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
a

(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
  • Guntra Satawiriya Feb 25, 2017, 12:54 pm

    With the data given, it is possible to conclude as covering these main points;

    1. Fewer people die in US car, this stat doesnt relate to the claim that Volvo is the safest car since many other factors such as mechanical components’ quality and its durability.

    2. There are no concrete statistics of other car brands in the US , in order to comparing this with Volvo brand

    In conclusion, this statement is invalid without supporting details and statistics.

  • Ejiro Feb 27, 2017, 7:40 am

    The fact that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car in the US does not support the assertion that the Volva is the safest car in the US.

    Other reasons why fewer people die in Volvo are:

    1. Fewer people drive the Volvo.
    2. The areas where Volvo’s are predominantly driven generally have a lower accident rate.
    3. The age groups/gender demography that drive Volvo’s are not accident prone.

  • Dan Giles Feb 28, 2017, 10:29 am

    I see 5 issues with this statement:

    1. Volvo has fewer cars on the road than other brands. How do the rates of deaths/accident compare between Volvo and other brands?
    2. Volvo customers may live in locations with low accident rates, while customers of other brands live in areas with high accident rates. Do Volvo owners live in safer driving areas than owners of other brands?
    3. Volvo owners may drive fewer total miles than owners of other brands. How many miles do average drivers put on their vehicles every year, and how does this compare with Volvo owners?
    4. Death is not the only concern for accidents. Volvo owners may die less often in accidents, but may be maimed or severely injured far more often than owners of other brands. Are Volvo owners severely injured or maimed more often?
    5. Volvo owners may tend to drive alone, while owners of other brands may tend to drive with more passengers. How do average vehicle occupancy rates compare in fatal accidents?

  • Amir Kazi Feb 28, 2017, 3:05 pm

    1) The validity of the report itself can be questioned. Was the report done on a sufficiently large and representative sample?

    2) Fewer people may use volvos in the first place. What matters is the ratio of number of volvo users who died divided by the number of total volvo users, and compare that to the ratio of other car brands.

    3) People who use volvos may be systematically different than the people who don’t use volvos. People who use volvos may be people who have large families or are not as risk taking or daring, and thus drive slowly and more carefully, due to which they avoid accidents compared to the rest of the brand users.

  • OO Mar 1, 2017, 8:33 am

    No, since there might be other variables affecting the results from the survey of number of car accidents per type of car. It might be that the people who choose the Volvo car generally are more concerned about safety and therefore more careful in traffic, resulting in less accidents per Volvo car. To test whether or not Volvo cars are more safe to drive, a more isolated experiment is needed that is independent on the driver characteristics and that test the technical features of each care on equal basis etc.

  • Rich Mar 6, 2017, 11:33 pm

    The problem as stated (i.e., assessing validity) has two principal elements – linguistic/theoretical, and problematical/computational.

    1. Linguistic/theoretical: It all starts with terminology. What do we mean by “safe”? If this is purely a function of mortality, then an objectively lower fatality rate among Volvo owners (compared to other car models) would support the claim as presented. It is unclear, however, whether Volvo’s definition of “safe” is concordant with that of U.S. consumers – or the government’s, for that matter: Did the report reveal anything else – for example, that while fewer people die IN a Volvo, do more occupants die outside of the car, but while still at the scene? Or en route to the hospital? Or within 30 days of the accident?
    2. Problematical/computational: If we accept “fewer fatalities = safer” as the absolute standard, then any claim of being the “safest” car ultimately derives from a mathematical calculation that identifies, and accounts/corrects for, a multitude of related variables, including (at least):
    total # of cars in operation in the U.S., subdivided by brand;
    total # of hours of vehicle operation (by brand) OR # of miles traveled (by brand), averaged over total number of cars per brand;
    # of occupants per car (by brand), average; and,
    # of fatalities involving motor vehicles, as a function of brand/hours of operation/miles traveled. In short, the statement by Volvo MAY be valid, but some form of statistical normalization across all car brands would be necessary before it could be PROVEN valid.

  • LYL Mar 9, 2017, 11:57 am

    This statement is not valid. The safety of a car is determined in a ratio – death in car accidents over total quantity of ownership of the car brand. Data has to be given on the total volvo car ownership in America, and divide the death number by car ownership to rank the ratio.

