McKinsey Problem Solving Test - Example Test Question #1

One of the skills that's being tested during a case interview is something I call data sufficiency.

Basically, you have a bunch of data and the question is do you have ENOUGH data to make a particular conclusion.

This is certainly something that is tested during a live, in-person, face-to-face case interview.

It is also a skill that is often tested in a variety of formats including written tests before the first in-person case interview question is asked.

An example of this is the McKinsey Problem Solving Test which evaluates your data sufficiency skills (among others).

In parts of the McKinsey Problem Solving Test, you are given a bunch of data and some possible conclusions.

Your job is to figure out which conclusions are or are NOT supported by the facts presented.

Now this test is not intended to torture you (though I know some people might argue with me on this one).

It turns out this is a very important skill once you're on the job as a management consultant, especially as a first year analyst or associate.

In addition to a live case interview, the McKinsey Problem Solving Test, other firms have used similar tests (Monitor has done this from time to time) OR have given an in-person case interview where the candidate is presented with a written document consisting of various facts, figures and other data… and the data sufficiency skill is tested verbally.

These are all variations of the same thing.

Given a set of data, will you determine the correct, logical, and factually supported conclusion every time?

So bottom line, this skill is pretty important and based on the many emails I've been receiving from aspiring consultants around the world, it seems many people are having a difficult time figuring out how to practice these skill.

So just for kicks, I thought I'd give you an actual data sufficiency type question that a McKinsey Partner in the Los Angeles office asked me when I interviewed there for my final round several years ago.

Before I give you the question (which is posted on my blog), I strongly recommend that you read the question and then immediately hit the "post comment" button to post your answer on my blog.

(You can do so with just your first name or initials if you want to be a anonymous)

The key is to post your answer WITHOUT seeing other people's answers!

(otherwise it sort of defeats the purpose of practicing, and there really are very few opportunities to practice this skill.).

I will be "grading" all the answers posted in a day or two.

Here's the question:

Volvo recently ran an advertisement that said:

Volvo - The Safest Car in the United States*

* New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in Americ

(Note: A prior version of this blog post indicated that Volvo was the Safest Car in the World.  My intention was to write U.S., so some of the answers you see may reflect this.)

Assess the validity of this statement, you have 3 - 5 minutes to do so. You are NOT permitted to ask any clarifying questions. Please be SPECIFIC in your answers. Go!

Click Here to Post Your Response
(Remember: Don't cheat by looking at everyone else's response first, look at them AFTER you post your response.)

Scroll down to see the hundreds of answers submitted by readers of my blog.

To see my answer to this question (ideally AFTER you try to answer the question yourself FIRST), click here: McKinsey Problem Solving Test - Example 1 Answers.

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5494 comments… add one
  • J Nov 23, 2010, 6:16 pm

    It is the safest car in the United States but no matter what, there are still casualties of human being themselves that happen every year. Even though, Volvo is the safest car in the world, people might die due to several other reasons for instance, drunk driving or so. Therefore, it is concluded that Volvo might be the safest car based on its specifications but due to other factors, people do die just not as much.

  • Max Nov 27, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Knowing that fewer people dies tells us nothing since the statement doesn’t provide any relative information about how many that drives Volvos compared to other brands, i.e. there could just be 100 Volvos in the U.S and 100.000 Fords following the facts provided in the statement.

    Conclusion: The slogan can not be backed up by the given argument since their is insufficient data or information for such a claim.

  • Em Dec 1, 2010, 7:40 pm

    Areas to consider:
    1. Prevalence of Volvo drivers in US, including multiple drivers/Volvo
    2. Demographic – Intersection of Volvo drivers group with high risk drivers group
    3. Locations where most Volvo’s are driven – Intersection with high risk locations
    4. Passenger capacity of most Volvo’s in US – i.e., mostly sedans or vans?

  • Em Dec 1, 2010, 7:41 pm

    5. Crash rating of Volvo relative to other brands

  • Dee Dec 3, 2010, 9:34 am

    1) Different car brands bought with their respective proportions.
    2) Number of accidents per brand
    3) Compute percentage of accidents compared to no of cars bought for each brand.
    4) This does not take into account however, people who own more than one car and so some cars may not be driven as much as others and so the likelihood of an accident is less.
    5) Also, if you look at the demographic of people who buy each car brand, volvos might be more popular with “safer drivers” for example mums with kids, older people etc. and so this would affect the result.

  • Bruno Dec 6, 2010, 7:40 pm

    * New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America.

    The first challenge is to understand exactly what that means, e.g. what has been the methodology used by US gov. to reach that conclusion.

    The way I understand this:
    Given a car brand and the universe associated to it (number of Volvo cars driven on American roads), the people dying in that car is the ratio of drivers / universe of cars with the given brand
    The idea is to calculate this ratio for both brands and see whose is the highest.

    The ratio is in order to control for brand market share. You want to remove the effect of a brand having more people dying driving its cars just because they have a much higher brand share.

    Now one could be even more picky, and relate the probabability of dying in a given car to the number of hours it is driven, which is an obvious driver. e.g. if it should happen that a given brand car for any reason is driven let’s say twice as much or as long that another, then all things being equal, it would not be abnormal that it had twice the death rate.

    Actually there might be a host of other variables you might want to control for (what if a brand car is more specifically driven by males who have a higher fatal accident rate?, or a brand car is driven more often in urban areas where fatal accident rates are lowest etc.)

    So at any point, you need to take the series of numbers formed by our brand fatality probability ratio, and try to see if the difference between Volvo and all the other brands is significant (95% confidence interval for instance) to substantiate the claim of the US Gov.

    Hope I did not get it too wrong!!

  • Tea_vienna Dec 7, 2010, 9:35 am

    First of all we should segment this statement.
    How many people statistically contributed to this report?
    How many people statistically contributed to the other car brands safety reports?
    Was the report based on just one car model or the report included all Volvo car models?
    Furthermore, we should examine in which segments/categories did Volvo proved to be the safest car?
    When we have all that information we can give our closing that would be verified with the data analysis.

  • Anon Dec 7, 2010, 7:32 pm

    1) To determine if this is a reasonable and valid assessment we need to understand what is this based on. Fewer people die in the volvo but what is the percentage of people who actally purchase volvos vs other cars? If it is not a car this purchased regularly then this is not a meaningful statement. What should be done is compare the percentage in relation to number of cars purchased.

    2) In addition is there any particular demographic trend in relation the buyers. For example if Volvo buyers tend to fall within > 40 with little car accident history it very likely that the reason for death may be due to type of customers rather than anything to do with the car itself.

    3) Finally we have a deeper look at the underlying data behind the statistics. How many people contributed to this? Is it representative of the entire population. Is there any difference between Volvo statistics in the US vs other countries?

  • arei Dec 8, 2010, 5:56 am

    First, i’d like to clarify what is the meaning of safest? and in what limits (in number)?

    What cause the safest couldn’t be determined by the quality of the car solely, but also by the skill of the driver, the detail information whether the victims die in car or in the ambulance, the number of people who owns volvo car in US relative to other brands, the tendency of driving volvo car whether they drive it in city only or across region in US which took longer distant and more risky to accident.

  • A.P. Dec 9, 2010, 8:12 pm

    In order to assess the validity of Volvo’s advertising slogan, the following additional information and considerations are necessary:
    1. The *number* of people who die in a given brand car is irrelevant: the more important metric is the *fraction* of Volvo drivers/passengers who die in a Volvo compared to the analogous fraction for other car brands.
    2. The comparative likelihood of being involved in a non-fatal car accident should also be considered.
    3. The above comparisons should be made among vehicles driven in similarly “risky” conditions. For example, a race car may be driven in riskier conditions than a typical family minivan, so it is not fair to compare mortality in a minivan to than in a race car.

  • Shelly Dec 10, 2010, 12:30 pm

    In my opinion , evidence cited in US government report to back the car company’s claim is not at all sufficient . As I see it , though the number of people died in volvo is fewer than those died in any other car brand , there is a possibility that the number of people injured in volvo is far more than the ones injured in other car brand but for unknown reasons such as good health insurance cover , ambulance facilities in the region where volvo accidents occurred etc . they managed to survive . It could be the case that the report has not considered above factor to support the conclusion .

  • Penny Lau Dec 11, 2010, 6:36 am

    Volvo – The Safest Car in the United States*

    * New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America

    The statement is not entirely valid, because it only involves a fatality number. Fatality rate probably matters more, because a lower number could be a result of fewer people driving Volvo. Fewer people die in a Volvo also doesn’t mean fewer people are injured, which is also an indicator of safety. When you say “die in a volvo”, it does not necessarily indicate a car accident, which is a better scenario for evaluating auto safety.

    To validate the statement, you’ll need a couple of features that support that Volvo cars are safe because they’re better equipped for crashes or accidents of any kind , e.g. how fast the airbags are sprung out, braking capabilities.

  • SA Dec 11, 2010, 9:28 pm

    Will need to look at total number of people who died in car accidents,

    then will need the number of those who died in volvo,

    will also need the number of other brands of cars and those who died in the respective cars

    other way is total population, death rate, death by car accidents rate, Volvo share of these deaths…this will just give us info about Volvo to relate this to the other brands will need to look at the shares of the other brands…

  • Fernando Martinelli Dec 12, 2010, 6:11 pm

    The statement is not necessarily valid because:
    1) There aren’t necessarily as many volvo cars as there are from other brands (there must be many more GMs or Fords than Volvos in the us)
    2) Even if the cars brands had all the same amount of cars sold and used, if the Fords are used much more frequently (during the week) than the volvos (only on the weekend for example) than the conclusion is biased.
    3) Safety is not only measured by number of deaths. Maybe volvos have more accidents but there are on average less people in the car as accidents happen (maybe fords are purchased by bigger families).

  • Fernando Martinelli Dec 12, 2010, 6:12 pm

    The statement is not necessarily valid because:
    1) There aren’t necessarily as many volvo cars as there are from other brands (there must be many more GMs or Fords than Volvos in the us)
    2) Even if the car brands had all the same amount of cars sold and used, if the Fords are used much more frequently (during the week) than the volvos (only on the weekend for example) than the conclusion is biased.
    3) Safety is not only measured by number of deaths. Maybe volvos have more accidents but there are on average less people in the car as accidents happen (maybe fords are purchased by bigger families).

  • MJ Dec 15, 2010, 9:04 am

    Firstly I would analyze the quality of data itself. Does it cover the entire market, does it use ratios, or absolute numbers and whether it is appropriate, what factors other than deaths were considered and how Volvo scored etc.

