Volvo unveils first car with ‘pedestrian’ airbags

Volvo unveils first car with 'pedestrian' airbags
A new Volvo V40 hatchback, equipped with the latest in safety features including the first ever “external“ airbag system, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.

“The all-new V40 makes an instant impression with a dramatic design that stands out from the crowd. And what you see is what you get. It has pretty much everything,” says Volvo’s Håkan Abrahamsson in a statement.

Related gallery: Volvo V40 Gallery

Among the new features are a world-first pedestrian airbag, a so-called Lane Keeping Aid with haptic auto steering, and a system designed to makes parallel parking easy.

The low-speed collision avoidance system has been further developed so that it now operates at speeds up to 50 km/h.

Production of the new Volvo V40 starts in May 2012. The car will be built in Volvo Car Corporation’s plant in Ghent, Belgium.

Talking to the gathered press from the car show in Geneva, CEO Stefan Jacoby wanted to play down all the talk about a financial crisis in Europe.

His stance regarding the situation of the company is optimistic.

“We have increased by four percent globally this year while Europe is down by seven percent. Of course we see the recession in Europe but there are positive signals as well. I look positively at the future,” Jacoby said at the car show.

According to Jacoby the company is not risking over-capacity and will not have to cut down on staff in the near future. In fact, Jacoby foresees a potential recruitment drive over the next few years.

Among Volvo’s many current ventures is the collaboration with owners Geely in creating a separate Chinese company to be able to manufacture Volvo cars in China.

The hope is that production will begin there in 2013, if the necessary permits can be obtained.

The company is also searching for a new partner to collaborate on the manufacture of the next generation of small cars.

“We are evaluating different options. We have not decided yet. It must be a partner who suits us,” Jacoby said.

TT/Rebecca Martin

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