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Volvo Monitors Car Owners' Concerns


GOTHENBURG - July 3, 2006: Almost everybody worries about car security issues. But the reasons differ from country to country. Surveys requested by Volvo Cars clearly highlight the situations that concern car owners. “Theft of the car is the main concern of Swedes, whereas most Brazilian owners fear personal assault,” says Karin Bäcklund, who is responsible for Market Intelligence at Volvo Cars.

Volvo Cars has carried out a survey in nine countries – Brazil, Italy, Norway, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the USA.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Karin Bäcklund, Director Market Intelligence

“In general, repeated assaults are what worry people most when it comes to personal security,” says Karin Bäcklund, “whether in the car or going to and from it.” The fear of assault is greatest in Brazil, as expressed by four out of five owners. Many are fearful that somebody will hide in the car waiting to attack the driver. “This is naturally related to the situation in the country. The level of crime is high in Brazil, where kidnappings and aggravated violence are unfortunate realities that people have to live with.” Many people in Brazil and Britain express a fear of carjacking, where somebody jumps into the car at a red light, robs or assaults the occupants and/or uses a weapon to force them to drive where the carjacker wants.

Italians are also fearful of assaults and carjacking, and of finding themselves in the middle of street disturbances. Four out of five Italian motorists want laminated glass in their cars. Theft is the main concern of owners as regards the car itself. Other major sources of anxiety include theft of property from the car, parking overnight in a location that feels unsafe, and parking in poorly lit and unsupervised areas.

Differences between countries also emerge here. Swedes are particularly worried about leaving their cars unattended overnight, while the British are more concerned about break-ins and the theft of property than theft of the vehicle itself. About half of Brazilians, on the other hand, report that they are unconcerned about this aspect, focusing exclusively on personal security. The reasons for anxiety are reflected in the security enhancing features that the respondents would like to have in their cars. In Brazil, a car alarm was not among the five most wanted security features in the survey, whereas this was top of the list in Sweden. Brazilians and Italians wanted impact-resistant laminated windscreens, while Swedes preferred lockable wheel trim.

Two items appeared on all wish lists – run flat tyres and an SOS (Mayday) system. Means of calling the police or an ambulance were considered important in all countries. Even greater agreement was expressed when the interviewees were asked how they envisaged the scenario a few years from now. All of the respondents agreed that they would like to see technologies that assist the recovery of a stolen car.

In Karin Bäcklund’s opinion, this type of survey of motorists’ concerns is an important aid to the car industry: “We treat this seriously,” she says. “We take the information on board and try to adapt our cars to our customers’ preferences. “Safety is a Volvo core value. This includes all aspects of safety, including personal security.”