the driver is capable of taking control when the conditions for driving autonomously are no longer present. A driver sensor could be of assistance in this.

This technology is one of the many initiatives bringing Volvo Cars closer to its goal for 2020 - that no one shall be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo.

Volvo Unveils Three Concept Vehicles showing future Volvo design and styling direction

Click on image for more photos and details
Volvo in Top Ten for Reliability, says Consumer Reports

Volvo leaped 13 places since last year to join top ten in reliability ratings.   Volvo leapfroged 13 places from 20th last year to 7th based on scores average or better in realiability.  Consumer Reports calculated its rating based on survey responses from its subscribers experiences with 1.1 million vehicle.

Volvo Cars' New Drive-E Powertrains Offer Power and Efficiency

Exciting drivability, targeted best-in-class fuel economy and production flexibility among solutions offered through new Volvo-developed engine family soon making its way to U.S. shores

ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Aug. 16, 2013) -- With the introduction of its new, innovative engine family, Volvo Cars ushers in a wave of transformational change. Its Drive-E powertrains are developed in-house at Volvo's R&D department in Sweden -- targeting best-in-class combined fuel economy in some engine versions -- and signal an important part of the company's strategy for advancement.

Significant investments in preparation for the new engine family were made in Sweden. Overall, an $11 billion, multi-year push -- including engine development, Volvo's future Scalable Product Architecture, and other infrastructure and facilities upgrades - is directly aimed at transforming Volvo's future toward increased competitiveness and technological independence.

"The launch of our new Drive-E powertrains is an important step in Volvo's product investment plan that will result in a stronger, more competitive position in the marketplace," said Volvo Cars of North America President and CEO John Maloney. "A great deal of research went into learning how our customers drive and these highly efficient, low-emission engines were designed to provide greater customer choice while retaining the performance attributes our customers expect."

Drive-E is also Volvo's name for all innovations made to reduce the impact on the environment. The moniker encompasses everything from a sustainable, efficient and clean manufacturing process, along with the use of recyclable materials, to efficient and low-emission powertrains - without compromising performance.

Powertrains Deliver Efficient Power

Drive-E powertrains efficiently deliver what was once only thought possible with six or eight cylinders. Those possibilities further expand when the new engines are teamed with electrification, producing vehicles, such as plug-in hybrids with outstanding range.

"We have created smaller, more intelligent engines with power curves that give exciting drivability compared with engines with more cylinders, yet deliver the fuel economy of only four cylinders. In addition, by adding electrification such as plug-in hybrid technology, we will reach power figures in the V8 territory," said Derek Crabb, Vice President Powertrain Engineering at Volvo Car Group.

The smaller, lighter engines-by nearly 100 pounds on the higher performance engine -- also offer considerably lower emissions and higher fuel economy savings -- ranging from 13 to 26 percent depending on the engine to which they are compared. Specific fuel economy numbers will become available shortly before cars with Drive-E powertrains reach retail outlets early next year.

Drive-E Powertrains Offer Range

Globally, the complete Drive-E engine range, formerly called Volvo Engine Architecture (VEA) during its development, consists of two four-cylinder engines, one common rail diesel and one direct-injected gasoline version. They replace eight engine architectures on three platforms. Both the diesel and the gasoline versions share the same architecture.

Two levels of forced induction open up the flexibility to cover the whole range, from fuel-efficient derivatives to high-power and torque variants. In order to meet customer requirements, some engines will also gain added performance via electrification or other spearhead technology.

Two gasoline Drive-E engines will be offered in the United States, a 240-horsepower version and a higher performance 302-horsepower version. In the United States, Volvo will continue to offer its current lineup of AWD powertrains, along with Drive-E. As a result, U.S. customers can choose between the new engines and some current engines until Volvo transitions solely to Drive-E.