    Some particular points, which may confirm or overrule the Task Statement would be:
    1. How many Volvos are there in America as compared to other brands? Data may show that Volvo has a very small market share and hence the number of deaths is also small.
    2. The more accurate way to measure whether Volvos death rate is in fact lower would be to analyze ratio on how many people die vs how many people own particular brand of cars (including the Volvo). This date should be considered in the light of road conditions as well (i.e. id Volvos are most popular in California, where there is no snow and dangerous road conditions, it would be hard to compare them with other cars available for example in Minnesota).
    3. Conclusions could also be proved valid or invalid by asking: ‘What factors cause other car brands to be considered unsafe?’ and then analyzing each answer in case of Volvo.

  • Aditya Dec 24, 2010, 3:13 am

    1. Volvo cars lack the thump and fun associated with high-speed driving, thus potraying a more sedate fun-averse option.

    2.Volvo could be having a low to marginal market share in the USA.

    3.Cant extrapolate to the international level by analysing American statistics.

    4. Not dying doesnt imply ‘safety’, staying in one piece (physically and emotionally) after an accident implies safety.

    5. Death in accidents is more of a driver-centric factor and not a car build-centric factor.

  • UHB Dec 24, 2010, 3:34 pm

    1. Total number of deaths caused by car accidents in the US, broken down into those caused due to technical glitches and those due to faults of the driver.
    2. The number of deaths caused by car accidents due to technical glitches broken down by each car segment eg. Volvo, Mercedes etc.

  • Lena Dec 24, 2010, 6:12 pm

    On which figures is this statement based on? 2010 figure? 2009 figure? and how did they estimate that?
    It’s quite like a market sizing (even though it is not really a market)

    We need to breakdown the number of deaths in car accidents involving a Volvo and other brands in the US. As you have different type of accidents which can involve one car but also several ones, the assessment should break down the figure into two wases:
    a. car accidents caused by the Volvo
    b. car accidents in which the Volvo was the victim in a car crash caused by other cars

    In the first case, the main one (car accident caused by Volvo), break into several types of causes: driver responsible for the crash and technical mistakes. This last piece of information reflects what the slogan really wants to portray: number of dead people in the Volvo (which was responsible for the accident) caused by technical mistakes.

    The actual statement saying that fewer people die in a Volvo than other brands in US contains too much information and does not illustrate really the slogan. It is actually misleading the customers, thinking that they are safe as long as they drive a Volvo (not taking into account external factors).

    NB: the second case which reflects another aspect of the slogan could actually be used in the ad. Saying you’re safe in a car because it is solid and that it is not easily breakable. Trying to estimate the living ratio: number of alive people in a car crash where the Volvo was involved (did not cause the accident)/total number of people in car crashes where Volvo were involved. Same goes for other brands.

  • Randy H Dec 29, 2010, 4:19 am

    One cannot draw the conclusion that Volvo is the safest car based on how many people die in it.

    – we don’t know how many people get injured in a volvo vs other brands.
    – we don’t know if the total amount of volvo vs the amount of other brands has been taken into account.

    Kind regards,


  • Mika Dec 29, 2010, 6:22 am

    I would need the data below
    1) the share of the Volvo cars in the US, in what sector
    => to prove wrong that fewer in Volvo car dies simply because few Volvo cars were owned

    2) the total death rate of those in Volvo and other cars caused by external causes
    => to show how secure Volvo car is from external causes

    3) the total death rate of those in Volvo cars caused by the Volve drivers
    => to show how safe people can enjoy driving Volvo cars

    4) Stats on who owns that Volvo and other cars by segments in income, ages and gender
    5) Stats on who cars accidents by segments in income, ages and gender
    6) Stats on who are involved in accidnes by segments in income and ages
    => to prove wrong that Volvo cars are owned by those less likely to cause car accidents or by those less vulnerble to accidents

    6) the comparison in the number of people who usually drive together by different car brands
    => to prove wrong that Volvo drivers tend to drive with less firends than others

  • John Dec 29, 2010, 5:04 pm

    1. this argument is faltering, because the data is drawn on unknown sample capacity. Maybe few people drive Volvo in US compared with other brands. Extremely, if only one person drives Volvo in US, and it happens he has not died, you can say Volvo is the safest car in US.

    2. This argument mismatches the comparison among different car types. As we all know, big automobiles like trucks, SUVs are generally safer than small ones like sedans. Maybe Volvo produces more Trucks, and very few sedans each year, and thus they have less accidents reported on their cars. Justified comparison would be trucks to trucks, and sedans to sedans.

    3. this argument diverts focus, because it brings focus to people who die in car accidents. Few accidents involved should be the metric to evaluate the safety of automobiles. People who drive Volvo may have more chances to encounter car accidents, due to cars poor safety system, but it happens less people actually die in those accidents, which can not consolidate the argument.

  • RS Dec 31, 2010, 12:30 pm

    This is a sweeping statement based on insufficient information. It could be tat there are lesser no. of Volvos in the US than other cars, so lesser people die in them.

    In order to validate the volvo claim of ‘safest car in the US’, I’d like to know:
    1. No. of accidents/100 cars- it could be that more non-fatal accidents occur in Volvos.
    2. No. of deaths/100 cars
    3. Demographic profile of Volvo drivers. Maybe lesser deaths occur because the drivers themselves are young parents who drive safely.

  • Nag Dec 31, 2010, 5:15 pm

    You cant make that conclusion from the premise that less people die in Volvo. Thats because, may be less people are driving volvo in the first place. So, the data is insufficient to come to that conclusion. It Could be more helpful if we have a % based comparion,like, 20% of Drivers who drive a Volvo Gets into Accidents as against say 30% for Toyota. That way you are comparing No. of accidents to no. of Vehicles on the road….which makes for a better conclusion….

  • BH Jan 1, 2011, 11:26 pm

    safety co-efficient for a particular brand can be better defined as:

    no. of death
    no. of car accidents

    Volvo’s claim is misleading by focusing solely on the comparison of the numerator of the co-efficient. One extreme counterexample to their claims is, Volvo has 2 death in America, while having 2 cars were involved in accidents (that’s 100% mortality), while Toyota has 2,000 death cases, while 200,000 were involved (that’s 1%). So tell me which one is safer. So the data we need to compare Volvo with other brands in America are obviously the numerator and the denominator.

  • KV Jan 6, 2011, 3:19 pm

    “New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America”
    This statement is lacking sufficient information:

    1. It would be more accurate to say that a lower percentage of Volvo drivers die in car accidents than drivers of other cars. This will eliminate the possible interpretation that fewer Volvo drivers die in car accidents simply because there are fewer Volvo drivers in the US than drivers of other cars, which is likely the case.

    2. We have no information on non-fatal accidents. It is possible that in similar non-fatal accidents, more Volvo drivers are getting injuries than non-Volvo drivers.

  • Leo Jan 18, 2011, 1:16 pm

    classify safety to 1, 2,3
    1, minor personal injury
    2, medium personal injury
    3, serious personal injury/death

    Questions need to be answered to evaluate the vidility?
    How many people are driving Volvo in the US?
    How many accidents happen in the US concerning a Volvo? classify the accidents to the above three catogories.

    what is the ratio of accident/total Volvo numbers in the above three catogories?

    gather data of other 10 car brands in the US, do the same calculation and compare the ratios.

    the result depends on how to define “safety”. Does it mean no accident, or least total accident/car ratio, or least death/car ratio.

  • eee Jan 18, 2011, 1:43 pm

    Is this relative? Less people could be driving a Volvo, hence less absolute é of casualties in Volvos.

  • JaiHo Jan 19, 2011, 11:56 am

    Insufficient data.

    1. Volvo might sell the lowest number of cars in US.
    2. The report does not talk of deaths due to car accidents
    3. Buyers of Volvo cars are usually old people who drive slowly
    4. Buyers of Volvo cars might be those who live in rural (less crowded) areas.
    5. Buyers of volvo might be single people who use public transportation to work and use their cars very sparingly

  • anonymous Jan 22, 2011, 8:14 pm

    what type of people drive Volvo car (gender, age, etc.)
    is the maximum speed of Volve car slower than other cars?
    how about number of serious injuries? is it more than in other cars?

  • sebastien Jan 25, 2011, 8:24 am

    I would argue that a volvo driver is not a significant sample to represent the US population. I would therefore specify the typical segment of the population represented by the sample

  • richard Jan 26, 2011, 4:43 pm

    I approached this question using the formula Kaplan teaches when strengthening / weakening an argument.

    I start with the simple formula (brainiacs – your welcome)
    E + A = C
    Evidence + Assumption(s) = Conclusion.
    1)Identify Conclusion: “Volvo” is the safest car in the U.S.
    2)Identify Evidence: usually a study, report, etc…in this case, the evidence is: “U.S. gov report – fewer people die in volvo than in any other car brand in U.S.”
    3)Identify the Assumption(s): the assumption will bridge the gap from evidence to conclusion…what did they assume that wasnt said in order to make the above mentioned claim…?
    My Assumptions:
    1) Drivers of volvos are representative of drivers of other brands in U.S.
    – Defensive / Aggresive driving styles
    – # of miles driven in high risk situations
    – # of fatal accidents vs # of potentially fatal accidents (this is where i think i figured out what i would want to know to determine if the conclusion is valid)

    To prove/disprove that volvo’s cars are safer than all other car brands in U.S., I would want to know the following metric for Volvo and other leading “safety branded” vehicles:
    # of fatal accidents / # of potentially fatal accidents
    – if the data wasnt available, we could use some kind of metric regarding crash safety to compute the probability of likely fatalities.

    I know i typed alot, the E+A=C and then figuring out what data i wanted took 90 seconds.

  • NZ Jan 29, 2011, 2:28 pm

    It is not a valid conclusion if only given the fact that fewer people died in a Volvo. First and the most important missing data is how many vehicles are sold by Volvo in the US. Second, Volvo sold a lot of huge trucks in the US, which are safer in the collisions. Third, it is better to know the timeline of the statistics in the government report as it may inconsistent with the time when Volvo was introduced in the US.

  • Francisco Xavier Sotomayor Castro Jan 31, 2011, 12:53 am

    Perhaps the brand Volvo is considered the safest car in Amercia due to a detailed driving test conducted under American and European standards. In addition to this fact , it is also possible to considered the statistics of car accidents in regards of driving a Volvo car in Europe ,as well as in the USA.
    I will assume that by giving this award to Volvo the accident’s rate are less devastating when compare with other cars’ brand paticularly in North America.
    We got to keep in mind the presence of high tech features in regards to the latest car’s models, and how this high end technology applies to the safety and welfare of the passengers when driving the car.
    Finally, I would say that the perception and past experiences of the customers and public in general,along with the current offer and demand of the Volvo brand in North America play an important backup in building a feeling of trust and support for the brand.

