Large Chinese cities aren't known for having clean air. Just this week, the Chinese city of Harbin filled with record levels of smog after starting the city's coal-fired heating system, according to CNN. But Li Shufu, the chairman of Geely, Volvo's parent company, says the automaker's astute attention to cabin comfort in areas such as air filtration is a selling point for the Swedish automaker in China, Forbes reports.
Shufu says when he is inside a Volvo, he feels like he's in Northern Europe, but when the door is opened, he feels like he's in Beijing. The chairman made the remarks at the fourth annual Global Auto Forum (GAF) in China (which also happened to be attended by Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, which was Volvo's owner until 2010), where he emphasized Geely's hands-off approach to managing Volvo, saying, "Geely and Volvo are brothers, not father and son."
While good filtration contributes to cabin comfort, the way we see it, Shufu also is allowing Volvo to play to its most well-known strength: safety. Smog protection via air filtration might not seem like the most important safety feature for a car in the US (unless you live in Los Angeles), but when you consider that Harbin's level of fine particles was up to 30 times higher than the World Health Organization's recommended standard on Tuesday, we'd think twice about that. Fine particles, which are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less, are considered to be the most harmful to health.
What we're really wondering, however, is when 'smog lights' will become an important selling point in the Chinese market. What good is a filtration device if the driver can't see the road ahead?