  • Joseph Mar 10, 2017, 4:46 pm

    1) Acquire statistics of all accidents in America and take record
    2) Sort out the accidents resulting in deaths and take record
    3) Sort out the accidents resulting in deaths by brands and take record.
    4) Sort item 3 by the minimum amount of deaths to validate the claim.
    That being said, safety of a car is not determined by the least amount of deaths. A lot criteria required to help make that conclusion. There is simply not enough information to definitively say that volvo is the safest car even if the result of “Item 4” turns out to be the lowest.
    Once could ONLY conclude from “Item 4” that Volvo resulted in the least amount of deaths, if it does in fact comes in as the lowest. But it does not mean it is the safest.

  • Turki Mar 29, 2017, 5:48 pm

    While the statistics might be accurate, I don’t think Volvo should take all the credit. Volvo is a brand that always uses safety as their selling point, which might entice a certain segment of consumer to buy their car. That segment of consumers obviously places huge emphasis on safety. Such consumers will be more likely to follow all safety instructions: don’t text and drive, fasten your seatbelt, don’t drive under influence, abide by traffic rules…etc. Those consumers are also more likely to be well educated consumers who live in areas with relatively better infrastructure and less hazardous traffic circumstances. All in all, while Volvo might attract the safest drivers, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the safest brand

  • Alex Apr 23, 2017, 10:58 am

    1. It may simply be the case that there are less people that own Volvos in comparison to other car types.
    Lets say 100 people own a ford, and only 20 people own a Volvo. The average rate of fatal car accidents is 1/20. Of the 100 ford owners, 5 would be involved in a fatal car incident, whereas only 1 of the Volvo owners would be. It is therefore necessary to observe normalised incident rates before drawing a conclusion such as this.
    Technically, the same rate of incidents occur, there are just fewer people that own a Volvo and therefore fewer are involved in accidents on an absolute scale.
    2. The type of user heavily determines a conclusion like this. For example, the highest rates of fatal incidents largely occur in young age categories (16-25). If very few of these people own a Volvo, there would be less chance of one being involved in a fatal accident, and therefore appearing to be the safer car.

  • Mahitorn Chantrachaya Jun 9, 2017, 4:06 am

    American people probably use Volvo at least . so the result ends up with this issue

    • Mahitorn Chantrachaya Jun 9, 2017, 4:25 am

      If we sort out the brand that lead people to die , we may conclude in the other way that the safety on that brand is very poor and Volvo’s safety system is the best

  • Maimoona Tariq Jun 9, 2017, 10:14 pm

    The advertisement’s claim that Volvo is the safest car in the US is based on comparison with other car brands in the US. This statement is not valid on an absolute basis but is valid on a relative basis.

  • Maksym Jun 13, 2017, 10:24 am

    Hi,

    Here is the statement again (because it is easier to work with it if I see it and do not scroll back and forth).

    This statement seems true only to a certain degree, and it does not cover some other areas that might significantly weaken it.

    First of all, it assumes that ‘safety’ is equal to ‘survival’ only. However, that is true only to a certain degree. In case people get injured more often driving Volvo than driving GM, the safety advantage turns into a weakness. The ad does not mention the injury rate.

    Secondly, even we probably should trust the survey source (US Government), we do not know the time period. For example, if the survey was taken in March 2017 and it covers the period January – February 2017, this survey does not seem representative, because the time period is very short.

    In addition, we do not know anything about the company’s health. In fact, Volvo experienced financial issues some years ago. the US citizens might no be aware of that. But that might impact the post sale service etc.

    Finally, it assumes that safety is the only attribute the Users are looking for. However, Users might fail to know other Volvo’s characteristics, its brand equity etc, because it is a European brand. For example, the car might look really ugly, be very slow, consume too much petrol, cost too much or have other disadvantages that will nullify the ‘safety’ benefit.

    Thank you,
    Maksym

  • Wei Jun 16, 2017, 2:16 am

    It is a simple but extreme statement supported by only one aspect of consideration. Safe is a term that bears not only statutory standards, but also psychological and subjective aspects that pose opposing views from the audience. For the purpose of discussion, a main point of contention in this statement is whether vehicle fatality can or should be used as the single measure to attest the validity of the statement. And the answer is of course not. There are other factors such as injury, malfunction, and recall rate that can be incorporated in the whole equation. More importantly, the statistics is misleading, as the nominal number does not tell the percentage to which the fatalities are weighing against the total sales of Volvo. For hypothetical instance, a total of 10 deaths to 100 car sales poses a staggering 10% ratio for Volvo, while other car brands may have 100 deaths over 1 million cars sold. Using solely the death number cannot be held up against scrutiny.