  • EF Feb 13, 2011, 8:36 am

    It need not be the safest car in the US because we don’t know how many people drive Volvo’s in the US. We would need to know the probability of having an accident CONDITIONAL on the fact that the car was a volvo.

  • Kevin Feb 15, 2011, 9:28 am

    Not necessarily! In a first step one can take the ratio #deathly accidents divided by #of cars of a certain brand in the US. The lower this ratio, the safer the car (ceteris paribus). However, there are other important factors such as:
    – different cars are used differently, so one has to establish peer groups to compare
    – the age and maintenance have an impact on this number
    – maybe Volvo is sold more in the southern states where there is less snow und thus less accidents due to weather conditions…
    – etc…

  • Stanley A. Feb 19, 2011, 3:01 pm

    First I’d like to understand what metric is used to define safety in a Car? Accident Level, Effective brakes e.t.c?

    Making an assumption that safety is defined as Accident level.

    Death in a Car as a result of what? Accident, Health-related, Murdered in a Car, e.t.c

    The statement is invalid because it is based on assumptions!

  • KC Feb 20, 2011, 2:14 pm

    It depends on the market share of Volvo – if few people drive volvo then by definiton fewer will die in an accident. It is important to understand % of volvo drivers who are in an accident and % who then suffer injuries etc.

    Additionally, demo graphics also matter – if older people who tend to be safer drivers all use volvo – it is best to compare the % values across that demographic across other care manufacturers as well to get a full picture.

  • George Mar 3, 2011, 9:39 pm

    If we were just referring to car accidents, then maybe we’d be able to verify the statement. However it clearly states that people die in the Volvo, that can mean, people who die inside the car, without it being subjected to an accident, like i.e. a heart attack, and it can exclude people who die after an accident that occurs while driving a Volvo.
    That being said, we could argue that Volvos aren’t better at avoiding accidents, or keeping people alive, they’re just better at people dying outside them. Or it could mean that people who buy Volvos are just exceptionally fit individuals. It could also speak to the type of consumer Volvo is targeted at; maybe people who drive Volvos are just better drivers.
    If we were to consider the statement literally, as it is intended, that Volvo’s are the safest car in America. We’d still need to know information on how the data was analyzed, before being able to assess the validity of the statement. We’d need to know how the data was collected, and how it was processed. Is it historical data? or only recent data? We’d need to know what cases if any, were excluded from the data. We would need to know if there’s a trend between actual accidents and deaths, or serious injury and compare it to other car makers’ data.
    Of course since we’re missing all this data I would have to conclude that it is impossible to verify the validity of the statement with the information given.

  • DT Mar 8, 2011, 6:45 am

    The fact that the fewest people in America died in a Volvo does notautomatically imply that Volvo is the safest car. The reasons why the fewest people die in Volvos could be caused by many other reasons than car safety, for example:
    – there are very few Volvos in America compared to other cars. Even though more people per Volvo die, the absolute number is still smaller than for all manufacturers –> Volvo could even be the least safe car in America from the date offered.

    – there could be a difference in demographics. Whereas mainly old people, who drive carefully and don’t get into accidents drive Volvos, youngsters die in fast non-Volvo cars. The low death toll could therefore be related to the drivers, not the car.

    – it is implied that death toll stands for safety of a car. However, there could be other considerents that might count. Maybe a lot of people lose arms and legs in small accidents in Volvos, where in other cars they would be absolutely safe. Implying that small accidents are more frequent than deadly accidents, Volvo could be even from this perspective less than the safest car in America.

    The conditions under which the given information proves that Volvos are indeed the cars in America are that the number given be the relative number adjusted for different factors (such as demographics) and not an absolute number.

    I soooo want to be a consultant !

  • kumar Mar 9, 2011, 5:49 pm

    Fewer people die while driving a volvo…
    It may be due to any of the following reason
    1.People generally drive volvo slowly perhaps because the vehicle doesn’t have a good wheel control/stability issue at higher speeds. So this avoids rah/accident prone driving.
    2.The main market for volvo might be in mini-van segment,a family car. You tend to be responsible when you are with your family.So again less accident prone.
    3.Volvo might not be so popular after all. So, the number of people actually driving volvo migh be less,hence ‘fewer people dying’.
    So, points 1,2,3 do not lead to the conclusion given.1 actually negates it.
    Had it been that the ratio of accidents/ car brand(volvo, ford ,etc ) for volvo is less or fatalities/accidents for volvo is less,we might have been able to justify the conclusion.

  • STH Mar 12, 2011, 5:28 pm

    Need to know what % of volvo drivers die in an accident – if there are fewer volvo cars in America then proportionatley you’d expect fer deaths

  • styk Mar 16, 2011, 5:16 pm

    Need to know: 1. What %age of volvos had accidents as compared to %age of other car brands. 2. The above is not enough, it would need to be checked against what are the kind of owners of the cars (demographics) as well as

  • Heitor Martins Mar 18, 2011, 9:11 pm

    Need to know:
    How many cars are Volvo´s relative to other car brands?
    What´s the avarage number of people in a Volvo? And the other brands?
    What´s the %of Vovlo´s that uses highway? And the other brands?
    What´s the avarage age of a Volvo´s driver? And the other brands?

  • Roy Mar 19, 2011, 11:06 am

    The statement does not necessary indicate that Volvo cars are safer due to two unaddressed issues.
    1. The reason why fewer people die in a Volvo car could be due to Volvo’s lower car sales. (Less people drive Volvo cars, therefore, less people die in them)
    2. Cause of death not addressed. People can die in their vehicles for a variety of reasons that are not related to car safety. (i.e. Driver personality and skills. Volvo drivers could be safer drivers because they are older or more experienced drivers.)

  • A Mar 22, 2011, 9:44 am

    Few things come to mind:
    1) What’s the definition of safety – is it simply people surviving. it doesn’t account for other factors such as severity of accidents, non-death injuries, people not getting into accidents, how about driver/passengers, safety features on the car, etc.
    2) How much can be attributed to car: maybe the Volvo drivers are safer drivers overall and hence they get into less accidents. can’t attribute that to safety
    3) fewer in absolute terms is misleading measure. there are much less Volvos on the road and hence percentage may be a better measure. one also needs to break into age profile and account for other factors, few are described above.

  • A. K. Mar 22, 2011, 5:34 pm

    It would be useful to consider the following things:
    – the customer demographics by age, gender, income, driving habits (are Volvo drivers just naturally safer drivers?)
    – accident statistics by car brand (do Volvo drivers get into fewer/more/different types of accidents?)
    – within a specific type of accident by brand, what are the outcomes (are Volvo drivers less likely to die than other cars’ drivers?)
    – what types of injuries result, by brand (maybe Volvo drivers are less likely to die, but much more likely to get injured)
    – what are the presumed reasons for this safety provided by Volvo itself (car features?)

  • Krishna Mar 22, 2011, 10:34 pm

    Volvo – The Safest Car in the United States*
    * New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America

    To assess if Vovlo is the safest car in the US and to be able to use the information that fewer people die in a volvo than any other car, we are not provided with more details, this is the information I would need to asess this statement:

    1) How many cars are driven in US; What is the % of Volvo cars driven?
    2) How many accidents are caused by cars and by car mgf?
    Off these, check the rank of Volvo
    3) In the accidents involving cars, we should find out how many volvo passengers get hurt or die as a result of cars.

  • HA Mar 23, 2011, 12:36 pm

    Does not mention how many people actually drive volvo vis a vis any other car type from other manufacturers.

    Assumes that “safe” is o be read only as “dead” or “non dead”. There may be situations of serious impairment and capacitation. therefore, data is not sufficient and not conclusive.

  • Lynn Mazloum Mar 25, 2011, 9:09 pm

    The statement is not valid for the following reasons:

    1) It does not say whether the number of deaths in Volvos is in absolute terms or relative terms. The number of deaths needs to be in relative terms to give meaning to the statement. We need to compare the number of deaths in Volvos times its market share and compare this number to number of deaths in each other car brands times their respective market share.

    2) Considering worlwide data is definitely more relevant since it would avoid taking into consideration consumers’ cultural behaviour.

    3) The statement does not compare drivers by segment. Volvo probably is a brand preferred by elder/mature people who drink less, are less likely to listen to loud music and be texting while driving. The chances are therefore lower to have serious car accidents if drivers are elder. To fix this issue, we need to compare drivers by segments driving different brands of cars. Numbers again must be relative and not absolute.

    4) Volvo seems to be a city car; in cities, traffic is very seriously controlled by the police. It is important to take into account the different types of areas and roads (rural, urban, highways, cities..) and compare by segment.

    5) Did volvo prove that its airbag systems as well as other safety systems (breaks, belt, alarms..) are in fact more effective than in other cars?

    5) The comparison must also be relative to the total number of miles driven by volvo drivers: There are more chances to make accidents if the car is more driven.

    For all those reasons, I think the statement is not a valid one.

  • Feyer Apr 1, 2011, 8:20 am

    Hypothesize another brand A, which is owned by 1 million American. Volvo, owners amount to 0.5 million. The data came out with 100 people died from Volvo in the past year, but 150 people died from A. That doesn’t equal to the fact that Volvo is safer than A.

  • JoI Apr 2, 2011, 1:47 am

    To validate Volvo’s statement I will need to know:
    1. How many people die on car accident this last year compared to the subsequent years before.
    2. How many people die on car accident on other cars
    3. Were there any new external factors (road safety measures) that may have been installed recently to reduce the number of car accident in general?
    4. Did Volve install any new technology on their cars to prevent accidents?

  • JM Apr 3, 2011, 7:27 am

    New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America

    – number of deadly car accidents in the U.S. per year for last 5 years, a deadly car accident is defined as an accident where at least one passenger died
    – number of average dead people / deadly car accident
    – breakdown of car brands concerned by deadly car accidents in the U.S for this year and last 5 years (in raw number or %, ex : volvo represents 10% of deadly car accidents

    – compile all this to obtain the number of deaths in car accidents per brand per year in the U.S. for the last five years. Compare to other brands figures.