Drive-E Powertrain Range:


4 cylinders

2.0 Liter

Turbocharged and supercharged

302 HP

295 pound-feet



4 cylinders

2.0 Liter


240 HP

258 pound-feet


Technical Features

The new engine family reflects thoughtful design features to maximize the engine's efficiency, as well as provide dynamic drivability and performance. Drive-E powertrains offer many technical features:

  • Friction reduction: Friction-reduction measures have been employed throughout the engine, including ball bearings on the camshaft, high-speed continuous variable valve timing and intelligent heat management with a fully variable electric water pump.

  • Start-Stop and Brake Regeneration: All Drive-E engines feature start-stop and brake regeneration. The technology uses brake pressure measurement to trigger when to stop and start the engine. The start/stop system is programmed to shut down the engine immediately when the car reaches a standstill. An electric pump keeps oil pressure up in the automatic gearbox while the engine is stopped. The system also includes an improved starter engine.

  • Turbo Only or Turbo and Supercharger: Using the supercharger to boost the low end torque gives the gasoline 302-horsepower T6 engine a big, naturally aspirated feel. The mechanically linked compressor starts to function immediately at low revs, while the turbocharger kicks in when the airflow builds up.

  • Eight-speed gearbox: To deliver the desired responsive, smooth and fuel-efficient drivability, the engines are teamed either with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox tuned for improved efficiency. "Think of it like having more gears on a bicycle -- you get more chance to operate it efficiently depending on the road conditions. With our new gearbox you get a bigger ratio spread - in essence it gives you better chance of getting good fuel economy from the engine," said Crabb.

Prepared for Electrification in the Future

The Drive-E engines are prepared for future electrification from the start. Key components, such as the integrated starter generator, can be connected easily -- and the compact size of the four-cylinder engines means that the electric motor can be fitted in the front or rear of the vehicle. The battery pack will be located in the center of the car.

"A four-cylinder, transversely mounted engine is a way of building up for an electrified future," said Crabb. "Hybrids are definitely going to be a dominant part of the top end of our range."

Volvo bolsters safety leadership with the release of innovative technologies to be featured in the all-new XC90

Today, the sales of Volvo cars equipped with systems for automatic braking passed the 1 million mark -- another milestone that confirms Volvo Car Group's world-leading position within automotive safety. More than 130,000 were sold in the United States.

Volvo Cars' technology for automatic braking includes several world firsts: City Safety, which is standard* and works at speeds up to 31 mph; Collision Warning with full auto brake; and Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake.

"Several recent reports state that our groundbreaking auto braking technologies help reduce the risk of being involved in a rear-end accident by more than 20 percent. One million Volvos with auto brake on the roads take us toward our aim that nobody should be killed or suffer serious injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020," says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Car Group.

Auto brake efficiency documented

The efficiency of Volvo Cars' approach has recently been highlighted:

  • The benefits of the groundbreaking City Safety technology -- featuring automatic braking in low speed situations -- were documented in a 2012 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) report, which stated a reduction in insurance claim frequencies.
  • In a 2012 IIHS survey of 500 U.S. Volvo owners, a majority of them liked their vehicle's crash avoidance features and credit the technology with keeping them safe and preventing crashes.
  • The owners' experiences also aligned with data from the Highway Loss Data Institute, which found that "the rate of property damage liability claims for Volvos with standard City Safety is lower than for other vehicles in the same class."
  • Findings by the Swedish insurance company Folksam show City Safety reduces injuries by 64 percent for people in cars hit from behind on roads with a 50 km/h (31 mph) speed limit. In situations in which City Safety has been activated, but the crash has not been completely avoided, the injury reduction is around 40 percent.

Focus on more support for the driver

Future Volvos will feature further improvements to existing safety systems as well as new solutions. The focuses of Volvo Car Group's present research within auto brake technology include also making more systems efficient while driving at night. Upcoming solutions will also cover more objects and situations.

"With smart interaction and new advanced solutions we will continue to contribute to further helping avoid collisions from occurring. Moreover, in our most recent car models we have reduced moderate to severe injuries by two-thirds compared with the rate for the older car models. And we are working continuously on new solutions that will bring the figure down even further," says Thomas Broberg.

