Perhaps the most important market in the automotive world right now is in China, and Volvo is taking interesting measures to appeal to buyers there. The Swedish automaker will tweak its air filtration system, designed to keep outside pollutants entering the cabin, to keep their customers safe from the notorious air quality problems.
The system is now ten years old, but Volvo will reportedly put $11 billion behind a five-year plan to promote the technology to Chinese buyers. The Wall Street Journal this week has an article on Volvo's full China strategy, which includes the filtration system, but that article is protected behind a paywall. The New York Times has a shot blurb about the news, but we wanted more. Here's what we've learned about the Volvo system.
Originally introduced on the 2001 Volvo S80, the filtration system is called Interior Air Quality System (IAQS) and aims to keep passengers safe from odor, pollution and allergens from the outside. Volvo touted that the air inside the car would always be cleaner than the air outside. A sensor inside the air intake monitored incoming air for vehicle exhaust pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOX) and carbon monoxide (CO), the latter of which a normal filter can't reduce.
They then combined a particle filter with an active carbon filter to create a multi-filter. This part of the process keeps out particles like dust, sand, diesel soot and pollen. If you've seen any photos of Beijing recently, you know that this could sound pretty good to anyone living over there.
Interesting stuff, and as they updated the system and spread it across their model lineup, fans took notice. Earlier this year, the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association recommended seven Volvo models due to IAQS.
Several brands have seen wild success in China recently as the economy booms and buyers are snatching up luxury cars by the handful. With a targeted marketing campaign directed at keeping suffocating air pollution out of the car, Volvo could be on their way to getting a piece of the pie.