  • Dera Jul 3, 2017, 2:21 pm

    Number of deaths that in a car brand is a not a sole determinant of its safety.
    There is also a possibility that consumers of the Volvo brand are not as reckless as those of other car brands. I also think the safety of the car depends to a large extent on the behaviour of the rider. It is also possible for one to die in a car even when there is no accident.
    Basing the safety of a car on the number of deaths that occur in it is inappropriate.

  • Siti Jul 27, 2017, 10:56 pm

    The statement is bias because not mentioning percentage number of people die in Volvo. So that, we should ask these questions to make it clear.
    1. How many Volvo bought in US?
    2. How many numbers US people died in Volvo?
    3. How many others car bought in US?
    4. How many numbers US people died in other car?

  • Alex Aug 15, 2017, 2:41 am

    For subject statement to hold true it would be reasonable to check if Volvo cars are being exploited in the same conditions as other cars. Specifically, provided that Volvo cars are not used in areas where car collisions are most likely to occur then this statement is false. Also it might be dependent on the type of vehicle used, for instance, if Volvo trucks are the most popular model of Volvo cars is U.S. then this phenomena could be explained in the following way: trucks average speed is much lower then other types of car, trucks normally are not permitted to drive in the downtown where traffic is heavy and probability of getting in collision is higher.

  • Zeynep Tanca Aug 21, 2017, 2:15 am

    The information is not sufficient to make this statement. First of all, we need to know things like;
    – How many cars of each brand are there in traffic?
    – In what percentage of the Volvo cars in traffic do people die due to a traffic accident?
    – What is the percentage distribution of the car brands?
    – Causes of the accident
    – To which car segments (luxury car, family car etc.) do the accidents belong to?

    • Zeynep Tanca Aug 21, 2017, 2:16 am

      EDIT:
      In what percentage of each car brand (including Volvo) in traffic do people die due to a traffic accident?

  • ERF Sep 1, 2017, 12:45 pm

    Being the brand with less car-accident dies don’t mean to be the safest. Why?

    It is important to know how many Volvos were sold in US, and after doing a further statistics analysis, we can realize, in percentage how many volvo’s drivers died and make a comparision vs the same percentage in the other brands. This at first step.

    Then, it would be interesting to analyze if volvo’s drivers who suffered an accident survive in the same kind of accident of other brands died. So they can prove volvo is more safe.

    The summary needs to have this three elements:
    1.- Number of vehicles sold
    2.- Number of accidents
    3.- Number of deads
    4.- Percentage of deads with respec sold vehicles

    And then conclude which is the safest brand and write a cualitative report telling volvo security in similar accidents saved the driver’s life.

  • Ran Levy Sep 7, 2017, 3:48 am

    The statement given in the Volvo advertisement above can be misleading. The main issue is the safety of the car, and the advertisement suggests that they back their claim by a governmental report stating that fewer people die in volvo cars than in any other cars in America.

    However, the safety of the car cannot be inferred only from that. It can be the case that since Volvo cars are expensive compared with local brands or East Asian brands, fewer people in America drive Volvos. If this is the case, the probability of Volvo cars to be involved in fatal accidents is low. One might add the distribution of the cars to this point. Maybe Volvo car owners live in peripheral areas that are less prone to accidents than let’s say, populated and more central areas in America. Would their lower death rates in this case could imply that the car is safety? I doubt it.

    The safety of the car could not be inferred from low death rates in Volvo cars. Safety is depended on many variables such as the materials of the car, the technology it carries along with it, etc., but less so from death rates.