Looking toward the future

Volvo's 2014 model lineup will feature the world's first Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with full auto brake. Recently this summer Volvo also announced a number of user-friendly technologies that will be featured in the all-new XC90, arriving in late 2014, bolstering its innovation leadership in auto safety. These include:

  • Pedestrian Detection in darkness: A world first that makes the detection and auto brake technology work effectively also when driving in darkness. The technology includes detection and auto brake for other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Road edge and barrier detection with steer assist: A feature that detects if the car is about to drive off the road and autonomously applies steering torque to bring the vehicle back on track. Being able to monitor where the physical road ends is a world first. This means that the technology also works on roads without side markings.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with steer assist: A technology that helps the driver stay in the lane and follow the rhythm of the traffic. The new system automatically follows the vehicle ahead.

"When the first XC90 was introduced in 2002, it featured a number of groundbreaking safety features, including a world-first solution that helps prevent rollovers. By revealing a number of systems for the next generation XC90 we once again confirm our leadership in automotive safety," says Thomas Broberg.

Volvo Car Corporation takes the strain out of the daily commute with a technology that automatically follows the vehicle in front

Volvo Car Corporation has taken another step on the journey towards autonomous driving - self-driving vehicles - by demonstrating a new traffic jam assistance system. The new system, whereby the car automatically follows the vehicle in front in slow-moving queues up to 50 km/h, will be ready for production in 2014.

 "This technology makes driving more relaxed in the kind of monotonous queuing that is a less attractive part of daily driving in urban areas. It offers you a safe, effortless drive in slow traffic," says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development of Volvo Car Corporation.

 The traffic jam assistance function is an evolution of the current Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Aid technology, which was introduced in the all-new Volvo V40 earlier in 2012.

 The driver activates the traffic jam assistance function by pushing a button. When active, the engine, brakes and steering respond automatically. The Adaptive Cruise Control enables safe, comfortable driving by automatically maintaining a set gap to the vehicle in front, at the same time as the steering is also controlled.

 "The car follows the vehicle in front in the same lane. However, it is always the driver who is in charge. He or she can take back control of the car at any time," says Peter Mertens.

 Commuting lasts longer than the annual vacation

Slow-moving queues are part of urban commuting. Americans spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey. This is more than the average two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) many Americans have per year.

 Drivers in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles spend even longer times queuing to and from work every day.

 "The situation is of course similar, or even worse, in major urban areas all over the world. Our aim with the traffic jam assistance is to make commuting a bit less stressful for the driver," says Peter Mertens.  

 Aiming for leadership

Autonomous driving - with steering, acceleration and/or braking automatically controlled by a vehicle that requires very little human interaction - is a major focus area in Volvo Car Corporation's development work.

 "Our aim is to gain leadership in the field of autonomous driving by moving beyond concepts and pioneering technologies that will reach actual customers. Making these features reliable and easy to use is crucial to boosting customer confidence in self-driving cars," says Peter Mertens.

 The low-speed traffic jam assistance system is the second technology for autonomous driving recently presented by Volvo Car Corporation. A few weeks ago, the company demonstrated the SARTRE project (Safe Road Trains for the Environment), which focuses on platooning in highway and motorway traffic at speeds of up to 90 km/h.

 Positive consumer response

Volvo Car Corporation's firm focus on designing cars around people includes investigating consumer attitudes towards self-driving cars.

 In 2011, Volvo Car Corporation invited a number of premium car owners to evaluate future driver support technologies at the company's test track, including an early traffic jam assistance prototype. One of the guests commented: "A perfect support for making commuting less stressful. It will take away the cramps and knee pain that I get when constantly having to adjust speed and distance in slow-moving queues.

Volvo Tops in New More Stringent IIHS Frontal Crash Test

The 2012 Volvo S60 earned a top rating of "good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) new small overlap frontal crash test, making it the highest-rated European luxury vehicle among those tested. The Volvo S60 was rated higher than the Infiniti G, BMW 3 Series, Acura TSX, Audi A4, Mercedes C-Class and the Lexus IS 250 / 350. The Acura TL was the only other vehicle to earn a "good" rating. New crash test aims to drive improvements in protecting people in frontal crashes:

Only 3 of 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars evaluated earn good or acceptable ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new small overlap frontal crash test, the latest addition to a suite of tests designed to help consumers pick the safest vehicles.

