By on March 2, 2011

“Why would you even ask that question? Do you think the Chinese want to kill people on the road?”

Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby after a reporter had asked him in Geneva whether Chinese ownership could hurt Volvo’s safety image.

From Automotive News [sub]

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14 Comments on “Quote Of The Day: Killer Instincts...”

  • avatar

    Many other Chinese car companies make vehicles with abysmal crash test results.  I think it’s a valid question with a non-answer from the CEO.

  • avatar

    It’s absolutely a valid question. Look at the recall history of Chinese products in the US — the ChiComs have a well-deserved reputation for desiring profit over safety.

  • avatar

    It’s not that the Chinese want to kill people, but if they can save $0.50 at the cost of risking millions of lives, they’ll gladly take the $0.50

    • 0 avatar

      How is this different than the US? Anyone remember (pre-EPA)rivers catching fire, or Bhopal?

    • 0 avatar

      Hmm… not as if Ford or GM have ever done the “how much will the lawsuits to compensate the maimed cost?” versus “how much to make the damn thing safe?” calculation and gone ahead with the “let ’em be maimed” decision. Noooo….perish the thought!

  • avatar

    The Chinese  mentality is to make money, and spend as litlle as possible to accomplish  that. Environmetal concerns , safety or quality  take a backseat to making money.
    Safety,quality  and environment are important issues for the average Volvo buyer , not to mention the lack  of respect for the individual and his political freedom in China.
    I think the sale to the Chinese will be the end of Volvo as we know it.  The new owners are hurting the image of the brand

  • avatar

    Companies that have their manufacturing done in China without a good testing regimen are at fault.
    Statistical sampling should be catching the misfits coming off the line (be it clothes, toys, etc) but perhaps they skip such testing to save even more money.

  • avatar

    Hmm, it’s true that the current, homegrown Chinese car companies produces unsafe cars, but then again, not only were they new and inexperienced, they could only compete on price as well. The car had to be cheap, or no one will even consider them. I remember reading somewhere about a response to the accusation that the China can only make cheap, low quality product, the person said that it’s because Chinese-made stuff _had_ to be cheap, thus they often had to sacrifice quality to achieve the target price. They could (and would) make better quality product, but people just aren’t interested in them because it won’t be cheap enough.
    So if with the Volvo brand name they could make safe, quality product, why won’t they? Especially since Geely already had it covered in the cheap (and unsafe) part of the market. They don’t need or want to make Volvo into another Geely. If anything, they probably would want to make Geely better someday, with Volvo technology, so it could command a bit higher price.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Lead paint.

  • avatar

    No, he’s right.  It’s one thing for Mattel or whomever to paint their toys with lead-arsenic-and-depleted-uranium paint.  It’d be irresponsible, sure, but “safety” is not a reason people buy Hot Wheels or Barbie.  Hell, there are a few marques who could probably get away with it, including pretty much all of China’s “native” brands.
    Safety is perhaps the reason why people buy Volvos, and compromising that would be brand suicide.  Mr. Jacoby is dead-bang-on, and I suspect Geely is not stupid or suicidal unless they have no interest in selling Volvos outside of China.
    It’s the same reason why Nike can use child slave labour, but, oh, Melissa & Doug would be eviscerated for the same.   Live the sword, die by the sword (where the “sword” is ethics, environment appeal, etc, etc).

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      FYI, in 2009 some Melissa and Doug products were recalled in Canada for excess Barium in the paint. For some reason that recall didn’t spread to the US even though the same products are sold in both countries.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Why would you even ask that question?”
    Well, for starters, China is perhaps the only industrialized country in the world which still permits the use of lead based paints. In general, products painted thus are not exported to North America or Europe, but sometimes mistakes happen. Back in 2007 the Chinese government made a big deal out of decreeing that it would ban the export of lead painted toys to the US. I guess it is ok to give Chinese children lead poisoning ????
    Auto related: China didn’t ban leaded gasoline for domestic consumption until June of 2000. Then again, the EU also didn’t get the lead out of gasoline until that same year.

  • avatar

    Maybe it was the mobile execution units he was thinking of.

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