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Thatcham Challenges EU Car Makers to Match USA Crash Avoidance Pledge

Press release   •   Sep 16, 2015 11:44 BST

Leading insurance-owned research body, Thatcham Research, is calling on 10 vehicle manufacturers in Europe to match their USA commitment to fit autonomous emergency braking (AEB) as standard on all new cars.

Ten major vehicle manufacturers in the States — Audi, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo — have announced the pledge to make crash prevention technologies more widely available to consumers.

"Vehicle manufacturers are widely acknowledged to have contributed the most to cutting death and serious injuries on our roads, with high levels of protection for occupants being the expected norm,” says Peter Shaw, Chief Executive of Thatcham Research.

“Manufacturers have taken great strides forward in crash avoidance and mitigation technology – but far too frequently, it is standard equipment only in luxury vehicles. Elsewhere, it can be expensive, lacking promotion and a little-understood optional extra … or simply not available.”

Thatcham estimates that more than 600,000 cars (1.7%) on the UK roads now have standard fit AEB.

“Volkswagen, Volvo, Mercedes, Nissan and Mazda lead the way in the UK with the highest numbers of cars on our roads with standard fit AEB systems,” says Peter Shaw. “However, only Volvo has crash prevention technology as standard fit across all models.

“Currently nearly 30% of new cars in the UK have an AEB system available, but not, in most cases, standard. Equipping all new cars in the UK with AEB would result in a reduction of 17,000 deaths and serious injuries on the UK’s roads in the next decade.

“As a start-point, the UK alone would see an enormous drop in the number of fatal and serious injury crashes if the high-volume sellers – Ford and Vauxhall – introduced standard-fit AEB.”

AEB technology is already showing benefits in the real world. A recent report from Euro NCAP and ANCAP, the independent safety bodies for Europe and Australasia, said that low speed AEB technology leads to a 38% reduction in real-world rear-end crashes; while data from leading insurers in the UK found third party injury claims on the Volkswagen Golf VII to be 45 per cent lower than equivalent ‘Small Family Cars’ – a group that included Ford Fiesta, Toyota Auris, Peugeot 208 and Audi A3, as well as the Golf VI.

“These findings strongly support Euro NCAP’s decision to make AEB technology a key discriminator in the safety rating of new vehicles, and from next year, this will include systems that can avoid pedestrians as well as vehicles.”

The Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, or 'Thatcham Research' as it is widely known, was formed in 1969 by British insurers. Its main aim is to carry out research and testing to contain or reduce the cost of motor insurance claims, whilst maintaining safety standards. 

Thatcham reviews every volume new car model entering the UK, risk rating it for the ABI’s Group Rating Panel and conducting an in-depth review of the new model’s repair information. As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004. The organisation has an established reputation as an automotive standard setter and a proven capability in delivering unique, high quality, ready to use and bespoke products and services to the automotive industry, on a global stage.