    – Conclusion : If Volvo number of car deaths is significantly lower than other brands for the last 5 years, a trend can be concluded and the new U.S. government is right. Otherwise, the new U.S. government is wrong

  • CM Apr 8, 2011, 1:20 am

    not enough data to draw the conclusion. we need to look at death rate in volvo (no: of death/ total hrs driven in volvo)

  • MH Apr 8, 2011, 2:34 am

    Insufficient information, as we don’t know whether death are caused by road accidents or any other car-related problems. There’s no direct link between people died and car safety: first, people could have died from no-car related causes, second, how safety can not only be measured by number of deaths (i.e how about number of cases where accidents have been avoided?)
    Also, we don’t have the names of car brands tested (perhaps there is a car that was not tested). The statement says new government report, but what year is it actually–> things might have changed since then, what period of time did the study include, etc.

  • ZS Apr 8, 2011, 2:57 am

    There’s a huge difference between the safety of a vehicle and the number of ppl dying in accidents involving those vehicles. Given the scarce comment marked with the asterix it’s impossible to determine the actual validity of this statement – no real information about the US report is given.

  • Sine Mdluli Apr 8, 2011, 5:17 am

    The statement might be true,but before we check and verify it’s validity we first have to check whether is it just something which happened by chance,that properly the study was made bias by factors like,there aren’t many people driving a volvo in the United States or that,the place where the sample forstudy was taken has few people driving the volvo cars.Probably it was correlation vs causality.Or it is true,and the investigation has to be made to analyse,what makes volvo to be the safest car..

  • zhang Apr 8, 2011, 8:11 am

    The satememt cannot by supported by the facts.

    1. The definition of ” Safest car” is not supported by the facts. It is unclear:
    a. die in nature oder killed by accidents. If fewer people die naturally in Volvo than in other car brands, it does not prove the safty of a car.
    b. Is “die in the car” the only criterium to decide if the car is safe. If the car is safe can also be judged by other criteria.

    2. The facts said that “in America”. It is not a logical conclusion that the safest car in America is also the safest car in USA.


  • zhang Apr 8, 2011, 8:15 am

    3. The data base for the evaluation is not clear, how many cars are used in America or in the US. If there are only 100 Volvo cars are used in the US while 1 Mio. VW cars are sold p.a., the absolute number of people died in Volvo or VW cannot be taken as valid evaluation data base.

  • zhang Apr 8, 2011, 8:19 am

    3. The facts did not tell me how many volvo cars are sold comparing to other brands. If there are 100 Volvo cares sold in last 10 years, while VW sold 10 Mio. Cars in that period. The absolute number of people died in a car is not relevant for judging which car is safer.

  • MM Apr 9, 2011, 1:22 pm

    The data is not sufficient to make a conculsion. Facts behind these statement can be various. Is it lowest no. accident with fatal casulties per no. of Volvo sold, is it a satisfaction of drivers with Volvo safety equipment, etc

  • James Apr 9, 2011, 3:20 pm

    The validity of this statement could be inaccurate for a few reasons. The main reason I see is that if only 3 people drove Volvos this year, and one died, of course the fewest number of people would die driving Volvos than any other car in the US. This statistic needs to be adapted to take into account how many people drive Volvos compared to other cars in the United States.

  • FG Apr 11, 2011, 2:16 am

    This advertising may be not clear. Basing on the US governament review, this car brand could also be’ the less sold..and for this reason,could be’ the that one in wich there Are fewer die.

  • FC Apr 11, 2011, 12:36 pm

    The definition of ‘safe’ should not be strictly limited to deaths from car accidents. A ‘safe’ car should also help to prevent injury to its occupants. Hence, there is data insufficiency owing to the fact that ‘safe’ is loosely defined. Moreover, the statement notes that there are ‘fewer deaths’ in Volvo cars and I would presume that this is an absolute number vs a ratio of deaths to a particular brand of cars sold in the USA. Volvo could have a lower absolute number of deaths compared with other car brands because the absolute number of Volvo car sales are lower than certain other brands in the USA.

  • janet guyon Apr 11, 2011, 5:27 pm

    Difficult to validate without knowing how many people in the US drive a Volvo relative to other brands and/or whether people who drive Volvos tend to have more people in the car, ie Volvo sells proportionately more family cars in the US than any other maker

  • Amulya Apr 12, 2011, 1:21 am

    A few more data points that will justify/unjustify this statement would be to find out proportionate ratio comparison to other cars. This also has a dependency on the driver (driving skills). So, to equate the data and make it reliable, we need, number of accidents occurring of Volvo drivers and the number of claimable insurance of these incidents, in comparison to accidents of other makes. To further segregate the data, we can look at the nature of accidents and see how many of such accidents involved ‘Volvo’ and how many of such accidents led to fatalities ,etc. If after finding these ratios, we find that volvo has the lowest fatalities to accident ratio, we can conclude that it is the safest of all cars.

  • GL Apr 12, 2011, 5:08 pm

    The statement is invalid.

    I assume being the safest car would mean that, on a relative basis, fewer people die in the volvo than other cars. For example, suppose volvo has 10 , 1 seater cars in the market, and 3 people die in a year. Also suppose BMW has 5, 1 seater cars in the market, and 2 people die.

    The death rate in the volvo is 30%, while the death rate in the BMW is 40%. Therefore, more people died in the volvo in absolute terms, however it still has the smallest death rate relative to BMW, making it safer than BMW.

  • AG Apr 13, 2011, 4:46 am

    volvo the safest car in the US.

    according to the figures, it is safer to drive woth a volvo than with any other car in the US. It is the safest car brand in America.

    how do you scale safety?
    how many years are involved in this figure?

  • Kushagra Apr 13, 2011, 5:35 am

    Q1. What kind of people drive Volvo’s? (Senior Citizen’s or the ‘young’ crowd)

    Q2. Where are majority of the Volvo car owners located? (Big cities/Small Towns)?

    Q3. What kind of car’s does Volvo manufacture in the US? (popular sedan’s? or hatchbacks which are not that popular?)

    Q4. How many cars did Volvo sell in the US in the past year? (Its possible that Volvo sold only 10 cars, whereas GM/Ford sold 100. Out of the 10 Volvo car owners, 8 had a fatal accident, whereas out of the 100 GM owners only 20 had a fatal accident. Comparing absolute numbers can be misleading).

    The government should publish no. of death per capita (for Volvo owners, GM owners, Ford owners etc…)

  • MS Apr 13, 2011, 7:19 am

    1- ‘report’: What kind of report was this? What were the sampling criteria? Who were the individuals this research is based on? What kind of road accidents were considered? What kind of volvo’s? What analyses did they use? What time of day and what site/location was this research based on? Different times of day and different sites mean very different things with regards to traffic patterns and road accidents. How do they ensure reliability/validity of their findings?
    2- ‘fewer people die in a Volvo’: What does this mean? People riding volvos or people who own volvo’s? And fewer than what? Other people who die in other cars? What about number of accidents? Maybe volvo’s preform worse in other areas that effect the amount of accidents and nature of accidents the cars usually encounter.
    3- ‘in America’: What about other countries? What is the prevalence of volvo ownership in America as opposed to other brands?

  • karthik Apr 13, 2011, 7:55 am

    The claim that Volvo is the safest car in the US is not valid. The safest car will not result in any accident (due to mechanical / electrical failure). Volvo could be called as a relatively safer car in the U.S.
    The statement has internal validity in the U.S. as these results may not be true in another country as Volvo could be tested against cars that are not available in the U.S.

  • RT Apr 13, 2011, 4:18 pm

    Volvo – The Safest Car in the United States*

    * New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America

    You cannot state that Volvo is the safest car in the United States based on this government report alone, for several reasons, a few of which are:

    1) Let’s say there are 200 million cars on the road in the US. 2% of the cars are Volvos and 10% of them are Fords. If there are 2,000 deaths in Fords and 1,500 deaths in Volvos, the government report could still be accurate, but the reality would be that the Ford is more likely the safer car. There was one death in Fords for every 10,000 Fords on the road, while there was one death in Volvos for every 2,666 Volvos on the road.

    2) Even if you control for and rule out problem 1 against all the other car brands, there are other potential conflicting factors. For example, a certain demographic, which happens to drive very safely, may be attracted to Volvos, while another demographic that drives very aggressively may be attracted to, say, Hondas. The Honda may be a safer car than the Volvo, and your average safe Volvo driver would be even safer behind the wheel of the Honda. But because Volvos are driven by a responsible, cautious demographic, and Hondas are driven by an aggressive, risk-taking demographic, there are more deaths in Hondas despite their safer construction.

    3) The statement does not consider the number of people who may tend to ride in various car brands. Lets say Volvos are primarily driven by single people, and the average number of passengers in a Volvo on the road is 1.2. Meanwhile, a car company that specializes in family friendly minivans and SUV’s has an average of 3.3 passengers in their vehicles at any given time. Their could be more deaths in the 2nd car company’s vehicles simply because there are more passengers at the time of serious accidents.

    4) Volvos could be more prevalent in areas where the roads are less congested and safer, versus another car brand that is more prevalent in areas where it is more dangerous to drive.

    I could go on, but you get the point. The data is not sufficient.

  • Ejp Apr 13, 2011, 5:40 pm

    There are two key concerns for assessing the validity of the above statement: 1) the quality of our operational definition of “safest” and 2) methodology and interpretation of results.

    First, determining if this statement is valid or invalid hinges upon our definition of “safe” and “safest.” Although it is highly unlikely we have sufficient data in this case, if we are only defining “safest” as lowest number of absolute number of deaths per car brand, and the US government does report the fewest deaths in Volvos, we may have sufficient data. The assumption that this operational definition truly reflects all dimension of the concept “safety,” however, is inherently flawed. Number of deaths is only one indicator of safety, and indeed an important one, but we need to know if we are assessing absolute figures or ratios. Further, “safety” and “safest” encompasses far more indicators than this metric alone, and a stronger indicator might be traffic accidents, protection from harm when engaged in an accident, etc.

    Second, our methodology and analysis linking to results of the report must be considered. From this perspective, we are definitely lacking sufficient data. We do not know if number of deaths in Volvos versus other car brands are reported as absolute values or as ratios. On a logical note, if we consider that there may be fewer Volvos on the road than Hondas or Fords, then we might expect to see fewer deaths in Volvos and results may support our hypotheses. It would be more meaningful to report that a fewer percentage of Volvo drivers were killed in their cars than other brands.

