No matter who owns Volvo, it will remain a safety-conscious auto maker. That was the message this week at the New York International Auto Show as U.S. Volvo executives hailed the deal that brought them new Chinese owners and introduced their redesigned S60 sedan with innovative safety features.
Ford had just agreed to sell Volvo to Chinese carmaker Geely (aka Zhejiang Geely Holding Group), for $1.8 billion. Volvo fans will be glad to know that at the agreement signing, Geely said Volvo will be run by its current managers and will keep making cars in Sweden. But Geely also will open a Beijing factory to produce 300,000 Volvos for the Chinese market-as many as are now made for the rest of the world. Volvo enthusiasts shouldn't notice much difference in the vehicles in the immediate future. Ford will continue supplying engines, transmissions and other components.
Who is Geely? Though the company started out making refrigerators and then motorcycles, it's been manufacturing cars since 1997 and is one of the fastest-growing carmakers in China.
As for the S60, it features a clever "Pedestrian Detection Full Auto Brake" feature that spots pedestrians in front of the car with cameras and radar. If the driver is not responding quickly enough, the S60 slams on the brakes. Volvo says cars hitting pedestrians result in 4,700 fatalities a year in the U.S. The S60 also includes advanced stability control that detects potential skids earlier, helping to prevent that skidding and potential rollovers.
More from MoneyWatch:
Fuel-Efficient American Cars Star at NY Auto Show
Electric Cars and Hybrids Buzzing at NY Auto Show
Used Car Prices Up: Best Buys for Your Money
Should You Buy an Electric Car?
5 Ways to Beat Rising Gas Prices