What exactly are we talking about you ask? Safety, obviously. Can you really evoke the Volvo name without mentioning the very aspect that’s shaped its character up until about the current generation of models?
You see, Volvo’s always danced to its own tune and judging from Sweden’s accomplished list of musicians such as Swedish House Mafia, the late Avicii, Abba and even Dr. Alban, there’s no shortage of people that will get jiggy to those jingles… although it isn’t for everyone.
Here’s the part where some folks will stick fingers in their earholes though. Volvo implementing the next, logical but nonetheless controversial, step in its vision of zero deaths/serious injuries in new Volvo cars by 2025.
Said step is the execution of a 180kph speed cap on all new Volvo models rolling out the factory beginning now. That’s right folks, it’s happening and it’s going down right now. However, here’s why Volvo’s take on it is along the very stance of that famous line expressed by legendary thespian Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind.
Gable said, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” and Volvo pretty much concurs with that statement about those who oppose the speed cap. When the news first broke, many “driving enthusiasts” had their underwear in undulations over the initiative.
The fact of the matter is safety’s always been a core value in the corridors of Gothenburg and in order to realise their vision, some contentious steps had to be executed that would undoubtedly leave some motorists butthurt.
Volvo believes that even with all its industry-leading active and passive safety tech, above a certain speed they’re all rendered null and void in preventing death or serious injury. Its own research has cited that the average motorist had a poor perception of speed in relation to reaction times.
Hence, limiting speeds is just another piece of the puzzle in keeping all aspects of a Volvo vehicle, including the nut behind the wheel (pun intended), in control or protected at all times on the road.
“We believe that a car maker has a responsibility to help improve traffic safety. Our speed limiting technology, and the dialogue that it initiated, fits that thinking. The speed cap and Care Key help people reflect and realise that speeding is dangerous, while also providing extra peace of mind and supporting better driver behavior,” said Malin Ekholm, Head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre.
In addition to the speed car, every new Volvo will be equipped with a Care Key that allows the drivers to programme lower speed limits for when the children a redriving or lending the vehicle to a friend. You can stop rolling yours eyes at that statement.
Volvo itself has acknowledged that the move might be the crux of it losing some clientele and they’re alright with it (refer to Clark Gable’s quote in para 5).
Simply put, Volvo is manufacturing an environment that encompasses all aspects of safety on the road and some sacrifices must be made. But imagine if its vision of not having any deaths or serious injury in a Volvo in the future comes to fruition? Wouldn’t that genuinely be amazing?
Dancing to its own tune also means that it isn’t for everyone. That’s not news though, we’ve always known that Volvos are an acquired taste. Just like pineapples on pizza, it isn’t to everyone’s taste but those that like it are just a little more sophisticated.
“BMW or Mercedes-Benz will never order such a travesty.” We hear the blood-curdling screams of you plebeians and we riposte with the fact that German carmakers do have their own gentleman’s agreement; limiting the top speed of some high-performance models to 250kph.
Yes, even in the country that is the last bastion of unrestricted highways with regards to speed limits, that’s a thing. Cup your hands to your ears and what do you hear? Absolutely nothing because nobody’s being a crybaby about it.
Furthermore, basic road etiquette is sorely lacking in most Malaysian drivers that, coupled with the less-than-stellar roads we have, simply makes highspeed highway cruising unfeasible.
At the end of the day, Volvo will do what it deems necessary to prevent deaths/serious injury in its cars from 2025 and that’s precisely why some find the marque appealing. If the speed cap puts you off buying a new Volvo, sorry to say the brand wasn’t for you anyways.
But if you so desire a Volvo that'll do over 180kph; which most of them can, the aftermarket will surely come to the rescue sooner rather than later.