    We also may want to consider that certain types of people, with varying profiles of driving behaviors, choose to drive Volvos in comparison to other cars. Therefore, although Volvos may report fewer deaths than other car brands, it may be that the drivers are more safe, rather than the car itself. Without isolating the direct influence of the car, we cannot make assumptions (or sweeping statements) that the car is what is safe, rather than external factors. Again, we see a lack in the connection between our conceptual and operational definitions of “safest.” Overall, the statement is valid only if we consider it from a framework as narrow as the supporting evidence above – which lacks generalizability and impact, and harms both consumer and client.

  • Erica Apr 14, 2011, 3:42 pm

    I would evaluate the validity of the statement by raising questions which would test possible alternative explanations for the lower death rate in Volvos, other than the claim that Volvos are the ‘safest’.

    Are there as many Volvo drivers as there are drivers of other cars? If there are fewer Volvos being driven that could explain the lower death rate. Similarly, if Volvo drivers spend less time or cover less distance in their cars, it could be that Volvo drivers simply have less opportunity to have accidents.

    Do the drivers of Volvos differ from other drivers in terms of age, marital status or other factors known to affect risk for serious accidents? If they do, it could be that it’s the drivers that are safer, not the cars.

    How do non-fatal accident rates for Volvo drivers compare to drivers of other types of cars? This question parses three possible underlying bases for the claim that Volvos are safer: 1) You are less likely to get into an accident if you drive a Volvo. 2) If you do get into an accident it is likely to be less serious if you drive a Volvo or 3) You may get into a serious accident in a Volvo but you are likely to survive.

    Any of these three explanations could be further tested with data in order to look at what exactly it is about the car that would cause the driver to be ‘safe’.

  • Arnina Moore Apr 16, 2011, 2:19 am

    Just because fewer people die in a Volvo than any other car brand, does not mean that Volvo is the safest car in the US.

    1. Safety is measured by several factors (such as degree of injury), of which death is only one. Simply saying that fewer people die in a Volvo does not mean that Volvo is the safest car.

    2. The statement doesn’t take into account the main use of the cars, or the types of drivers Volvos attract. Volvos are typically driven by every-day-drivers, and of a certain age range. Perhaps Volvos attract safer drivers, who use cars in safer ways, and so we can’t say that the smaller number of deaths are attributable to the Volvo being the safest car.

    3. The statement only takes into account the absolute number of deaths, rather than the number of deaths based on the number of those types of cars on the road. Perhaps only a few percentage of people drive Volvos, meaning that the absolute number of deaths in Volvos are very small. This again, goes against the statement that Volvos are the safest car in America.

    4. The statement doesn’t take into account the amount of people which fit into each Volvo. As Volvos are quite small, they fit less people in each car. This could affect the statistics as it means that even if the number of accidents are the same, the number of deaths are less as there are less victims per car. This is contrary to the statement that Volvos are the safest car in America.

  • PA Apr 16, 2011, 2:28 am

    The statement makes sense if % of people killed while driving a Volvo is lesser than those killed while driving other cars. It doesn’t makes sense if less people drive Volvo and more drive other brands.

  • PA Apr 16, 2011, 2:30 am

    ….and what if Volvo is driven by careful drivers or what if its a mere coincidence!

  • Pranjal Bhatia Apr 17, 2011, 3:28 am

    We need to check what other brands were in compared in the report. Also, fewer people die doesnt mean that Volvo has the least number of on-road failures, it doesnt imply that it gives the best safety when an accident occurs,because we are not sure whether Volvo’s cars are most bought or not.Say, if Volvo doesnt have a substantial market share, then we can assume that its share in the number of accidents would also be less and hence the number of deaths in a Volvo would also follow the same pattern. Therefore, to conclude, the validity of this statement would only hold true, if Volvo has a significant market share and a comparable number of cars of various brands were taken into the study. The persons who died or who were driving the cars and their respective skills are also in question. If most of the people who had accidents and were driving a Non-Volvo car had a bad driving record then, obviously the results are going to be skewed in Volvo’s favore

  • Chip Tarbowl Apr 17, 2011, 11:59 am

    This statement on its own is insufficient to logically end up with the conclusion that they have reported. In order to get sufficient data to back up this claim, the following information is necessary:

    1. What percentage of total US cars belong to different car brands. (e.g. 20% of US cars are Toyotas, Hondas, Fords, Volvos, etc.)
    2. How many people die in cars from each brand.

    However, even this is insufficient because it does not take into account the driving behaviour of people who buy different brands. Perhaps people who buy Fords are more reckless drivers, therefore we might expect more fatalities in Fords. But if we are just measuring the likelihood of death in a given accident, then we should control for number of accidents. Thus, we also need to know:

    3. Percentage of accidents of US cars that occur in cars of different brands.

    Next, we need to know if there is a major difference in the number of people who ride in a given car from different brands. This is important because certain brands might average 1-2 occupants (e.g. Porsche) whereas other brands, that offer more vans and SUVs might average 3-4 occupants (e.g. Ford). Thus, if Porsches and Fords are equally likely to be in fatal accidents, then more people would die in Fords because there are more people in each Ford.

    Knowing these 4 pieces of information would be sufficient to back up the claim:

    1. Number of people killed in car accidents by brand of car.
    2. Number of all accidents by brand of car.
    3. Percentage of US cars by brand. (e.g. 20% Ford, 10% Honda, 5% Volvo, etc.)
    4. Average number of occupants in each car by brand.

  • MW Apr 17, 2011, 1:28 pm

    It is possible to figure this out in terms of absolute numbers. The percentage of volvo owners who die in their cars compared to the percentage of toyota owners may not be the safest, but since volvo has a lower market share they may actually have the smallest number. I would want to compare their total numbers with the total numbers of Saab, Audi and other similar brands.

  • RM Apr 17, 2011, 5:47 pm

    In order to confirm the validity of this statement (“Volvo is the safest car”), I would need more information than simply “fewer people die in Volvo’s in America”. I would first like to know:

    a) What proportion of American cars do Volvos represent? (Or, better, what is Volvo’s share of the total time (minutes or hours) driven in America each a year.)
    b) What proportion of total deaths from car accidents take place in Volvos?

    After establishing a ratio of %-of-deaths-in-Volvos to %-of-driving-in-Volvos, I would do the same for other brands and compare their ratios. (The original statement “Volvo is the safest car” implies a comparison to all other alternatives.)

    Finally, before concluding, I would determine if there are measurable qualitative differences in the locations/circumstances that different brands are driven in (ie. rain or snow vs. sun, city vs. highway, etc.) and use discernable differences to interpret and compare each brand’s accident ratio.

  • Raphael Apr 18, 2011, 1:05 am

    It’s not a matter of how many people die in a Volvo, but how many people die per Volvo.

  • Amber Huria Apr 18, 2011, 1:16 am

    In order to assess the validity of this assessment, we need to look at relative numbers – i.e., the number of accidents to number of Volvo cars, which will be more indicative of Volvo’s saftey than simply the lowest aboslute numberof accidents, which can be simply because there are fewer Volvo cars on the roads.

    We need to factor in the number of car accidents caused by car mechanical failures versus human or system errors. Only the first subset should be taken in evaluating the claim of having the lowest number of accidents in the U.S.

  • CJ Apr 18, 2011, 1:24 am

    I think the US government report is not enough to fully support the Volvo’s advertisement because,

    1. we need to compare the market share of each car brand in America. That is, the more a brand has been sold, the higher the probability of accident and thus having more casualties

    2. we also need to compare car accidents which are all in the same grade (in terms of seriousness) even though we compare the number of casualties per accident

    3. finally if there would be more people who are alive, but seriously have been damaged, we can’t say that Volvo is the safest car in America

  • Marine Apr 18, 2011, 2:43 am

    The advertisement does not provide a logical conclusion to the argument provided, as more information is required to make the conclusion “Volvo is the safest car in the US” from the results of the report.

    There are 3 elements we need to assess the validity of the conclusion:

    1. Number of Volvo cars in the US vs. Other brands (to the extreme, of there are 0 Volvos, then by default there are fewer deaths in Volvos than other cars, but not thanks to the safety of the car)

    2. Number of accidents involving Volvo cars vs. Other brands (to the extreme, if only excellent drivers own a Volvo and have no accidents, then again there are fewer deaths in Volvo but not linked to the safety of the car)

    3. Number of deaths per accident involving Volvos vs. Other brands (to actually assess the safety of the cars per se, assuming the sample is large enough to be representative)

  • Amit Apr 18, 2011, 2:52 am

    1) is the safest car decided merely upon number of deaths?how do the non-fatal accidents compare between volvo and other cars
    2) what is the ratio of fatal accidents to number of volvo cars in US and how it compares to other cars
    3) do the drivers of other cars possess the same skill; how many times on an average, have the drivers failed the driving test; how many of the accidents were caused by drunk driving
    4) what is the average speed at which the accidents took place and how it compares to that of other cars
    5) how many accidents were in the city, how many on the highway and how many in the coutry side/hills

  • ron Apr 18, 2011, 3:25 am

    In order to determine if Volvo’s ad is misleading consumers, we need data that can demonstrate how many accidents Volvo drivers are involved in, and compare that to other brands: if Volvo drivers are simply more cautious drivers, then the low death rate fits, and does not prove that Volvos are safer in general.

  • S.H Apr 18, 2011, 4:15 am

    Data we need to know:
    How many people die in car accidents per year.
    What car brands do the people drive that die.
    After getting the information above I can find out if Volvo is right or not.

  • michel Apr 18, 2011, 6:33 am

    In order to say anything about safety, the number of deaths has to be compared to at least the number of cars out there at all. If there is only a single Volvo in the US, the total number of deaths is obviously low even if the car was very unsafe.

    So what we need is something to relate the total number to – e.g. the number of Volvos out there (and comparing that ratio to others). Of course, there are more factors that can be taken into consideration if you wanted to be even more accurate – e.g. miles traveled, personality profiles and age of Volvo drivers etc., all of which may or may not influence the result.

    Based on the statement above, we only know, that the TOTAL number of deaths is the least (which is probably not even true as there are car companies building only a hand full of cars each year that probably have never seen a single casualty).

    Btw – this is assuming that the phrase “fewer people die in a volvo” DOES refer to the total number of deaths…

  • EHK Apr 18, 2011, 7:21 am

    Ok, let’s look at how this statement could be interpreted:
    New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America.
    Four points I would like to look at when validating this statement:
    – what about the number of injured people
    – what about compared to other countries
    – customer profile of a Volvo
    – product lay-out of a Volvo compared to other brands

    Injured people: Could be that Volvo is a car which is stronger physically compared to other brands. This would mean that the number of injured people is higher compared to other brands.

