Volvo is accelerating the pace: at 180 degrees, it’s over

ANDI have lived and worked in Germany for many years and I really enjoyed the country. And I know how important the motorway is for the Germans. It is deeply rooted in German culture and is something of a sacred cow. The motorway, which has no speed limits for many sections, is truly unique. But over the past year, at Volvo Cars, we have made a decision we deem necessary. We decided to limit the speed of our vehicles.

From now on, with the start of production for model year 2021, each new Volvo will be delivered with a standard top speed of 180 km / h. This is how we keep our promise last year. By limiting the maximum speed of our vehicles, we will not prevent all serious injuries and deaths that may be related to speeding. However, we believe it is important for people to reflect on the dangers of speeding. We want them to consider the impact that speeding can have and our inability to be aware of and adapt our speed to road conditions at all times.

We knew this decision would be controversial, especially in Germany. And no doubt the reactions we received have been mixed. In a way, this is exactly what we were hoping for – and we had already achieved it. The strong reactions made it clear that this topic is nerve-racking and people are eager to think about speeding. We have received a lot of approval for our approach and commitment to road safety. For many people, our choice is fully in line with the expectations of the Volvo brand.


Håkan Samuelsson is the CEO of Volvo Cars.
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Image: Volvo

But not everyone saw it that way. Some felt that the speed limit on their vehicle was an unacceptable interference with their personal freedom. A few people even said: That’s it, I’m no longer interested in the new Volvo. Of course, we don’t want to alienate or lose any customers. But we also have to stick to what we think is right. And if driving over 180 km / h is so important to someone, then a Volvo may not be the right car for them.

Because we have strong corporate values ​​to which we are committed, and safety is a core value that has shaped our company since we started building cars in 1927. It is true what our founders said: “People drive cars. Safety is and must be the guiding principle in everything we do at Volvo. ” That’s why we’ve always been a safety pioneer. A company that doesn’t follow, but leads. In addition, when we introduced the three-point seat belt, some felt it was unnecessary. A few years later, when seat belts became mandatory, many people were nervous and did not understand why this law was necessary. But today we know that three-point seat belts are a rescue that has become indispensable in cars.

Our safety research shows that many drivers do not correctly assess the risk of speeding. As a result, they often drive too fast and do not adjust their speed to the traffic situation. We want to prevent serious injury or death to people in our vehicles. We are one of the few companies that can reliably represent such an ambitious goal. If we are to achieve this goal, we cannot rely solely on technology or physical security standards. We also need to encourage better behavior and help people understand that speeding is dangerous. This is our responsibility as a pioneer in the field of automotive safety.

Therefore, it is worth asking yourself: is the speed limit of our vehicles to 180 km / h really an unacceptable restriction of our personal freedom? Do we ever need to be able to go faster than 180 km / h? Or is it a small sacrifice we make to make the streets safer for everyone? The speed limit on new Volvo vehicles is not for everyone. We get it. But if the move only helps save one life and spark a debate about the dangers of speeding, then it’s worth it.

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