  • Akanksha Gupta Sep 11, 2017, 11:31 am

    This is an interesting advertisement put forward by the company. Certainly a concrete validation of the statement is not possible as it lacks the supporting data for analysis. Though, if the data was available, it could have been analyzed in different ways-
    1. Definition of Safety (for the company and competitors) – What are the metrics considered to define Safety? Is “number of people dying in the accident” the only metric or just a primary metric to define safety. How much weightage/consideration is given to other metrics (if any)?
    2. Total Sales per year – How many Volvo cars are sold per year? Is it that the total number of Volvos sold per year is considerably lower as compared to other automobile companies that the number of accidents (and people dying in them) are henceforth less?
    3. Customer Segment – What customer segment does Volvo entail? Is it a segment that practices “safe driving” that in turns decreases the number of accidents per year?
    4. Volvo Model – Is this advertisement specific to a Volvo model or is a general ad for all Volvo cars? I would look into this and the conclusion may differ for different car models.
    5. Region – I will also look into which particular region(s) does Volvo sells the more? Are these regions known to have better traffic regulation, hospital distribution in the region, 911 turnaround time, first aid practices that reduces fatal results?

  • Vlad N Sep 19, 2017, 6:48 am

    In order to assess the validity of this statement better it would be fair to get a closer look at the report and its components, that is used to identify the fact of fewer deaths in Volvo cars. For example, If the report is built purely on the simple comparison of the death numbers happened in different cars, and not lead to common denominators the amount of car of different manufactures, that data would be just not enough to prove that volvo car prevents more people statisticaly speaking. Before we can’t be sure that the data that has been used in the report compares the equal situations for all brands of the cars (speed of the cars when the accident happens, the angle of the clashes, the weather conditions amount of cars etc.), we can’t be sure that this statement is anabsolutely true. Also, the word the safest is too bold cause it means that people won’t die. Thus I would argue that this superlative degree of the word is valid as well.

  • NT Sep 21, 2017, 12:34 pm

    1. Volvos are a relatively expensive and functional car, yet not a flashy or luxury vehicle
    2. Therefore, they are primarily bought and driven by families and middle-aged folks, as opposed to being used as first cars or for flashy joy rides
    3. A large percentage of car accidents occur among new drivers and drunk drivers
    4. One can assume that these would not be the same people owning and driving Volvos (see 1-2)
    5. Therefore, Volvos aren’t necessarily safer, but rather their drivers are

  • Tika Oct 5, 2017, 7:15 pm

    From the statement that Volvo is the safest car in the United States, there are three questions that should be addressed to validate the statement:
    1. What is the definition of safe in the statement?
    2. When would be the time range of the statement? Is it still valid now?
    3. Volvo is actually a brand name of cars. How would Volvi justify the various make of its car but make them all the safest car?

  • Gail Oct 12, 2017, 6:29 am

    1. The advertisement makes reference to deaths, but what about other injuries?
    2. How many Volvo-branded cars are there in the U.S? The statistic is perhaps misleading because there are potentially proportionally few Volvos compared with other car brands.
    3. Does this statistic take into account the average number of people in cars? Perhaps Volvos cause the fewest deaths because they have a low average of passengers (e.g. they may be used primarily as business cars and transport only one person on average).
    4. There is the possibility that Volvo drivers happen to be safer drivers for whatever reason; this would be independent of the car brand.

  • YZ Oct 24, 2017, 8:15 am

    First, it’s important to determine the key issues with this statement which make us question it’s validity:
    In terms of evidenced data, we are given nothing other than the weight of the US Govt’s reputation behind it. Whilst for some, this could be deemed valid enough, it is important to delve further into the statement.
    Therefore….
    1) We don’t know the time frame of this statement – was it taken from data recorded over years, months, days? This could affect trends and proportionality e.g. if one brand is doing particularly well one year as a trend, there could be a higher proportion of that brand on the streets, and therefore disproportionately associated with car deaths.
    2) The “type” of death is unspecified: are these deaths a result of car collisions, car faults, human error – are they directly or indirectly related to the person driving in the car? If it’s due to mechanical errors, this says a lot about the safety and reliability of particular car brands. If one brand has to recall cars due to a detected error, it would make it an unsafe car, and therefore other car brands would be deemed safer. If it’s due to human faults, the reasoning for deaths, and in turn the safety of the car, are much less predictable and more “by chance”.
    3) How many people are in each car is also a question that could sway results – a 6 seater Mitsubishi with 6 people in it, the higher casualty rate, and its subsequent labelling as an unsafe car would be greater than a 6 seater Volvo with 1 person in it.