    Other countries: If this would be a valid statement, this surely should account for other countries as well.

    Customer profile: Perhaps the customer profile for Volvo’s is less risk-taking.

    Product lay-out of a Volvo: Volvo’s are known to be ‘strong’ cars.

  • Addy Apr 18, 2011, 7:35 am

    This statement is not valid. The statistics do not provide us with information how many Volvo’s are being driven in comparison to other brands. Therefore, it is possible that fewer people die while driving Volvo’s because fewer people drive Volvo’s. Secondly, there may be a self – selection bias involved. People who are more mature and have a safe drying style may be more prone to buying Volvos and not other brands.

  • MIKE Apr 18, 2011, 8:03 am

    The answer is not sufficient because it lacked to following figures:
    1)the number of volvo running on the street (it could be that there are fewer volvos so less traffic accident)
    2)the kind of people buying volvo(older people/ calmer people, they naturally drive safer)
    3)the average price of volvo(more expensive so drivers are more cautious)

  • JLF Apr 18, 2011, 8:16 am

    I’d like to start with what “safe” might mean to Volvo’s customers, and then move on to evaluating whether the data provided are sufficient to draw that conclusion.

    When I think of a “safe” car, I think of one that both reduces the likelihood of getting in an accident and also limits injury as much as possible should an accident occur. So right away, as a customer I would feel unsatisfied with the definition of “safe” including only a reduced number of deaths.

    Keeping that in mind, let’s identify the data we would need to better support this campaign.

    First, we can model the opportunity for injury for any car make or model in a year as equal to:
    (# cars sold)*(avg # passengers per car)*(avg # miles each car is driven per year) = person-miles / yr

    Next, we gather additional data needed to asses safety given that opportunity:
    # accidents per year
    # injuries per year, grouped into Class 1 : no hospitalization, Class 2: hospitalization, Class 3: death

    Finally, we can calculate a comprehensive safety score as =
    (ratio of accidents per person-miles/yr)*(number of injuries)*(avg severity of injuries)

    Caveat: Volvo’s slogan may already be doing what it’s supposed to do without needing all of that data. If it’s not illegal to make the statement without all of the above, it may be Volvo’s strategy to let the consumer decide whether the data are sufficient for THEM.

  • Eduardo Kredensir Apr 18, 2011, 8:44 am

    The statement mislead the reader to a wrong conclusion. People who usually buy Volvos are less propense to be involved in a car accident (e.g. middle-aged women). In other words, Volvo consumers tend to be more careful drivers than others, thus they don’t usually get involved in a car crash, making the data insufficient to make a good conclusion. The better way to discover which car is safer, one should simulate a car accident for different car brands and see which one is less damaged.

  • MG Apr 18, 2011, 10:32 am

    The author of the statement implies that less deaths=safer car however we do not know the unit of measure for comparison purposes. Fewer Volvo’s on the road compared to other makes would skew the data in favor of Volvo. It also doesn’t address death vs. severe injuries. It is possible that all else equal simple luck or the lack thereof resulted in severe injuries and paralysis rather than death.

  • BW Apr 18, 2011, 12:19 pm

    We don’t know if this is misleading or not, we do know that it’s a lofty statement however.

    With no other information, I would look into a couple factors that are evident.

    Firstly, we have to assess the author: the US Government. While fairly objective we hope, we have to consider that many agencies can fall under a governmental banner–the interest of the agenda of the author is the first thing that typically raises my eyebrow regarding claims.

    Second, while the report indicates that there are the least # of fatal deaths associated with the Volvo brand, we don’t know a bunch of other factors
    How many other car brands were tested? Two others? All others? How was ‘all others’ defined (e.g. what about imports)?

    What about rate of incidence? The statement made was relative (not absolute), but assumed causation. What if Volvo drivers are just safer drivers? This statement assumes that because the car is a Volvo less people die fatally in an accident–what if people who buy Volvos are just statistically different from the mean and actually drive more safely, and therefore have less accidents, and therefore die less often? In that case, it would have less do to with what car they are in than it would how they drive.

    Let’s pretend however that rate of incidence and causation was controlled for. In this case it could even be possible that Volvo drivers could even get into more accidents, though of a less serious nature, on average. This would lead us to the same conclusion–look at all these Volvo accidents, and no deaths, what a safe car! But what if people who typically drive Volvos just also don’t typically get into really bad accidents, and those who do, actually die. Then we could safely conclude that Volvo was the safest fender-bender haver on the road. We know nothing about rates of mortality.

    So far I’ve looked at the car, and the driver, but haven’t yet controlled for accident severity. What if the research done, but some design flaw, either did not control for accident severity by car brand? In that case the relative nature of the statement is void–Volvo can’t be proclaimed safer or less safe then any other car on the road (or vise versa) because the research design confounded any conclusion.

    Finally (I could go on forever but in the interest of my 3-5 mins), it isn’t complete to say that a lack of fatalities itself equals safety. Safety is a broad word which includes less accidents, less severe accidents, less susceptibility to danger or risk, and definitely, decreased fatalities.

    My conclusion (without any allowance of further inquiry): No, we do not have data sufficiency in this case and can not from the information given necessarily safely conclude that Volvo is the safest car in the United States.

  • Cesare Apr 18, 2011, 5:23 pm

    The deduction made by people at Volvo is incorrect. Fewer people dead on a Volvo doesn’t mean anything more that a small number of people died on Volvo. It might well be that 50% of US citizens are driving Ford cars…

    To assess the safety of the car they should have said “Given the number of (serious) accidents involving a Volvo, the percentage of people dead is smaller than the number of people dead while driving other cars”. No other measure can state the safety of a car.

    Moreover, i added “serious” since the statistics could be biased by other factors: for example Volvo produces only family/big cars, that are probably used for long travels. Than – i’m just making an hypothesis, it should be investigated deeper having the data – it might be that 90% of the accidents involving Volvos happen on highways, while 90% of the accidents involving CityCarCorp cars only happen in towns, since the latter produces only citycars. Probably less people die on CityCarCorp, but this just because they are used in less “dangerous” environments. This does not mean they are safer.
    This only to stress the fact that it is also important to analyze what has to be considered an “accident”, before drawing a conclusion.

  • GW Apr 18, 2011, 5:53 pm

    The conclusion deducted by the government data is invalid. The fewer people die in Volvo car may be due to the relative small percentage of Volvo cars owned in US. In addition, the severity of accidents involved in Volvo cars may vary significantly to other brands too. Third, the owners of Volvo cars may have different demographic patterns, and which may have different driving habits.

  • GP Apr 18, 2011, 10:31 pm

    With the statement we can’t determinate if the data about the Volvos are relative or absolute. Besides that, we can’t assume anything about the conditions of the accidents just because the word safe is used.

  • 28 Apr 19, 2011, 5:51 am

    it is not clear if the car characteristics reflect the protection function of the vehicle (if the number of people stayed alife after the car crashes)

  • JSH Apr 19, 2011, 10:17 am

    This assumes that the safety of a car is measured by the rate at which people die in accidents. This may not be agreeable by all, especially those who would prefer a car that may be more fatal to the passenger when there IS an accident but helps to avoid accidents altogether better.

  • Arihant Jain Apr 19, 2011, 11:55 am

    The Report appears to be talking about absolute numbers and not relative numbers (such as percentages) and hence the statement is falsely skewed or possibly misleading

  • SMA Apr 19, 2011, 12:27 pm

    Its necessary more details about the report and also data took in the analysis, Volvo can be low in sales (few cars in the street) therfore reported low accidents, may be the sample is no representative, can be a problem in collecting data, depends the location where they collect data, depends what data do they collected. The assumption is not necessary true!

  • Al Apr 19, 2011, 1:10 pm

    There is not enough information to make this a truly clarifying question. The first question I have is, what U.S government agency? The U.S government is made up of many different agencies, and the report mentioned in the add could have come from any one of them. Is it the department of transportation? Some other agency? Also, how many different car brands were used in the study? Were their only American cars or foreign cars as well? How many test were conducted? My conclusion is there is not enough data to support the conclusion drawn in this add.

  • NG Apr 19, 2011, 4:51 pm

    The obvious questions is – Is not dying the only indicator of safety? If yes, then Vovlo’s claim is valid. But, if there are other measures of safety such as the the number of injuries, accidentail air bag deployments and such, then those measures should also be considered before making this all-encompassing claim.

  • Raj Apr 20, 2011, 5:10 am

    First it is important to know that how many people in the US drive a Volvo car and how many drive other cars. It may be possible that there are fewer people driving a Volvo car as compared to the other car brands. So, whether this number is an absolute one or a proportion of the people driving the cars should be known.

    It is also important to know that what is the demographic of the people who drive a Volvo car. If mostly older people drive a Volvo car, it is more likely that they would be safe drivers as opposed to young drivers (assuming that safe driving varies with the age group)

    Another important factor is to determine that what are the safety measures that are used in a Volvo car as compared to the other car brands and what is the rate of accidents and injuries associated with a Volvo car. The number of people dying can not be the sole indicator of safety for a car.

    Also, it may be useful to see the geographical distribution of Volvo car and other car users. It might be possible that other cars are used more widely in geographical areas which are more accident prone, such as the snow affected regions up north, and Volvo cars are used in regions which are safer to drive in.

    Lastly, it needs to be considered that what was the span of time and the group that the data was collected from. The sample quality and sample size is very important and it would help in data validation.

  • IS Apr 21, 2011, 6:26 am

    Absolute numbers are not representative, one should address the # of deaths / # of drivers of brand

  • qwerty123 Apr 22, 2011, 11:07 pm

    I would try and understand the following:

    – Number of cars sold by brand across America (% of Volvo cars on the road) – lesser no of volvos on the road
    – State with highest accidents on the road, and car market share by brand – volvo could be minimal in these states
    – Type of volvo cars sold (entry vs high-end)- high-end cars would have better safety features, hence reducing deaths
    – Demographic of buyers across brands – brand perception – elder age groups owning the cars, leading to reduced speeds and lesser deaths
    – Safety features in the car (airbags, ABS, speed control mechanisms) – enhanced safety at high speeds

  • Can Apr 24, 2011, 6:34 am

    I wonder if the question implies death is the only thing to avoid in order to call a car “safe”. What about injuries? When we also consider the inhuries together with deaths is Volvo still safest?
    In addition what is “car”. A four wheel motorized device with appr.1500 kg weight? Then wat abou jeeps? Many people call them “cars” in everyday language. In addition time span is not indicated in the phare? When was Volvo safest? According to this months accident data or the last five years? How was the data collected? Is it precisely measured or is it an extrapolation based on a sample of observations? If extrapolation, what are the assumptions?

