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The Volvo brand has been a beacon of safety in the automotive industry, making a name for itself as some of the safest cars on the road. Volvo invented the three-point seat belt technology that is still used in virtually every vehicle on the road today. In fact, the Volvo brand prioritizes safety so much that it sacrificed brand new XC40, V60, and V90 models in order to help reduce teams research new methods for extraction after extreme crashes.

a Volvo building with the logo and a display car
Volvo car showroom | Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

So what’s the best way to mimic the damage and unpredictable position of a car after it’s been in an extreme crash? Drop it from 30 meters with a crane, of course. Check out the video below. In order to provide helpful data to extrication workers, Volvo crashed brand new models onto their faces from nearly 100 feet in the air. Let’s take a look.

Are Volvo models really the safest car?

a new Volvo V90CC on display at an auto show is one of the safest cars on the road
Volvo V90 Cross Country | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Volvo models are among the safest cars on the market. In 2021, every Volvo earned a Top Safety Pick+ award from the International Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS. Volvo is a pioneer in terms of automotive safety. Starting with the invention of the widely-used three-point seatbelt and then, more recently, innovation in new crash mitigation tech.

The brand itself is seated firmly in our minds as one of the safest car brands out there. From sedan to wagon, to family-friendly crossover SUV, the Volvo lineup offers several different options for buyers interested in safety combined with a premium fit and finish. It’s difficult to say in absolute terms what the safest car out there really is. That said, the Volvo brand remains a safe staple in the industry.

So Volvo took it one step further than most. The brand sacrificed new Volvo cars and crossover models to show us just how much the Swedish car brand keeps safety at the core of its values. Ultimately, 10 new models were destroyed in order to help rescue teams. The pros painstakingly research new methods of extrication in the event of an extreme crash.

Watch as Volvo XC40, V60, and V90 models plummet to their death from a crane

The Volvo V90 Cross Country (V90CC) tests begin in the video at the 4:27 mark. First, it’s dropped tail first 30 meters to a concrete crash pad. The Volvo XC40 and Volvo V60 models are also tested this way. The video shows the vehicles plummeting toward extreme destruction tail first, face first, and sideways.

The purpose of such rigorous testing is to give the rescue crews a chances to test out new ways to extract passengers from inside the car. The rescue professionals in the video speak of the importance of documenting everything. The “golden hour” is vital to saving lives of passengers in extreme crash situations.

This means that getting injured passengers, many of whom are in critical condition after such an accident, to the hospital for care within the first hour could mean the difference between life and death. But what is so special about the fact that Volvo gives up these cars? Does it have anything to do with them being some of the safest cars around?

These crash test give extrication professionals a chance to test their methods on new models

Volvo XC60, S60, V90 Cross Country, and S90
Volvo XC60, S60, V90 Cross Country, and S90 | Volvo

Cars today are pretty different than they were 10, 15, or 20 years ago. That’s why it’s so special for Volvo to sacrifice these brand new Volvo XC40, Volvo V60, and Volvo V90CC models. These cars are brand new.

The scrap cars typically used in training and tests are at least a decade old. On the other hand, the crashed cars in the video are new Volvo models provided by the safety-conscious Swedish brand. The extrication specialists and rescue personnel are then able to train and research extraction methodology on new models. This way, they know what to expect should they get called to a crash scene of an accident involving a new car.


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