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31 January 2003 marks the 20th anniversary of the compulsory wearing of seatbelts in Britain. When Volvo engineer, the late Nils Bohlin, invented the very first three-point seat belt nearly 50 years ago he could not have guessed how many millions of lives this would help to save. According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders), from 1983 to 2001 road deaths have fallen by 41.9% from 5,934 to 3,450, whilst in that same period the number of vehicles on the road has risen by 45.9% from 22.5 million to 32.8 million.

Volvo became the first manufacturer to fit three-point front seatbelts as standard in all of its cars as early as 1959. And it was the first car company to fit rear seatbelts as standard in 1967, some 22 years before wearing them became compulsory.

Christopher Macgowan, Chief Executive of the SMMT says: "Today is a significant milestone in road safety history. Seatbelts prevent thousands of injuries and deaths every year. So perhaps this is a good opportunity to remind drivers to take one of the most important steps to protect themselves each day and that means buckling up at all times, however short the journey."

Volvo - a history of award-winning safety innovations

The Volvo name is deservedly synonymous with safety in the automotive industry as its many pioneering safety achievements have been saving lives for nearly six decades, since it introduced the safety cage in 1944. Since then it has also been responsible for introducing laminated windscreens (1944), head restraints (1968), impact absorbing bumpers (1973), anti-submarining seats (1982), anti-lock brakes (1984), airbags (1987) and side airbags for both driver and front passenger (1994).

Volvo opened its new state-of-the-art, award winning, £59m Safety Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2000, underlining Volvo’s position at the forefront of automotive safety technology with superior testing capabilities to any other car manufacturer.

VOLVO SAFETY INNOVATIONS

1944 Safety cage around the passenger compartment.
Laminated windscreen.
1956 Split steering column.
Safety-padded dashboard.
1957 Attachments for 2-point belts at the front.
1958 Attachments for rear safety belts.
1959 Three-point front safety belts.
1964 Volvo's child safety research begins.
First rearward facing child safety seat prototype tested in a Volvo.
1965 Brake servo and pressure-sensitive relief valves.
1966 Dual circuit, triangle split brake system.
Crumple zones front and rear.
Collapse function in the split steering column.
Safety door locks.
1967 Safety belts on the rear seat.
1968 Head restraints front.
1969 Inertia reel belts. Heated rear screen.
1972 Rearward facing child seat.
Childproof locks on rear doors.
Volvo Experimental Safety Car (VESC).
1973 Side collision protection.
Collapse function in the steering wheel.
1974 Energy-absorbing shock absorbers.
Energy-absorbing steering column.
Isolated fuel tank and protection in a rear-end collision.
1975 Day running lamps.
Warning lamps.
1978 Child safety booster cushion.
1979 Headlamp washers/wipers.
Wide angle rear view mirror.
1982 Safety belts combined with anti-submarining guard.
Fog lamps rear-front.
Warning lamps on open doors.
Fuel tank in front of the rear axle.
1984 ABS-anti-locking brakes.
1985 ETC-electronic wheel spin control.
1986 New child safety programme.
Brake lights in rear screen.
Three-point belt on the centre rear seat.
1986 Mechanical seat belt pretensioner.
1987 Driver airbag.
1990 Integrated child safety booster cushion.
1991 SIPS/Side Impact Protection System.
Automatic height adjustment for front safety belts.
1992 New safety improvements in rear seats in estate.
1994 SIPS-bag. DARR-Volvo Digital Accident Research Recorder.
1995 DSA - Dynamic Stability Assistance.
1997 ROPS - Roll Over Protection System.
1998 WHIPS - Whiplash Protection System.
1998 IC, Volvo's Inflatable Curtain.
2000 ISOFIX attachment system for rearward facing child safety seats.
£59 million Volvo Safety Centre, crash test and research laboratory opens.
Dual-stage airbag.
Volvo Safety Concept Car.
2002 RSC (Roll Stability Control) active stability-enhancement system.
Lower front cross-member - protection system for oncoming smaller cars.
‘Pregnant’ crash-test dummy developed.

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 

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Very informative data on Volvo. Thanks. That said, what's the general assessment of the Ford-influenced Volvos. The styling is impressive, but the quality seems to be in question. Is the last really great Volvo the 1995 940? Curious to learn reactions please? Thanks

Mcqkm
 

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<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Originally posted by mcqkm

Very informative data on Volvo. Thanks. That said, what's the general assessment of the Ford-influenced Volvos. The styling is impressive, but the quality seems to be in question. Is the last really great Volvo the 1995 940? Curious to learn reactions please? Thanks

Mcqkm
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Mcqkm I dont think so. The Volvo quality actually has been improving since Ford took ownership. That's according to JD Power.

Have you seen the new S60R coming out in the next few months? Check it out here and look at the specs and the price. [8D]

http://www.6mt.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=94

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 

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I don't think the life of the cars has improved since ford took ownership though. Those volvos used to be able to last forever.
 
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