  • TMT Apr 24, 2011, 10:00 am

    The statement cannot be validated by the US government report, because it doesn’t show the data in a relative way. To be certain that Volvo is indeed the safest car in the US, more data will be needed, like how many percentage of Volvo owners die in a car accident, compared to other brands.

  • KPZ Apr 24, 2011, 12:51 pm

    Instead of wasting time trying to “prove” that Volvo is the safest brand by absolute numbers, it would be much easier to provide a scenario in which another brand (say some very obscure manufacturer) has a lower number of deaths in that vehicle.

  • wahid Apr 24, 2011, 11:26 pm

    No, you cant conclude that Volvo is the safest car in the US.
    Why? Because the question has not clearly defined the meaning of “fewer people” dying in a Volvo.

    If that few people dying is an average, i.e. no. of people dying per accident, then while it seems that Volvos are safer as people can walk away from accidents more often than when they are in other cars, it does not exclude the fact that Volvos could be involved in more accidents than other cars (perhaps from a fault in its design).

    So Volvo may still be a more dangerous car if its involved in more car accidents even if it is less likely from dying in one.

  • Mahesh G Apr 25, 2011, 2:15 am

    No, the conclusion cannot be made with available data. More data is needed such as
    – # of Volvo cars on road in US compared to other cars
    – # usage (average # of miles driven per year) of Volvo compared to other cars

  • emdi Apr 25, 2011, 10:44 am

    conclusion cannot be drawn, given the available data.

    The available data does not tell if volvo car is causing accidents and caused harm to others.

  • bryan Apr 26, 2011, 1:11 am

    i have to estimate’s mkt share in the US and 2. the frequency of car use of different brands,
    according to these info, i would be able to assess the validity approximately. actually, some extra consideration also need attention:
    the owners of volvo cars usually pay more attention to the safety( car owners’ behavior )

  • jack Apr 26, 2011, 10:17 am

    This data is not sufficient primarily due to 3 factors:
    1.”Death” not the only definition for safety (it could involve injuries ranging from mild bruises to heavy injuries).
    2. Timeframe (is the “safest” car title has a timeframe, say, for the previous 1 or 3 or 5 years)
    3. Is the entire “spectrum” of volvo vehicle safe or only specific category? (in case they have some)

  • Alia Apr 26, 2011, 3:31 pm

    While the statement may be true to the letter, it does not necessarily say anything conclusive about the safety of Volvos. In order to determine whether this statement means that Volvos are actually SAFER than any other car in the US, we would need to know how many Volvos there are in the US in comparison to other types of cars. This question needs to be answered in terms of market share, as opposed to just numbers. If the market share of Volvos in the US is significantly smaller than other types of cars in the US, then it would naturally follow that fewer people die in Volvos in the US – because there are fewer Volvos for them to die in. However, if the market share of Volvos is roughly the same size as all of the other types of cars in the US, then this statement does offer conclusive information as to the safety of Volvos.

  • I.S. Apr 26, 2011, 11:09 pm

    The data is not sufficient to reach the stated conclusion.

    Three main issues which immediately come to mind, and might be the cause of fewer people dying in a Volvo than any other car brand in America are:
    1. The number of Volvo cars on the streets. Volvo might be just very unpopular as a car in the US. If the percentage of Volvo cars is very small, the number of Volvo cars in accidents will be respectively also very small
    (even if it is no safer from other brands) and therefore fewer people will die in a Volvo than in other car brands in America.

    2. The demographic is also a key issue. Car accidents are not distributed uniformly among the entire population – more accidents are caused by young and new drivers. If Volvo cars are more appealing to older people than to younger ones, Volvo will naturally be less frequent in car accidents just because the people driving Volvo are on average safer drivers.

    3. The type of car that is sold most. Most big car brands sell a variety of cars: small cars which are easier to park, long business cars, 4 by 4s, etc.
    Some types are much safer than others, regardless of the manufacturing brand (a 4 by 4 would be on average much safer than a small car). Therefore, if percentage-wise Volvo sells more of the “safer” car types than the competeting brands, it would appear as if Volvo is safer even if the chance of dying in a Volvo in a car accident is exactly the same as in other car brands, when looking only at a specific car type.

  • Philippe Rocha Apr 27, 2011, 10:30 am

    1) The demographic is also a key issue. Volvo’s car is more used for old people. Statistics say that the accidents occurs more with young people. We can say that this kind of car is more appropriate for old people.

    2) The number of volvo’s cars on the streets can be less than the others brand cars.

    3) Volvo sells more a kind of specific cars that are more safe than the others types. If we compare the same type of car with the others brands, the safety is going to be the same.

    4) We need to compare the market share of the brand cars. If Volvo has the same market share than the others brand cars , then we can compare the safety if not we can not compare .

  • abang fuji Apr 27, 2011, 10:25 pm

    The claims is questionable because there is no data about the proportion of volvo owner from the total car owner in the United States. Volvo may claim as the safest car in the United States if the accident rate of volvo owner is less than other brand.

  • Anubhav Apr 28, 2011, 1:49 am

    The data is not sufficient, reasons:
    1) We donot have the numbers on how many volvo cars exist in US, if there are just 10, this statement would be true in any case.
    2) The statement is ambigous as it doesnot bring the context out correctly like “fewer people die in accidents in a volvo in US”.
    3) The Volvo’s are so damn expensive that the ones who buy them rarely take them out, or the ones who take them out drive them so carefully that accidents are averted.

  • Yes Apr 28, 2011, 6:13 am

    Volvo – The Safest Car in the United States*
    * New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America’

    Volvo’s claim would be true if:
    1) the sole determinant of vehicle safety is the number of people who die in a type of vehicle. In reality, however, there may be better ways to measure car safety.

    For example, Volvo may have the highest number of people who are critically injured while driving a Volvo, but since they do not die, are not counted in the statistics.

    2) there are no safety differences between car sizes (i.e., a truck is just a safe as a buggy). The government test may have considered trucks to be cars, and volvo makes a disproportionate amount of trucks to sedans compared to other companies. Since fewer people die in trucks than sedans, the fact that fewer people die in Volvos than other types of cars is only a function of the high ratio of trucks:sedans that volvo manufactures

    3) Volvos are purchased and driven just as frequently and on the same roadside settings as other cars examined in the report.

    time’s up

  • VS Apr 29, 2011, 2:17 am

    Definition of Safety is open to perception of the owner.
    Safety as understood from the ad is based on fatality metrics. But a better metrics for safety is to measure the accidents where such cars are involved in. Whether a person dies is secondary and may depend on physiological factors.
    Accidents may depend on following and I assume the following for analysis
    1. Size of the car: Bigger the car likelihood of it being involved in an accident. I assume Uniform size of the passenger cars here.
    2. Speed of the car: Faster the car likelihood of accident is higher. I assume uniform speed across different brand of passenger car segments.
    3. Accidents can happen because of the other vehicle/truck involved in the crash. This again I assume is uniform across different brands of passenger cars and segments.
    4. Owner’s Demographics: Youngster may drive faster and may be more accident prone. Again for ease of analysis I assume that Volvo plays in all the market segments and its sales are in same proportion as the US Car average.

    Going forward with above assumption Volvo is the safest passenger car in US only if:

    Number of passenger car accidents in US which involve a Volvo Passenger Car /Total Number of Volvo Passenger Cars in US


    Total Accidents in Passenger Car Crashes in US*2 /Total Passenger Cars in US.
    Note: Multiplier of 2 is because there are 2 cars involved. This is to ensure that we do not under-count.

  • D Apr 29, 2011, 2:32 am

    The report states “Volvo (brand)… car brand…”, while the sentence specifically states “Volvo car”. Car brands do not produce cars only (trucks,…), so it is not possible to compare a general statement on a car brand with a specific conclusion for the cars it produces.

  • C Apr 29, 2011, 9:35 am

    1) How many people own Volvo who are car owners
    2) What is the profile of the average Volvo car owner
    3) How often do Volvo car owners drive versus other American car drivers
    4) Where are Volvo car owners usually located versus other American car drivers

  • Rengarajan Apr 30, 2011, 4:11 am

    If ratio of accidents involving Volvo cars to the total number of Volvo cars are same as that of other brands and yet the casualties are low for Volvo, then it sure is safer than any other brand in the United states!

  • Andre H May 1, 2011, 4:17 am

    For perspective, I tried to question every word.

    New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America

    New = when? This month, this year, last year. What is the trend line?

    US government report = Which institute? In what way is it a government report?

    shows = In what way does it show? What kind of data supports this?


    fewer = how many fewer? Are there other cars that have the same values or very similar? Relative

    people = Which people? Who drives? What about animals?

    die = what about injuries?

    in = what about outside? Is it safe if it is built in a way which kills people easily?

    a = what Volvo? Which models? Were there any deviations from the norm? Did they just check one model?

    Volvo = What about cars with the same frames and same producers?

    than = in what way? Percentage?


    any = compared to whom?


    car brand = what is a car brand? Are there any unbranded cars that did better? are they just checking the largest brands?

    in America = what about in the rest of the world? Is it a coincidence in the US?

  • Y.M May 1, 2011, 6:43 am

    Based on the data presented, i would say that assuming that VOLVO is the safest car in the US is wrong.
    Here is why:
    a. Less people die in VOLVOs – How many VOLVOs are in the US? I assume the numbers are not scaled (e.g. death % per car).
    b. There is no data about accident numbers per VOLVO. It is possible that VOLVOs tend to crash more, but with less fatalities (leaving many injured..)

  • shi May 2, 2011, 2:19 am

    1 need to know the time frame
    2. the car accident type. it might be people who are more safe drivers select volvo

  • Humpty Dumpty May 2, 2011, 8:28 am

    Assess the validity of statement:

    – What data underlies the statement?
    – Assuming total number of deaths in volvo/total number of deaths in car accidents
    – The value of the statement – the goal should be to minimise number of deaths absolutely, not relatively
    – Is there are correlation between buyers of volvo cars and their driving habits? Underlying assumption that all drivers are equally good
    – The number of volvo cars in America is perhaps so low that even if 100% of volvo car owners died in their car, the govt report wouldnt reflect that.

