If safety comes in numbers, as many say, then those attending the grand unveiling two weeks ago of the new Volvo XC90 at Hampton Hall clubhouse had nothing to worry about.
The VIP event, hosted by Carolina Volvo in Bluffton, introduced the packed audience to the XC90 T6 Momentum. Guests got a close-up view of the stylish, super safe, amenity-loaded, four-door luxury crossover vehicle that is coming soon to the Lowcountry.
First introduced to the world in 2003, the XC90's record of safety is unparalleled in the auto industry. The latest version has been in the making, fine tuning and visionary thinking since then. The XC90 has been the manufacturer's top selling vehicle for the past 12 years.
"A lot of manufacturers build in safety to pass the test (federal standard)," said Rob Seitz, of Volvo Cars of America. "Volvo builds safety not to pass the test, but to save lives. That's something we're all very proud of."
"A lot of folks are waiting to see the model," said Mike Turner, a general manager of the local dealership, before the event began. "What we're doing tonight is to showcase the vehicle to customers outside the Volvo brand."
In other words, guests at the local function who might drive Land Rovers, BMWs, Audis and Mercedes might be inclined to purchase the XC90 or one of Volvo's six other models.
Interestingly, every one of the 22 XC90s that Carolina Volvo is having transported here to Bluffton soon has already been sold, said co-general manager Chris Elliott. Worldwide, 30,000 have been pre-ordered.
Additionally, the 18-year-old dealership has already pre-sold one XC90 hybrid, the world's first seven-passenger plug-in hybrid electric vehicle with a T8 twin engine slated for deliver later this year.
The completely redesigned 2016 XC90, with a MSRP price tag of $48,900 to $69,000 and up, features a 2.0 liter 316 horsepower turbo-supercharger engine, eight-speed overdrive transmission, anti-lock brakes, side-front-impact-overhead airbags and 360-degree impact-detection cameras.
Now that Volvo has squeezed into the luxury category in the industry, Elliott said the price of the XC90 is well below its competition by thousands of dollars, while offering comparable amenities.
"I hope they're (the audience) going to be as excited about the new car as we are," he added.
Dean Rowland is a veteran senior editor and freelance writer living in Bluffton.