    These pointers alone highlight that the statement itself is not valid because there is too much information that hasn’t been shared for it to be accepted as the statement by itself.

  • Kim Oct 30, 2017, 12:34 pm

    Volvo’s statement is not exhaustively correct for the following reasons:
    1. Being the car make that has the least death does not mean it is the safest car because there might be less number of Volvo cars on the road compared to other car makes. Instead of using the number of deaths as the proxy, it might be more accurate to use the proportion or percentage of deaths in a car make over the number of that particular car on the road.
    2. Deaths on the road depend on various factors, i.e. driver’s driving skills, conciousness, other driver’s driving skills that may cause accidents, etc. So, claiming that the car results in fewer deaths may not be too accurate.

  • Annie Nov 7, 2017, 9:20 pm

    1) meaning: the newspaper do not give a deeply explication about what “safe” means to it. Moreovwr, accidents happen also because of others’ fault – he may drive a car of another brand.
    2) the target: we need the percentage of people who drive Volvo compared to the percentage of the other car brands – perhaps they are less.
    It mentions only the US segmentation, so the statement is not valid all over the world
    Moreover, which type of Volvo does the analyzed target use to drive?
    Do Volvo drivers use to drive to long, safer/crowded roads?

  • Johny Nov 26, 2017, 4:38 am

    The question is a call for speculations. Show me the data, show me the report.

  • A Dec 3, 2017, 3:18 am

    The advertisement is misleading by saying that Volvo is the safest car in the united states just because the report shows that fewer people die in a Volvo than in any other car brand. This is misleading because
    1. The majority of the population might not be driving Volvo
    2. Accident may occur due to the lack of skills by the drivers or other drivers on the road

    The statement will only be valid if Volvo actually compares the average percentage of death rate for each car brand as well as the age group of the drivers who died in a traffic accident.

  • Vítor Dec 14, 2017, 5:09 pm

    In order to validate this ad, one should initially adopt an hypothesis. The hypothesis is that Volvo is saying the truth, their car is the safest in USA. To validate this hypothesis, it is necessary to assess data about the proportion of cars that have an accident against the total number of driven cars sold by Volvo. It must be a proportion analysis, not a literal one. If Volvo sells less cars than other brands, the number of accidents will be less than other major players in market. It is not a strong argument to validate safety.

  • Vedant Dec 26, 2017, 8:45 am

    No, the data does not support the claim based on the following grounds:
    1) No indication is given regarding the clientele of the brand. The clientele could solely consist of office-goers or stay at home moms and dads solely using the brand’s cars for office commutes and/or trips to the supermarket. Any car catering to that domain would have a small accident count. Volvo simply could not be the preferred choice for driving enthusiasts or people undertaking long distance commutes.
    2) The magnitude of the accidents is cleverly hidden. For all we know, the accident count could be a small number among a group of very large numbers, in which case any confidence the customer gets by reading the statement could be based on bery fickle grounds.
    3)Volvo’s share of the number of accidents is also hidden. A brand that is responsible for say 10% of all deaths in a 9 member survey is just number one by proxy and the survey could very well turn on the brands in the coming years

  • Raghav Savara Dec 30, 2017, 8:07 am

    I believe that the data presented in the text is not sufficient enough.

    1) There are nearly an infinite number of possibilities and situations that can cause an accident to take place. The US government report simply cannot account for all permutations and combinations. Several factors such as outside weather, wear and tear of the vehicle, vehicle maintenance, experience of the driver have to be considered before assessing the safety of a vehicle.
    2) There conclusion of fewer people dying in Volvos has to take into account the share of the market that Volvo enjoys. If Volvo sells 100 cars and only has 1 accident, it cannot be compared to a market leader, such as GM, who would sell 100,000 cars and have 1,000 accidents. The use of raw accident numbers is misleading; percentage of accidents must be used.
    3) There can be instances where the driver and the passengers die after the accident in the vehicle and not at the moment the accident takes place. The line above is therefore misleading.

    – RS

  • Diana Jan 3, 2018, 12:16 pm

    The conclusion is not evident from the information given.
    The report does not indicate the proportion of dead people with respect to the total number of people who drive Volvo. Maybe, fewer people drive Volvo, and , consequently, fewer people die in Volvo than in any other car brand in America.
    Moreover, in order to compare safety of the car we need information on compliance with the safety measures and results of crash test of Volvo and their counterparts.