ARLINGTON, Va. ? Only 3 of 11 midsize luxury and near-luxury cars evaluated earn good or acceptable ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's new small overlap frontal crash test, the latest addition to a suite of tests designed to help consumers pick the safest vehicles.

The Acura TL and Volvo S60 earn good ratings, while the Infiniti G earns acceptable. The Acura TSX, BMW 3 series, Lincoln MKZ and Volkswagen CC earn marginal ratings. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Lexus IS 250/350, Audi A4 and Lexus ES 350 earn poor. All of these cars are 2012 models. See these ratings in table format.

In the test, 25 percent of a car's front end on the driver side strikes a 5-foot-tall rigid barrier at 40 mph. A 50th percentile male Hybrid III dummy is belted in the driver seat. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole. Outside of some automakers' proving grounds, such a test isn't currently conducted anywhere else in the United States or Europe.

"Nearly every new car performs well in other frontal crash tests conducted by the Institute and the federal government, but we still see more than 10,000 deaths in frontal crashes each year," Institute President Adrian Lund says. "Small overlap crashes are a major source of these fatalities. This new test program is based on years of analyzing real-world frontal crashes and then replicating them in our crash test facility to determine how people are being seriously injured and how cars can be designed to protect them better. We think this is the next step in improving frontal crash protection."

The number of drivers of 0-3-year-old passenger vehicles involved in fatal frontal crashes has fallen 55 percent since 2001. Much of the improved outlook is due to the success of consumer information testing like the New Car Assessment Program begun by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 1978 and crashworthiness evaluations the Institute started in 1995. In NHTSA's frontal test, passenger vehicles crash at 35 mph into a rigid barrier covering the full width of the vehicle. In the Institute's 40 mph offset frontal test, now called a moderate overlap frontal test, 40 percent of the total width of a vehicle strikes a deformable barrier on the driver side.

In a 2009 Institute study of vehicles with good ratings for frontal crash protection, small overlap crashes accounted for nearly a quarter of the frontal crashes involving serious or fatal injury to front seat occupants. Another 24 percent of the frontal crashes were moderate overlap crashes, although they likely occurred at much higher speeds than the Institute's moderate overlap test. An additional 14 percent occurred when passenger vehicles underrode large trucks, SUVs or other high-riding passenger vehicles. The Institute is exploring countermeasures for large truck underride crashes and in other research has found that the problem of crash incompatibility between cars and SUVs is being reduced.

Acura TL

The Acura TL earns a good rating in the small overlap frontal test. The driver space was maintained reasonably well, and the dummy's movement was well controlled. Measures taken from the dummy indicate a low risk of any significant injuries in a crash of this severity. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.

Structural integrity

The key to protection in any crash is a strong safety cage that resists deformation to maintain survival space for occupants. Then vehicle restraint systems can do their jobs to cushion and protect people.

"It's Packaging 101. If you ship a fragile item in a strong box, it's more likely to arrive at its destination without breaking. In crashes, people are less vulnerable to injury if the occupant compartment remains intact," Lund explains.

Most modern cars have safety cages built to withstand head-on collisions and moderate overlap frontal crashes with little deformation. At the same time, crush zones help manage crash energy to reduce forces on the occupant compartment. The main crush-zone structures are concentrated in the middle 50 percent of the front end. When a crash involves these structures, the occupant compartment is protected from intrusion, and front airbags and safety belts can effectively restrain and protect occupants.

Small overlap crashes are a different story. These crashes primarily affect a car's outer edges, which aren't well protected by the crush-zone structures. Crash forces go directly into the front wheel, suspension system and firewall. It is not uncommon for the wheel to be forced rearward into the footwell, contributing to even more intrusion in the occupant compartment and resulting in serious leg and foot injuries. To provide effective protection in small overlap crashes, the safety cage needs to resist crash forces that aren't tempered by crush-zone structures. Widening these front-end structures also would help.

