CHICAGO, IL (February 11, 2016) – The head of Volvo Car USA helped open the Chicago Auto Show today by sharing the Swedish automaker’s plan to deal with global challenges facing the auto industry.
Addressing the Economic Club of Chicago, Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Americas and President and CEO, Volvo Car USA, presented the company’s outlook on how emissions, congestion and accidents will shape tomorrow’s driving experience, and how they have shaped Volvo’s business strategy.
Standing beside the new S90 luxury sedan set to go on sale later this year, Kerssemakers pointed out the car is the second of nine new models Volvo will introduce in the next four years, and the first car in the U.S. to come with semi-autonomous driving features as standard equipment.
A Bold Vision
Volvo was founded in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1927 based on the guiding principle beind everything the company makes is, and must remain, safety. This has driven the company’s efforts to build cars that protect occupants. Volvo’s many world firsts in safety include the three-point seatbelt, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Side Impact Protection System (SIPS).
Vision 2020 is Volvo’s latest safety initiative. Launched in 2007 it states that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo by the year 2020.
“It is unacceptable that more than 1.2 million people are killed in traffic annually,” Kerssemakers said. “Here in the US, the figure is approximately 33,000 people. Zero is the only acceptable number for us to work toward.”
He continued, “Volvo has always been a leader in safety innovation. And now technologies such as our low speed autonomous braking solution, pedestrian, cyclist, and animal detection all are key steps on our autonomous drive journey. As they have evolved as individual solutions, we now bring them together in an intricate and advanced system. This allows us to offer our second generation semi-autonomous system on the all new Volvo S90.”
The S90 will be the first vehicle for sale with semi-AD standard. It will be able to accelerate, brake and steer at speeds up to 80mph, without needing a car to follow in front.
In addition to safety, Volvo’s Vision 2020 is about reducing traffic congestion. In 2014 Americans collectively lost 6.9 billion hours to congestion. Chicago is the eighth most congested city in the U.S. Chicagoans together lost a total of 302 million hours due to congestion and nearly $1,500 per driver, well above the nationwide average of $960.
“At the end of 2017 we will have the largest and world's first fleet of 100 autonomous vehicles in the hands of real customers,” Kerssemakers told the audience. “’Drive Me’ is a unique collaboration between Volvo Cars and other stakeholders in our home town of Gothenburg, Sweden. It will allow real customer feedback to help develop the first AD cars available to a wider audience. It will also assist authorities to understand how legislation, infrastructure planning and other societal elements will need to develop.”
Volvo will have all its cars on display at the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place February 12-21.
About Volvo Car USA
Volvo Car USA, LLC, (www.volvocars.com/us) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCUSA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States. For more information please refer to the VCUSA media website at: http://www.media.volvocars.com/us.
** Based on recent IIHS and NHTSA data