Stockholm, December 17, 2012: Autoliv, Inc, the worldwide leader in automotive safety, reports that the company has delivered over half-a- billion airbags for side protection since the company invented these safety devices in 1994.
Side airbags were first introduced to the automotive market when Autoliv, in cooperation with Volvo, launched the world's first side-impact airbag on the Volvo 850. This airbag was designed to reduce injuries and fatalities to the occupant's chest in side-impact collisions. Subsequently, in 1998, Autoliv introduced another world's first. This was the inflatable curtain, which is an airbag that covers the whole upper side of a vehicle in a side-impact collision to protect the head of occupants sitting on the struck side of the vehicle. This patented airbag was launched in cooperation with Volvo and Mercedes.
“These products continue to provide a very important benefit to society and human life” commented Jan Olsson, vice-president of Autoliv Research. “We estimate that our side airbags in the field will save at least 15,000 lives over the years while in service. In addition, we believe there is significant savings to society in medical and rehabilitation costs related to fewer injuries due to our side airbags,” added Olsson.
“Our company's primary focus is to save more lives,” stated Jan Carlson CEO of Autoliv, while presenting his keynote address during a recent employee management conference. “It gives us a real sense of pride and accomplishment when we hear from people who have survived automobile crashes because of the products our dedicated employees design and produce every day”.
Side airbags (both chest side airbags and head curtain side airbags) will become mandatory on all new light vehicles sold as of September next year (in developed markets) according to federal law. Despite this improvement, only 50 percent of the passenger light vehicles produced in the world are currently equipped with side airbags.
Autoliv develops and manufactures automotive safety systems for all major automotive manufacturers in the world. Together with its joint ventures, Autoliv has more than 80 facilities with more than 50,000 employees in 29 countries including India. In addition, the company has 10 technical centers in nine countries around the world, with 21 test tracks, more than any other automotive safety supplier. Sales in 2011 grew by 15 percent to US $8.2 billion.