  • Alina Feb 6, 2018, 4:26 pm

    It is not said, what people died from in cars. That’s why it is not clear, was it the car safety’s fault or not. We can not evaluate car safety by the number of people died in this car, because not every death in the car is because of the problems with safety of this car.
    Therefore, the statement is not valid.

  • Kejun Feb 24, 2018, 12:16 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 information given by US government report does not necessarily conclude that Volvo is the safest car in US. Reasons include:
    1. The actual number of death related to being in a Volvo is not a good indicator of being safe. We need to know the percentage of death of people sitting in a Volvo.
    2. A better indicator should also reflect the rate of getting hurt in Volvo because avoiding death is only part of the measurement of being safe.
    3. Before comparing with the percentage of death and damage, other factors including demographic variables and driving conditions should also be considered to make sure that the numbers are compared on a similar basis.

  • sHu Mar 1, 2018, 9:02 pm

    This advertisement is exaggerated.

    Since the definition of “safe” is vague.

    we must consider not only the number of death but also the number of accidents or defects.
    I heard some feature once that the volvo’s car is more sturdy than others,
    so there might be case that the more car accidents are happening but fewer people die with minor injuries.

  • ILH Apr 9, 2018, 10:37 am

    The validity of the claim above can be and should be evaluated per following considerations:
    – Volvo used the wording “safe” and correlates that with fewer number of people who died from driving volvo. This is arguable since volvo assumes said correlation is correct. One could argue that the better measure would be the number of accidents that has occurred.
    – The data supporting the claim uses counts of people who died, this data cannot be use to assume that there volvo has a lower ratio of “people who die” to “total number of cars produced”. There could be lower counts because volvo produced less car

  • CB May 8, 2018, 9:30 am

    The advertisement is not valid due to the following two reasons:
    1. The statistics as to how often people die in a certain car brand are not necessarily indicators for how safe a brand is. It is rather more correlated to the driving behaviour of the driver, the circumstances and environment (loud music playing, children inside the car that distract the driver, tricky roads, bad weather etc.) and the condition of the driver (sleepy, annoyed, drugged).
    2. The advertisement says Volvo is the safest car, while the US government study says Volvo cars are the least deadly. Being less deadly does not necessarily mean being safer. A car can also be considered safer than others for a certain type of incidents (e.g. up to 120km/h) but be deadlier than others for another type of incidents.

  • CSR May 24, 2018, 8:12 am

    It is not valid because (assuming in this case that safety = survival to a car accident) it can be a result of less Volvo cars in the US than other brands, so they have less possibilities to be involved in an accident and thus to have victims as a result of them. It would be necessary to compare (Deaths_in_Volvo_cars / total_Volvo_cars_in_US) with the average of deaths in car accidents per total number of cars in the US

  • NK Jun 2, 2018, 12:14 am

    To validate the prompt “Volve is the safest car because it has caused the least number of deaths in accidents”.

    Purpose of the ad could be to increase sales of Volve in US by emphasizing the safety. In order to validate the ad we would require to validate each of followings.
    (1)Whether there is a relationship between the car features and the chances of involving accident leading a death. if so, what is that feature/strength?
    (2)Compared to historical data, whether Volvo is involving fewer deaths?
    (3)Whether there are consumer voices that certain Volvo features lead to avoid an accidents and eventually a death?

    Here, assumptions are
    – Volvo drivers drive as much as non-volvo drivers
    – Safe cars causes less accidents (conversely, safety of the car is a key factor to avoid an accident)
    – Government report is unbiased

    If the assumptions are true and 1-3 data points are proved right, we can validate the argument.

  • Ashish Shukla Jun 13, 2018, 4:57 pm

    The US Government report may not be a comprehensive report talking many things ion consideration while claiming that Volvo is the safest. Volvo is not the largest Auto manufacturer in US so obviously they have less number of cars and its users. Also, it doesn’t come as a preferred brand for many because of various reasons. So if a sample size of 1000 car users were taken and out of that only 15% were Volvo users, the report will never present clear picture as to how safe the Volvo brand is.

    If in the same sample, there were top 5 brands equally participated (200 Car Users each) and out of 200 only 10% died while running Volvo cars as compared to 20% for Honda and 25% for Ford or GMC, the report can be believed. Without looking at the sample size and survey details, its not possible to say be the statement made is valid or not.

