Jan 31st, 2008 by RJ Menezes
Swedish carmaker Volvo has been found guilty of manslaughter after a French court ruled that faulty brakes were to blame for a fatal car crash in France. This comes as a huge surprise as Volvo has built it’s reputation on safe cars. In fact Volvo’s slogan a while back was “Safety First”.
Catherine Kohtz was the driver of the car that lost control. Her Volvo 850 TDI and killed two children in that day. The accident occurred in June 1999, in the eastern French town of Wasselonne. Because of the accident Ms Kohtz received a six-month suspended jail term along with a $300 euro fine. She also had her licence suspended for a year.
Volvo on the other hand, was fined $200,000 euros, though it has repeatedly denied that the car was at fault. “This is a tragic incident for everyone involved,” a Volvo company spokesman said. The spokesperson then added “There was no problem with the brakes.” Volvo’s lawyers rejected that the accident was the result of a mechanical defect and are expected to appeal the ruling.
This seems likely to be in the French court systems for quite a while. Volvo is on damage control but those are bold claims that could scar the company. We’ll just have to wait and see.