By on July 1, 2020

volvo emblem logo grille

To be fair, three-point seat belts didn’t exactly set American consumers on fire back in 1959, but the innovation eventually caught on, becoming the industry’s dominant passive restraint.

Yet even safety features can contain safety defects, which is why Volvo Cars is embarking on its largest recall to date. The (Chinese-owned) Swedish automaker has announced a global callback of 2,183,701 vehicles built over the span of 14 years.

This news is still young, and it seems the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t yet caught up. As such, we can only tell you the recall’s associated time frame and model list.

That period spans 2006 to 2019, with such models as the Volvo S60, V60, XC60, V70, XC70, and S80 impacted by the defect. In a statement reported by Reuters, Volvo Cars said, “The issue is related to a steel cable connected to the front seat belts.”

“The cable may, under certain rare circumstances and user behaviours, over time suffer from fatigue. This could eventually cause damage to the cable, resulting in reduced seat belt restraint function,” the automaker continued.

The safety-obsessed company said its recall was strictly a preventative measure, as it knows of no known incidents or injuries stemming from the issue.Volvo will begin contacting owners, asking them to get in touch with their dealer to arrange a free fix. In this case, it’s a straightforward repair.

While its history is one of constant safety innovation, Volvo has lately taken its quest for zero passenger deaths in a new direction, capping the top speed of its new cars at 112 mph in a bid to achieve its goal.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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13 Comments on “The Safety Innovation That Put Volvo on the Map Is Behind Its Largest Recall...”


  • avatar
    Mackey

    “Volvo has lately taken its quest for zero passenger deaths in a new direction, capping the top speed of its new cars at 112 mph in a bid to achieve its goal.”

    This makes me ask, how many people driving Volvos have died going more than 112 miles an hour? And, if they had only been smart enough to keep their speed to 110, would they now still be alive?

    Clearly, this is intended to be a symbolic shot across the bow to other auto manufacturers, but let’s face it, a cap at 112 across the entire auto market would impact an infinitesimal number of accidents, likely with little change if the only result was that they were doing 112 instead of 125.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Exactly.

      They’d achieve much more by capping top speeds at 35 mph along with interlocking the seatbelts, ignition, and a breathalyzer.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The 112MPH plan is one of the goofiest automotive things ever.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        The 112mph (really 180kph) limit may have a business advantage, in that it lets Volvo save money by using OEM tires, driveshafts, and bearings with lower speed ratings.

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          My plain vanilla S70 could go a bit faster than that, but the only replacement tire choices were H or V rated, no S in the size that came with the car. (S is 180km/h or 112mph.)

          I’m not trying to contradict you, far from it, just making an observation.

          • 0 avatar
            SPPPP

            JimC2, no offense taken. I am only making an observation that cost savings may be a factor in why Volvo chose to do this. For an example, I poked around on Volvo’s website and observed that the minimum tire speed rating for a 2019 S90 could be H, V, or W, depending on the sub-model. Looking at a 2021 S90, the minimum tire speed rating for every sub-model is H, across the board. Saving some $3 per tire could add up.

    • 0 avatar
      CombiNation

      Yeah, it’s definitely more marketing than common sense, but I think Volvo is being savvy on this one. Top speed isn’t really a big deal anymore for selling cars. Especially electric cars. Look at the Merc EQC. 400 hp, gobs of torque, and a 4.6 sec 0-60 time. But it’s speed limited to 112, just like Volvo.

      I read last year that Polestar would avoid speed limiters. And I’m sure Mercedes will offer an AMG-EQC with a top end that will be in the Tesla ballpark.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      It’s the same governed top speed as 99% of the pickup trucks sold, and nobody gripes about that.

      Probably most don’t know it, but anyone who’s read C/D for years knows it if they bothered to notice the spec/test results panel.

      Talk about seat belts reminds me that they’re not needed 99% of the time, but we wear them in vehicles just in case. Same reason I wear a face mask when facing the clueless public – they hated seat belts when those came in with apochryphal stories, them it was the campaign against airbags.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Agreed- I distinctly remember R&T annotating electronically limited top speed in the early 1990s.

        I guess if you really gotta gotta go faster then there is an aftermarket for it or DIY hacks on YouTube or something (other than buying a different car, obviously).

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This is roughly half the cars Volvo built over that time period – an expensive recall.

    Just in the US, that will mean each dealer will have to fix about 400 cars on average – yikes.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Who owned Volvo in 2006 when this problem started? Oh – nevermind. Carry on.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    i wonder how many that come in might be tempted to buy or lease a new volvo. checking and possibly replacing a cable doesnt sound too expensive.

  • avatar

    I hate Volvos, because they appear to exist only to make my radar detector false Laser hits….and don’t have one following you….

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