  • KD Jun 16, 2018, 5:33 am

    The report released by the US government says that the fewer people die in a Volve than in other car brand in America doesn’t necessarily mean that the fatality rate dying in a Volvo car is the lowest. For instance, 1000 people died in a Volvo car last year, and this year only 100 people died in a Volve car. Compared to another car brand say BMW where the number of people who died in a BWM car was 200 last year. Now it dropped down to 90. Indeed, the report agrees with the fact that fewer people died in a Volvo car than any other brand, but it doesn’t mean it has the lowest fatality rate.

  • Maneka Jun 16, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Data is insufficient to lead to the stated conclusion.
    – Death is not the only measure to for safety; several serious injuries not resulting in death is also a measure
    – Accidents can can be caused by internal and external factors.
    Internal factors: consisting of Volvo services to maintain safety such as adequate airbags, seat belts, other car attributes
    External factors: consisting of geography, road conditions, crime rate, government stipulated alcohol driving restrictions, driving experience and ability to follow road rules
    Given data may be skewed in favor of Volvo due to positively affecting external factors

    Therefore, the data is insufficient to support the statement.

  • JR Jun 20, 2018, 4:02 pm

    To check if this statement is actually valid, I would like to look at the new and older U.S. reports on car safety. On the new report, I would look for what are the metrics use to state Volvo is the safer car and how it compare with other brands (metrics suchs as safety on new car model produced last year, overall safety for all current models, etc). And, to be through, on old reports I would look how the same metrics compared over the year because, for example, we could find that there other car brand(s) safer than Volvo’s and that is(are) still operational in the U.S. (by operational I mean they are been produced, saled and/or still in use in the country).

  • Avigat Jul 3, 2018, 9:53 am

    In order to assess this statement, we must first determine if Volvo is comparable to other brands. My hypothesis thus is “Volvo is at the same level as other brands”
    In order to test this hypothesis, my structure is as follows:.
    1.) Are the number of Volvo’s plying on the road same as other brands. Here it is important to see what is the average number of cars that ply and compare it to Volvos. If volvos are less, then hypothesis is proven wrong. If number of volvos are less then accidents involving them shall also be less and this means Volvos aren’t actually safe, they are used less, had they been used as much as other brands, they would be involved in more accidents.
    2.) What are the internal safety mechanisms of Volvos and how do they compare to other brands of the same price. If Volvos have more or less features, then hypothesis is wrong.
    We need to discuss each subcondition (More features and less features) separately.
    More Features (Air bags, better brakes, sturdy and strong body): This means Volvo is indeed safer and tends to cope with accidents better.
    Less Features (Weak Body, Brakes not upto the mark): This means Volvo isn’t safest brand and numbers posted by advertisement are purely coincidental.

    (This is only prima facie analysis owing to my time constraint of 3-5 minutes. My synthesis would be more structured)

  • Carla Stelsel Aug 5, 2018, 4:08 pm

    The conclusion purported by Volvo is not valid. First, we must look at what is safety. Here they are implicitly defining safest to mean the car that people are the least likely to die in. However, we must look at the staticstical realities of the data they were, in fact, provided with. The data they have is this: fewer people die in Volvos than in any other brand of car in the United States. However, this statistic is not conclusive becase of the sample size. If fewer people are driving Volvos than it would make sense that fewer people would die in them. So saying that fewer people die in Volvos does not mean that the Volvo itself is especially effective at preventing death. This is a correlation and causation fallacy. Also, this data fails to specify the state of other relevant parameters: how many Volvos are on the road, how fast do people drive Volvos on average, what type of person is most likely to own a Volvo and what kind of driver are they, etc. Therefore, we can say that the only conclusion that we can draw from the data provided is that very statement itself: fewer people in the US die driving a Volvo than any other car brand.

  • Julian Young Sep 28, 2018, 5:44 am

    We cannot infer that the statement is true since there is selection bias at hand here. Indeed, people that are more security conscious will tend to buy Volvo because of their reputation as “safe” cars, and because we can assume that more security conscious drivers have less fatal accidents than others, we cannot conclude that Volvo cars are the safest. We might conclude that Volvo drivers are the safest.

