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  • For much of its history, the name Volvo has been practically synonymous

  • with safety. The Swedish brand has a long track record of safety

  • innovation. It has often been the first to introduce features now common

  • across the industry and for a long time enjoyed a reputation for going

  • quite a bit further than competitors to reduce the risks of simply driving

  • a car. The trouble for Volvo is that safety has become a far greater

  • priority for consumers and automakers alike than it had been earlier in

  • automotive history.

  • Technology has improved,r egulations have tightened and other brands are

  • catching up and are touting their own commitments to safety.

  • It's getting tougher for Volvo to distinguish itself as a safety leader.

  • Since it was taken over by the Chinese automaker Geely in 2010, Volvo has

  • been steadily hammering out a new, more luxurious image as a serious

  • competitor to German brands such as Mercedes and BMW.

  • Now it is also making a remarkably aggressive push into electric and

  • hybrid vehicles.

  • So far, it seems to have worked.

  • Volvo has frequently hit record levels of sales and profits in recent

  • years. In July of 2019, for example, the carmaker reported its best ever

  • first half year sales.

  • But the carmaker in 2019 began warning investors of shrinking margins

  • resulting from an ongoing global trade war and slowing global demand for

  • cars. In late 2018, Volvo abandoned plans for an initial public offering

  • over the same concerns.

  • And Volvo is up against some far larger and far more deep pocketed

  • competitors in its push toward an electric future.

  • This is an expensive transformation fraught with risks.

  • Safety has been one of Volvo's defining characteristics over the decades,

  • and the company has a long, solid record as a safety innovator.

  • One of its best known innovations is the three-point seatbelt as we know

  • it today, which is nearly universal in cars sold in the US and in many

  • other countries around the world.

  • The three-point seatbelt held a few serious advantages over these simpler

  • two-point lap belts, which had been common up to that point.

  • Three-point seatbelts secured both the upper and lower body of each

  • passenger in a vehicle, preventing the passenger from being thrown forward

  • into the dashboard from the waist up in the event of an impact.

  • Volvo also introduced the world's first prototype for a rear-facing child

  • seat in 1964.

  • The company was the first to introduce side impact and curtain airbags in

  • the 1990s.

  • Volvo created its own renowned whiplash protection system in 1998, called

  • appropriately whips.

  • Volvo was an early leader in the development of blindspot detection

  • technology. It also created its own rollover protection system in 2002.

  • In my observation, I think Volvo is a company that from very early on has

  • paid a lot of attention to safety.

  • And even today, the corporation says that safety is part of their DNA and

  • we will see that reflected in their products.

  • Apart from these innovations, the company has made other moves that

  • distinguished it as a brand, especially interested in protecting its

  • passengers. In the 1990s, Volvo, along with German automaker Mercedes

  • Benz, pushed industry groups such as the IIHS to pay more attention to

  • certain types of crashes the company felt were not getting enough

  • attention in tests.

  • Volvo continued to build cars that would protect against these impacts,

  • even though they weren't being tested.

  • The company was ahead of the shift that would come later.

  • Roll the calendar forward several years and we come up with a small

  • overlap crash test and we find that Volvo stuck to their to the research

  • that they had done back in the 1990s and continued to develop products

  • that would offer not only good protection and the moderate overlap crash,

  • but also the small overlap crash.

  • So Volvo products were among the first to earn good ratings in that new

  • crash test for us, where some of the other automakers, even though they

  • had had access to the same information that Volvo did back in the 1990s,

  • sort of ignored that crash condition until we brought it more forward

  • without with our crash test ratings.

  • But safety has become more of a priority for buyers overall and for newer

  • groups of customers who have an increasing degree of clout.

  • One such group is women.

  • More than 60 percent of car purchases are made by women and 85 percent are

  • influenced by them, according to data collected by cars.com.

  • And a survey from Kelley Blue Book found that safety is more important to

  • women car buyers than it is to men.

  • Automakers have taken notice, and while Volvo's products are still highly

  • regarded, there is just not the same distance between the best and the

  • rest that there used to be.

  • If there is a gap, it's much smaller than it used to be 20 or 30 years ago

  • for sure the attention that our Christmas programs have brought on safety

  • and the changes that have occurred with government regulation.

  • The government's own efforts toward consumer information have forced the

  • automakers to step up their game in terms of safety.

  • And I think the gaps are not as big as they once were.

  • IIHS names vehicles from several manufacturers to its top safety picks

  • list, including lower priced cars from Subaru, Mazda, KIYA and Hyundai.

  • So absolutely has a reputation for safety and certainly people.

  • So she Volvo would say the question really becomes is really are you

  • getting more safety today with a Volvo than your other cars?

  • And the truth is, is that while Volvo was innovators when it came to

  • seatbelts and a lot of crumbles owns a lot of things in the past.

  • Today, we're going to get a great deal of safety with many different

  • vehicles. So you really don't have to go and step up to a Volvo to get a

  • leading edge at safety anymore.

  • Now, Volvo aims to distinguish itself in other ways.

  • When Chinese automaker Geely bought Volvo in 2010, there was a certain

  • degree of skepticism over the acquisition.

  • Geely was a rather small Chinese automaker that made low cost cars for

  • Chinese buyers.

  • Volvo was thought to be on its last legs after years of ownership by Ford.

  • Geely paid $1.8

  • billion for the carmaker, a fraction of the $6.5

  • billion Ford had paid for Volvo in 1999.

  • After the deal was done, Geely Chairman Li Shufu said he thought Volvo

  • ought to try competing more with Mercedes and BMW.

  • But he also stressed that Geely would mostly leave Volvo alone.

  • So far, that plan has worked out with Geely's backing, Volvo revamped its

  • entire lineup, focusing heavily on sport utility vehicles that offer

  • understated luxury features and interiors.

