Safety First

Volvo calls on UN to address vehicle safety inequality

Volvo, like other automakers, crash test their vehicles ahead of them making their way to dealership lots.

Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

Each year, an estimated 1.35 million people lose their lives in traffic accidents. Research by the World Health Organization shows that the risk of dying as part of a traffic incident is more than three times higher in developing countries than in developed countries.

Volvo Cars is calling on the United Nations to address the inequality. The company believes that the countries worldwide should promote safety belt usage by " introducing and enforcing seat-belt laws covering both front and rear seats." They also believe that the countries should develop infrastructure to separate motorized traffic from pedestrian and cyclist traffic.

" original_size="2500x1875" photo_credit="Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation" alt="Volvo safety car test" expand="1"] Vehicles sold in the U.S. are extensively crash tested ahead of their debut on dealer lots.Photo courtesy of Volvo Car Corporation

"Global data shows that there is a significant inequality in road safety," said Malin Ekholm, head of the Volvo Cars Safety Centre. "Those safety gaps need to be addressed through technology, but also by creating and enhancing a global safety culture. We need to understand and address the variation in seat belt usage, while infrastructure should focus on improving the safety of vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists."

The call to action has been announced as delegates from over 80 United Nations member states gather in Stockholm, Sweden to attend the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.

Volvo says that they are "keen to contribute to global road safety initiatives with its rich wealth of safety knowledge, as it has done for many decades in collaboration with governments, academia and regulators." This initiative has its roots in the 1959 introduction of the three-point safety belt, which the company took out an open patent on and promised not to enforce patent violations or charge others royalties to use.

In 2018 the rate of seat belt use in the U.S. was 89.6%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts. NHTSA research indicates that buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash.

Only 105 of the world's countries have safety belt laws that cover front and rear seat occupants. There are 195 counties on Earth.

Lax safety standards are one reason that automakers sell vehicles in markets in Asia, Africa, and Europe that they don't sell in the U.S. Those regions tend to have less stringent regulations when it comes to required safety equipment, technology, and structural integrity.

Additionally, there is less cost involved in the production of vehicles with fewer safety features so they may be sold to customers in less wealthy nations for lower prices than vehicles in the U.S.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Two British brands are coming together to launch a new project.

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

The two companies have performance-oriented contemporary design in common, but that's not all. British car company Lotus has begun working with Savile Row outfitter and bespoke tailor Norton & Sons on a new project.

For now, both companies have been relatively mum on what they're working on, but a few key details have snuck out. The first of which is that they say their creation is "For the Drivers". A clue and a tagline in one.

There are promises that the creation will, "incorporate both brands' core values of light-weighting, performance-oriented contemporary design and sporting durability." They'll make an official announcement later this year.

Lotus x Norton & Sons Norton & Sons is located on London's famed Savile Row.Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

Lotus has been undergoing a brand renaissance since new shareholders and management took over in 2018. In its heyday, the company had the Elan, which was recently voted as one of Britain's best classic cars, had vehicles featured in James Bond films, and was winning at the racetrack with enough frequency to claim a level of dominance.

Recently, the company has made plans for a quick and electrified future. They announced that the Lotus Evija hypercar has enter its initial build stage.

On the more pedestrian end of the spectrum, the Evora has gotten a cheaper, more daily-driver-focused variant and Elise Classic Heritage Editions were shown for the first time.

Norton & Sons was founded in 1821 and celebrates its bicentennial next year. It has clothed some of history's most stylish and inspiring men, including Hollywood legends such as actor Cary Grant, British royalty including King Edward VII, and performance pioneers such as Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the speed of sound.

Patrick Grant, Director of Norton & Sons, said: "The year I was born Lotus won the Formula 1 Constructors' Championship. Growing up it was the definitive British sports car brand. James Bond drove a Lotus Esprit and it was the car that every kid in the playground dreamed of owning. Colin Chapman is revered as an engineering icon, a pioneer and an entrepreneur of exceptional personal style. Norton & Sons has a long tradition of making for sportsmen and pioneers, so Lotus and Norton & Sons feels like a perfect fit."

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The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will debut on June 24.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The Volkswagen what? You're not alone if you haven't heard of the Arteon. The model is easy to forget in a carscape that's crowded with a rich number of much more premium and luxury cars that compete directly with the model in the U.S. due to the car's high price point.

The Arteon is the successor to the Volkswagen CC. The company makes them in Germany and China. VW designed the car to be an upmarket offering.

2020 Volkswagen Arteon The current interior of the 2020 Arteon doesn't have the appointments or features of many modern premium and luxury cars, despite Volkswagen positioning the model to fit in with that crowd.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

It's a model that hasn't quite caught on with American audiences despite the popularity of other models in the Volkswagen lineup like the Atlas, Tiguan, and Jetta. In the first quarter of the year, Volkswagen sold under 800 Arteons. Alfa Romeo sold more than twice as many Giulias during that same time and Toyota sold that many RAV4s every 17 hours.

Volkswagen will debut a refreshed version of the Arteon on June 24. The 2021 Volkswagen Arteon will have a completely new cockpit area and feature a new roster of high-tech infotainment system functions.

It will also benefit from the addition of new safety and driver assist systems, including Travel Assist, which takes over steering, acceleration, and braking at speeds up to 130 mph. Further restrictions of the vehicle's capability will likely be forthcoming.

Additionally, Volkswagen will premiere the new Arteon shooting brake alongside the sedan. VW has already acknowledged that the U.S. isn't getting this version of the car. It's planned exclusively for Europe according to a release from the company.

With just the interior getting refreshed, the U.S. version of the car is likely to continue to have its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For the 2020 model year, Volkswagen sold the car in the U.S. in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and SEL Plus. It was priced starting at $35,995.

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