  • Pardita Oct 11, 2018, 2:30 am

    Hi,
    In my opinion, the data provided is not sufficient. To tell whether Volvo is the safest car, we need several stats in terms of historical reports of car sales within US. How many were sold against other competing brands because we need to know what numbers we’re comparing. All the sales figures must be normalized before concluding Volvo being the safest of the lot

  • Varun Oct 19, 2018, 5:26 am

    I beleive this ad is stating more than facts, but at the same time they are known and history of coming up with new safety feature with every other car.
    Advertisement is all about claming that what all could be achived, and not only what all has been achieved already.

  • Daniel Lee Nov 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

    safe can mean that volvo riders have the lowest car crash accident rate in the country. But this can be skewed based on the size of the population who drive volvo. Maybe the statistic is capped at ever 100,000, volvo users report a lowest incident rate

  • Hubert Nov 28, 2018, 4:06 pm

    The Volvo car is the safest if the rate of death is lower than any other brand.
    Rate = number of death/total number of km in a Volvo car.
    The only fact published is that fewer people died in a Volvo compared to any other brand, but does not say anything around the number of people owning or driving a Volvo.
    In an extreme situation, if there is zero person in the US using a Volvo, I do expect that nobody dies in a Volvo, but this does not prove the car is safe.

  • sophie Dec 5, 2018, 6:13 pm

    I think this Volvo ads is not so validate.
    1:Fewer is abstract there is no number and can be focused. Cause different tests need to proceed on different situation.
    Which year’s government report, it should be time-bounded.
    2:Any other car brand in US is also not clear. And competitor might response.
    3:rephrase die to survive mode.
    No body like to hear die word..

  • Veronika Dec 12, 2018, 12:48 pm

    I’m going to hypothesis that Volvo is the safest car in the United states just in case if the percentage of deaths and issues of Volvo drivers amongst the whole amount of US’s accidents is the lowest in comparison to other cars.

  • Elizabeth Feb 4, 2019, 2:53 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

    There may be fewer people who die in a Volvo than in any other car brand in America, however, there may also be fewer Volvo vehicles on the road than any other car brand in America.

    In order for Volvo to be the safest car in the US, then there would have to be an apples to apples comparison, based on the percentage of people who died in each car brand. If the percentage of Volvo-related deaths is lower than each of the other brand-related deaths, then it may be fair for Volvo to make the claim that it’s the safest car on the road.

    Similarly, if, say, none of the Volvos are driven by teenagers and nearly all drivers are young mothers, then this introduces the element of young mothers being the safest drivers on the roads, and easily distracted teenagers driving non-Volvos, may skew the data, and not give the best representation of the safety of the car.

    A stratified data sample, based on age and gender, by brand of car, with death percentages, and then an overall average would be the best indicator of vehicle safety (as based on outcomes).

  • Zheng Zhang Feb 7, 2019, 12:56 am

    The statement is not valid. Here is no information about how many percentage of cars are made by Volvo. For example, if only 1% percentage of US cars are Volvo but 10% Volvo drivers died. Another brand has 40% percentage of US market, only 1% its drivers died. Though the less people died in Volvo but it has far higher car accident rate. It is not believed as safe then.

  • Yosephine Feb 18, 2019, 4:27 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

    In order to assess the validity of this statement, I would like to look at the growth of the safetiness of Volvo Car compared to its competitors and industry average.

    Having fewer people to die in a Volvo than in any other brand in America for only a year does not make Volvo the safest car in America.

    We need to asses at least 5 years performance compared to the competitors and the rest of the industry. Since the report and the data is not mentioned above, we cannot validate that particular statement.

  • MNgo Mar 12, 2019, 9:31 pm

    To assess the validity of this statement, I would want to know the followings:
    – What data was collected to support the statement: Specifically, what the sample size was, what context the data was collected from, was it representative of the population or was it from a certain group or served a certain study.
    – How the data was interpreted: Specifically, in ratio, what was the rate of deaths in the Volvo compared with other brands (in absolute number it may be less but the number of fewer deaths is not significant in magnitude when compared with other brands), in comparison with other brands, did it included an equivalent comparison across the models or only a certain model against another that wasn’t similar enough.

    If there was any indication that the sample was biased for some reasons, the statement gives a wrong impression that Volvo was the safest brand among car brands in the US.

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