"These are severe crashes, and our new test reflects that," Lund says. "Most automakers design their vehicles to ace our moderate overlap frontal test and NHTSA's full-width frontal test, but the problem of small overlap crashes hasn't been addressed. We hope our new rating program will change that."

Luxury and near-luxury cars were first to the test because these models typically get advanced safety features sooner than other vehicles, Lund says.

Vehicle test performance varied widely in the three rating categories: structure, restraints and kinematics, and dummy injury measures. The majority of the cars had lots of occupant compartment intrusion, which contributed to their low overall rating. Occupant motion varied greatly as well, with the dummy missing the airbag in some cases. In others, safety belts allowed the dummy's head and torso to move too far forward toward the A-pillar. Forces measured on the dummy indicated high risk of injury for the legs and feet in several vehicles.

Structurally, the Volvo S60 was best. With only a few inches of intrusion, the occupant compartment looked much the same as it did in a moderate overlap test. Reinforcement of the S60's upper rails and a steel cross member below the instrument panel helped to keep the safety cage intact. Volvo has performed similar small overlap tests as part of its vehicle safety development process since the late 1980s, taking the results into account when designing new models.

     Lexus IS/Volvo S60                                    

LEFT: Survival space for the driver wasn't well maintained in the Lexus IS crash test. The A-pillar bent and the footwell collapsed as the left front wheel and tire were forced rearward. The dummy's feet were entrapped by intruding structures.

RIGHT: Results for the Volvo S60 were very different. The S60's occupant compartment held up well, with only minor intrusion.

The Lexus IS had up to 10 times as much occupant compartment intrusion as the Volvo. In the IS test, the car's A-pillar bent and the footwell collapsed as the left front wheel and tire were forced rearward. The dummy's left foot was entrapped by intruding structure, and its right foot was wedged beneath the brake pedal. Entrapment also was an issue with the Mercedes C-Class. The dummy's right foot ended up wedged beneath the brake pedal as the left front wheel was forced rearward during the crash.

When the Volkswagen CC was put to the test, the driver door was sheared off its hinges. The CC is the first vehicle the Institute has ever evaluated to completely lose its door. An open door results in an automatic downgrade to poor for restraints and kinematics, as also was the case with the Audi A4, whose door opened but remained attached to the car. Doors should stay closed in a crash to keep people from being partially or completely ejected from vehicles.

Restraint systems' key role

Safety belts and airbags are important in any crash configuration, and they are especially taxed in small overlap frontal crashes. When cars strike the test barrier they tend to move sideways away from it, and the interior structures including the driver door, side window and A-pillar move in the same direction. The test dummy, however, keeps moving forward into the path of the sideways-moving interior structures. At the same time, the steering column and driver airbag move inboard in many vehicles because of the way the front end and occupant compartment deform. If the dummy misses the airbag or slides off it, the head and chest are unprotected.

Front airbags are calibrated to deploy in these types of crashes. Side airbags, including head-protecting curtains and chest-protecting torso airbags, don't always deploy because they are designed mainly for true side impacts ? think so-called T-bone crashes at intersections. When they do deploy, they don't always do so early enough or extend far enough forward to adequately protect people. The result is an airbag gray zone with gaps between what front airbags cover and what side airbags do ? if they deploy at all.

Without airbag protection, people in real-world small overlap frontal crashes can sustain head injuries from direct contact with the A-pillar, dashboard or window sill or by hitting trees, poles or other objects. Chest injuries happen when people contact the steering wheel, door or other intruding structures.

Every luxury car and near-luxury car the Institute evaluated earns good ratings for head, neck and chest injury risk based on measurements from the dummy's sensors. This is true even though there are many cases of serious upper body injuries in real-world crashes with similar vehicle damage.