  • The brand has played off its Swedish pedigree by designing its vehicles

  • cabins around the theme of Scandinavian sanctuary with plenty of natural

  • light and colors and materials that evoke nature.

  • The brand's sleek new aesthetic is widely considered to be a sharp

  • departure from the classic boxy and sensible family wagons and sedans

  • Volvo had long been known for.

  • That said, Volvo's name is still strongly associated with safety.

  • In Kelley Blue Book's brand watch survey, for example, Volvo is ranked

  • first among luxury brands for safety.

  • It's the only category where it leads, and a few recent moves suggest the

  • car company is as serious about protecting people as it has been in the

  • past. It said in March of 2019 it will share hundreds of research papers

  • based on data compiled by its traffic accident research team over the last

  • 40 years. The project is called the Equal Vehicles for All Initiative or

  • EVA for short.

  • Part of the purpose of the initiative is to reduce disparities in safety

  • among different populations, particularly between men and women.

  • Which Volvo said results in part from heavy reliance on crash test dummies

  • modelled on men's bodies.

  • As you know that everything started really with Volvo cars heritage

  • related to the safety belt.

  • When we invited the solution, we decided to put it free for

  • everyone. If you find something that can save life safe, you shouldn't

  • give it out for free. To the other manufacturers so they can they can

  • learn. And a got project was related to all the knowledge, based on all

  • the tests that we have done with female drivers and all the facts based on

  • how they are structured and because we are different.

  • So I would say all of those facts and figures you should share.

  • The brand also has a stated goal of eliminating all deaths and serious

  • injuries from new Volvo cars by 2020.

  • to achieve this end, it's making some other bold decisions.

  • It said in 2019 it will limit speeds and all of its vehicles to a maximum

  • of 112 miles per hour and it will install cameras in every car made from

  • early 2020 onward.

  • We had long discussions about this, you know.

  • Driving a car it should be fun.

  • You should be able to relax because the car is supposed to help you and

  • support you. But we also know that when things are going a little bit too

  • fast, it is tougher to have control over the car.

  • And really, if we are very, very honest, you don't need to drive faster.

  • You need to kind of move fast between two different speeds, but you don't

  • need to have that maximum speed.

  • And I think that suits very, very well with the brand.

  • And also, we talked about the typical Volvo customer with what they are

  • asking for and their strengths and weaknesses.

  • I would say it fits quite well.

  • CEOkan Samuelsson said the move could lead some to see Volvo as Big

  • Brother, but added that if it can help save lives, it will be worth it.

  • But perhaps Volvo's most dramatic transformation is into a premium brand

  • comprised entirely of electric and hybrid vehicles.

  • Even though the company is still touting its commitment to safe cars, its

  • transformation into an entirely electrified car brand is perhaps gaining

  • more attention. Volvo has said it plans to only make electric or hybrid

  • vehicles from 2019 onward.

  • It is aiming for half of its global sales to be fully electric by 2025 and

  • the other half to be some kind of hybrid.

  • By that time, Volvo wants to have 1 million electric or hybrid cars on the

  • road. Volvo is pitching its move as both a bet on tighter emissions

  • regulations around the world, including key markets in Europe and China,

  • as well as a natural continuation of Volvo's focus on safety and

  • well-being. Even a recent advertising campaign nods to Volvo's safety

  • legacy while promoting its new focus on green vehicles.

  • But developing electric power trains requires money, which may be tight as

  • auto sales slow and companies find themselves caught in global trade

  • disputes. Volvo arguably benefits tremendously from its ownership by

  • Geely. Much of Volvo's sales growth came from China, and the two companies

  • have been combining operations in some areas to share costs.

  • However, Volvo is still a small fish compared with some of the other

  • luxury brands it is competing with in electric cars or otherwise.

  • So entering in the luxury market, especially as a European brand but not a

  • German is definitely tricky.

  • Because you're up against competitors have been doing it for decades that

  • are extremely well known.

  • Audi, Mercedes, BMW all have deep pockets, all have big marketing spend.

  • All have really big advertising budgets.

  • So it seems to me that Volvo is taking a different approach.

  • I mean, they announced that all their vehicles are going to be their

  • electrified in some way, whether it's a plug-in hybrid or whether it's

  • fully electrified.

  • And perhaps that is, you know, in terms of a strategy, their way to

  • differentiate themselves amongst the German brands because they certainly

  • get out German, the Germans.

  • So trying to go a different approach, grab a lot of as much luxury car as

  • possible. Maybe something they're trying to do.

  • They're trying to find their unique way.

  • And it seemed as if they put their their eggs in that electrified basket.

  • While Volvo sold 642,253 vehicles around the world in

  • 2018, the BMW brand sold

  • 2,125,026.

  • Volvo is also going head to head with illustrious brands such as Porsche

  • and the continuously buzzed about California electric carmaker Tesla.

  • But if it takes carbon emissions as seriously as it has taken safety, it

  • could end up engineering something as influential as its famous

  • three-pointed seatbelt.

  • It's a reason why these brand is growing is a reason why we attract new

  • customers. And that is a combination of all the design, design and safety

  • you now focus on on the environment.

  • And I think that the awards, we really appreciate it.

  • It's very good for our employees and engineers that we get kind of receipt

  • that we're doing the right things and I'm happy for that.

  • But I would say it's the total, everything needs to fit to fit together to

  • just have safety in the front seat; that is, of course, tremendous,

  • extremely good. But we really would like to work with every single part of

  • the car. That's the reason why we are strong.

For much of its history, the name Volvo has been practically synonymous

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沃尔沃为何在安全性上失去领先优势(Why Volvo Is Losing Its Big Lead In Safety)

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    joey joey 發佈於 2021 年 04 月 25 日
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