Volvo to make cars 'death-proof' from 2020
Volvo will introduce a speed limiter to every car it builds from 2020 as the brand moves to meet its target of no deaths in any of its cars from that year onward.
The company's vision is "that by 2020, no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car", and according to Volvo CEO and president, Hakan Samuelsson.
Part of that strategy, it appears, includes speed management, with the head of the company saying that all models sold from 2020 will be limited to 180km/h as a means of reducing the risk of losses of life or serious injuries.
"Speed limitation is not a cure-all," Mr Samuelsson said at the Geneva motor show. "It's worth doing if we can even save one life."
In markets such as Australia that is of no concern - the highest speed limit in the country is 130km/h. But in Europe, where there are open speed zones on autobahns and freeways, the plan has been met with some scepticism.
Mr Samuelsson indicated that Volvo is not looking to play nanny with the move to restrict the freedoms of its customers - rather that it considers this plan a form of social responsibility.
"We want to start a conversation about whether carmakers have the right or maybe even the obligation to install technology in cars that changes their driver's behaviour, to tackle things like speeding, intoxication or distraction," Mr Samuelsson said.
"We don't have a firm answer to this question, but believe we should take leadership in the discussion and be a pioneer."
Volvo has built its name on safety - from the boxy wagons of yesteryear to the SUVs of today, the Chinese-owned Swedish brand offers a comprehensive suite of safety technology, with many systems setting the standard for their categories.
Indeed, the XC90 large SUV has pushed the brand's 'death-proof' cars notion. According to a UK study by Thatcham Research, not a single person died in that market in the brand's large SUV between 2004 and 2017 - with 70,000 examples of both the first generation model (2002-2014) and the second-gen version (2014-) proving fatality free.