One possible reason for the differing results is that real people move more during a crash and are prone to be out of position at the start, compared with relatively stiff and precisely positioned crash test dummies. Not all drivers are the same size as the dummy or seated exactly the same way. A close call for the dummy could mean an actual injury for a person. In several crash tests, the dummy's head barely missed the intruding structure of the vehicle, where a real person may have made contact and sustained an injury. Another reason is that the frontal crash dummy the Institute uses in the small overlap test is not good at measuring risks from lateral forces. Side crash dummies do a better job of this but can't sense ? or record ? much of the frontal action in these tests.

Side curtain and torso airbags deployed in the Acura TL and Volvo S60, although the S60's torso airbag fired too late in the crash to protect the dummy's chest from potential contact with side structures. One or both of the curtain and torso airbags didn't deploy in seven of the cars evaluated. Of the six curtains that deployed, four didn't provide sufficient forward coverage. The Institute lowered restraint and kinematics scores if side airbags didn't deploy or coverage was lacking.

"Side curtain airbags and torso airbags are designed to deploy in side impacts, but they can be beneficial in small overlap frontal crashes as well," Lund says. "If they do deploy, curtain airbags also need to extend far enough forward to protect the head from contact with side structures and outside objects."

For example, in the Lincoln MKZ test, the dummy's head and chest completely missed the front airbag as the steering column moved to the right. The side curtain airbag deployed but didn't extend far enough forward to protect the dummy's head. In comparison, the Acura TL's front and side curtain airbags worked well together to keep the head from coming close to any stiff structures or objects that could cause injury.

Lincoln MKZ/Acura TL                                  

LEFT: The dummy's head and chest missed the MKZ's front airbag as the steering column moved to the right. The side curtain airbag didn't have sufficient forward coverage for the head.

RIGHT: In contrast, the TL's front and side curtain airbags did a good job of protecting the dummy's head.

Engineers at some manufacturers have indicated that they are adjusting airbag algorithms to deploy side airbags in small overlap frontal crashes. Mercedes, for example, plans changes for the current C-Class.

Another restraint and kinematics issue Institute engineers flagged was excessive forward movement of the driver dummy caused by too much shoulder belt webbing spooling out of the retractor. This was the case with the BMW, Mercedes and Volkswagen. Like most new vehicles, these cars have safety belts equipped with load limiters that allow occupants' upper bodies to move forward in frontal crashes when belt loads exceed a specific threshold. Load limiters allow some belt spoolout after the initial impact to reduce belt-force-related thoracic injuries such as rib fractures by allowing people to ride down deflating front airbags. However, too much spoolout can compromise belt effectiveness by allowing belted occupants to move enough to strike hard surfaces inside the vehicle. This concern is greater in small overlaps where occupants may load only a small part of the front airbag or miss it completely.

Tougher award criteria

The Institute's Top Safety Pick award recognizes passenger vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute evaluations. The front rating is based on the moderate overlap test.

The Institute plans to make the top award criteria more stringent by adding the small overlap frontal test to its battery of evaluations. The existing criteria will continue for the 2013 award cycle, but vehicles that excel in the new test will be recognized.

"We won't have evaluated many vehicles in the small overlap test in time for the 2013 award," Lund explains. "Models meeting the current award criteria still offer outstanding protection in most crashes, and they will continue to earn Top Safety Pick in 2013. However, those vehicles that also do well in the new test will get to claim a higher award level that will be announced later this year."

The Institute has tightened award criteria twice since the first winners were announced for 2006 models. Good rear test results and availability of electronic stability control became a requirement starting with 2007 models, and a good roof strength rating became a deciding factor for 2010 models. Stability control is no longer a separate requirement since all 2012 and later vehicles must have the feature as standard under federal rules.

Automakers have been quick to rise to the occasion whenever the Institute has added a new evaluation to its vehicle test program, and the small overlap test should be no exception.

"Manufacturers recognize that this crash mode poses a significant risk to their customers and have indicated they plan structural and restraint changes to improve protection in small overlap frontal crashes," Lund says.

Next, the Institute will assess midsize moderately priced cars, including such top-selling models as the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.