volvo v40.china.automotiveIT

Volvo's knee airbag, seen here in the V40 Cross Country, underscores the carmaker's push for better safety features (Photo: Volvo)

Representatives of Volvo Cars, the truck maker Volvo and universities in Gothenburg and Shanghai attended the official inauguration of the China-Sweden Research Center for Traffic Safety in Beijing this week.

The research facility is the result of a visit by former Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao in April, 2012. Sweden and China have developed close automotive ties since Chinese car maker Geely acquired Sweden's Volvo Cars from Ford in 2010.

Partners in the research will be Volvo Cars, truck maker AB Volvo, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, the Chinese Ministry of Transport's Research Institute of Highway and Tongji University in Shanghai.

Volvo Cars said in a press release that the new research center will focus on improving traffic safety in Sweden and China. The center will be run by Hans Nyth, currently director of the Volvo Cars Safety Center.

China is a vital market for truck maker Volvo and Jan-Eric Sundgren, an executive vice president at the company, said: "One of the benefits of this cooperation is that we gain better insight into its traffic situation at the same time as we can build up valuable experience through hands-on work together with Chinese universities, research institutes and public authorities."