  • ed May 2, 2011, 3:49 pm

    Within the total amount of deads through car accidents, the least happen in a Volvo for a few reasons:

    1- the market share of Volvo is very slim
    2- the drivers of Volvo tend to be housewifes that drive in safe neighborhoods and under safe conditions
    3- the fact that Volvo advertises as a safe vehicle tends to avoid being sold to unsafe/risky drivers

  • Petra May 3, 2011, 3:44 am

    The statement is not clear and can’t be derived only based on the additional comment, because of the following reasons

    1) “fewer people” can be counted in numbers or in %, which is not clear. The % of people who died in a certain brand has to be compared to the total market share of this brand (e.g. let’s assume Volvo has 5% market share, Toyota 50%, if 10 people die in a Volvo, and 30 people in a Toyota, Toyota would be the safer car)

    2) one has to compare number of accidents vs number of deaths – what % of accidents are lethal for a certain brand. Who are typical Volvo drivers and where is the car sold, do they have less accidents in general (or at least less severe accidents)?

    3) Another aspect of customer habits is the number of people driving in a Volvo (1 person only or whole family) – the less people are in a car, the less people can die in an accident.

    Thus a reasonable way to analyse which brand is safest would be to
    a) calculate how many accidents with a brand a deadly
    b) compare the number of dead people to the number of total cars sold for each brand
    c) analyse the typical customers and their habits

  • JS May 3, 2011, 8:24 am

    Based on what we know about the accident statistics it would be hard to validate this statement entirely on the provided data. This statement may well be true but in order to ascertain of it holds good we need additional data such as:
    What percentage of accidents in the united states actually involve a Volvo?
    This would tell us if in the event of an accident a Volvo truly is safer than any other car in an accident scenario. So if the ratio of percentage of people dying in Volvos in accidents to the ratio of Volvos in accidents is truly lower than others then we can agree that the statement is valid in the context of crash safety.

  • Rishikesh Venugopal May 3, 2011, 9:44 pm

    This statement may be factually correct, but it does not imply that Volvo is the safest car brand in America, as the number of people driving Volvo cars (or the number of Volvo cars out there) may be fewer than other brands. So this statement does not necessary indicate the safety associated with driving Volvo cars.

  • MA May 4, 2011, 2:58 am

    NOT enough data at all to reach the conclusion. we need to know how many accidents by each car model and how many of that model exists and then how many fatal accidents by each model

  • MH May 4, 2011, 5:22 am

    I would start by the defintion of safety itself to say that I don’t agree on the fact that it is defined as a relationship to death. That said let’s assume that we will take death as the main variable.

    The report says that ” fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America”. What is the market share of Volvo in the US ? What is the market share of Volvo in the US accidents ? What is the market share of Volvo in the US Deadly accidents ?
    Based on the gov report, I would define safety as “having a deadly accident and staying alive”, I would define a set of criteria for a deadly accident, based on these and the figures in this category for Volvo and other car makers, I would compute the ratio alive/dead after the accident to compare “safety”.

  • Adcitlali May 4, 2011, 7:56 am

    I believe that the statement that Volvo is the safest car in US is not valid based on the information provided, i.e., ‘new US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America’. The reason why it is not valid is because unsafety cannot be measured by the amount of people dying. The amount of fatal accidents leading to the death of a person or persons is part of the equation, but not the complete equation. The missing parts are number of accidents that do not end in the death of anybody.

  • IH May 4, 2011, 9:08 am

    The argument that Volvo is the safest car in the US, based on the statement “New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America” is not valid in several aspects.

    The most obvious point is that, ratio, rather than absolute answers, matters more in statistical data. So the truth could be that even fewer people own a Volvo car, making the percentage actually higher that some or most other brands. If that information were provided, possibly completely different conclusion/argument should be made.

    Another point lies in the fact that, not all car accidents (assuming we are only discuss car accidents in this case) are fatal, and the report should include also the numbers of injured (to what extent) people also. And to be more sound, one also need the information like the constitution of Volvo owners. For instance, if Volvo owners a larger part of male/young-midaged, it could be that they can survive better than the weaker ones (that own other brands), and it may have nothing to do with the car they drive.

    A third point is that there is nothing about the period included in the report. “Fewer people” in which year? or overall? or in one season? Without a knowledge of that, one should not make a strong argument that “Volvo IS the safest”. Even if we have the information, most of the time it’s not safe to make an argument like that, as it’s different from “sells best”, “highest”, etc which can be drawn from pure statistics, but it requires many conditions to be satisfied.

    There are other small places where the logic is vague, but one doesn’t need to worry too much until the above ones are considered.

  • Iris May 4, 2011, 10:15 am

    The validity of the claim will depend on
    1. The sample size – anything less than 35 is not statistically meaningful
    2. If all car brands are included in the test
    3. If the cars used for all the brands in the test are in the same category
    4. Whether the difference is statistically significant

  • Evg May 5, 2011, 5:50 am

    I would suggest that this statement is misleading at best.

    First, the government report finding, as presented, seems to be in absolute numbers. How many people die in a Volvo vs how many people die in a Ford is not a useful piece of information unless we know how many Volvos are there and how many Fords are there. It is easy to see how there may be twice as many deaths in a Ford, but if there are 10 times more Fords out there on the roads, then the chance of dying in a Ford is actually much smaller.

    On a related topic, is not apparent that the government report compared numbers from similar types of accidents (f.e. relative speed of the vehicles, direction of the impact). If Volvos were mostly involved in low-speed accidents, while Fords were mostly involved in head-on highway-speed collisions, does the number of fatalities really indicate that Volvo is safer vehicle?

    This brings us to the next major point: it may be that the driving habits of those using Volvos are much different from those using Fords. If Volvos are seen as family cars, while Fords are used by hothead students, the relatively small number of Volvo’s deaths may be caused by the fact that Volvo drivers drive much more carefully, don’t drink and drive, and always fasten their seatbelts. This really has nothing to do with the car itself: Volvo drivers may just not be as accident-prone.

    Speaking of accidents, the third point is: why is safety measured in terms of lethal consequences of an accident? It may well be suggested that the safest car is the one that helps the driver avoid the accident – not necessarily the one that has the highest rate of survival in an accident.

    Overall, I would have trouble with the validity of this statement: the numbers in the report may be driven by things like different market shares, different types of accidents, different driving habits – not by the level of safety of the car itself. And even if we could agree with the numbers, I am not sure I agree with the very definition of safety in the claim.

  • EZ May 6, 2011, 1:48 am

    The validity of the US government report is a simple yes or no answer. But if the statement is used as proof that Volvo is the safest car to drive in America then the comparison has to be made in total fatality as a percent of total drivers of Volvos vs other car brands based on the assumption that likelihood of an auto accident is independent of the make of the car which means more people driving a brand results in more accidents involving that brand, hence higher fatalities.

  • V May 6, 2011, 12:29 pm

    This statement is not valid. There are 2 main reasons for this:
    1) The note to the statement does not contain information about the period which was covered by the report. The statements is general and it may mislead the reader by not mentioning whether such results are constant or show the picture of specific period.
    2) One separate piece of information was taken from the report. The note to the statement mentions only comparative number of people who died in accidents and it does not have information about the number of people who got injured. Taking into account full information statement may not be true.

  • mulyadi wibowo May 7, 2011, 2:50 am

    this is a very general statement with no supporting data. I am a bit skeptical about this message because I assume that Volvo is not one of the most popular cars in the US, hence there should be less accidents involving Volvo’s cars.
    if this is the case, then this is very misleading.

  • SC May 7, 2011, 11:47 pm

    The data given does not support Volvo’s claim. Depending on what the government data is, the reason why there are less people dying in Volvo’s could simply be the case there are less people driving Volvo’s around. There are more Ford or Toyota accidents simply because of the volume of cars sold. The data would need to show that on a per car basis that fewer accidents happen in a Volvo to support this statement.

  • E May 8, 2011, 3:44 am

    The advertisement focuses on an absolute value, rather than on a relative one. Therefore, this may be highly misleading, as there may be lower proportion of the population driving Volvos. In addition, it focuses solely in one aspect of security, which is death. One may argue that safety goes beyond to die or not to die.

  • ML May 9, 2011, 8:54 am

    New US government report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America

    To test if this saying is right, we need to do an analysis first.

    First, collecting all available car accidents data from the government/non-government resources, including number of accidents that involves death and the percentage of death of all passengers

    Then sort the data by car brands and year, to figure out if every year, Volvo has the lowest death percentage among all car brands. Do the same calculation as an average again to verify the result.

  • Luke May 9, 2011, 10:20 am

    While there may in fact be fewer car accidents involving the Volvo make of car, this does not fully substantiate the claim that Volvo is the safest car in the United States. In addition to total number of accidents, you might want to look at a ratio between fatalities to car accidents for Volvo, compared to other brands. The higher the ratio the less safe the car. You would also want to look at the percentage of total accidents involving Volvos, and Volvos as a percentage of total cars on the road. For example, if 5 percent of all accidents involve Volvos, yet Volvo makes up 10 percent of total cars, then this would not speak well for Volvo safety. This comparison would provide additional clarity on safety, but not full-proof since every make of car attracts a unique driver profile, with a higher or lower propensity to drive in a way that might cause an accident. In short, fewer accidents doesn’t guarantee a safer car.

  • Andrew W May 9, 2011, 2:18 pm

    1) This appears to be an absolute number of fatalities rather than a weighted number (based on, for example, the number of cars on the road).

    2) Does the data cover just one year or multiple years? Is this a real trend?

    3) In many ways a more revealing statistic would be survivability. i.e. what proportion of fatalities occur in Volvo’s involved in serious accidents? Is it above or below the norm?

    4) How old is the average Volvo? This works two ways, if Volvo’s have always been safe, but other cars have been getting safer then Volvo’s relative safety will decline. Equally if Volvo is a new entrant in the market, then their safety record will be better than average across the base.

    5) Does the brand appeal to safety conscious drivers. One feels that a Porsche driver has a different driving style to that of a Volvo driver. Is it in fact self selecting regarding the driver, rather than the car?

  • Pako May 9, 2011, 2:20 pm

    Volvos are mostly driven by elderly (youngsters are not attracted by its “beautiful design and cool features”) and they hardly ever brake rules as they drive, hence are involved in fewer accidents..

  • csb May 10, 2011, 1:55 am

    The above statement and conclusion can be restructured into the following premise and conclusions:

    premise: fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America.

    conclusion: Volvo is the safest car in the United States.

    The argument is invalid. There are cases where the premise is true, but the conclusion can be downright false. For example, if fewer people die in a Volvo, but more people who are involve in minor, injury leading accidents are in a Volvo, then Volvo can easily be argued not the safest car in the United States.

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