The popularity of electronic stability controls (ESC) in passenger motor vehicles is growing rapidly as the automotive industry makes the safety technology available on a wider selection of models.
Figures released by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) show that, during the first six months of the year, 20 per cent of all passenger cars and Sports Utility Vehicles sold were fitted with ESC.
“This is a heartening example of the trickle-down effect of new safety technologies in motor vehicles,” said the Chief Executive of the FCAI, Peter Sturrock.
“In a few short years ESC technology, which was considered cutting-edge and the preserve of a few very expensive prestige vehicles, has found relatively wide application on a variety of models and price points.”
ESC uses the computer-controlled individual braking of wheels to help restore a motor vehicle to the chosen cornering line in the event of loss of control by the driver.
The FCAI says its own survey of member car brands indicates that the ESC fitment rate for new sales of passenger cars and SUVs will approximately double over the next 12 months.
“As growing economies of scale bring the price of ESC down further we can expect many more cars to be fitted with it either as a standard or offered as an option,” said Mr Sturrock.
Mr Sturrock said industry production economies and market forces meant that the spread of ESC to lower-priced models was likely to follow the same path as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), which are now ubiquitous.
“It should be remembered that only 25 years ago ABS was first offered on a top-of-the-line luxury car as an option costing the equivalent of a Volkswagen Beetle,” he said.
“Today ABS is routinely fitted as standard to base-model light cars costing less than $15,000.
“Since ESC uses some of the components of an ABS system as its basis, logic suggests ESC will in due course find wide application on cars at almost all price points.”
Mr Sturrock said the automotive industry had consistently demonstrated its commitment to improving the primary and secondary safety of motor vehicles.
“Major motor vehicle brands spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on research into new safety technologies that go far beyond any current or foreseen safety legislations,” he said.
“The commitment of the auto industry to consumer safety should not be doubted.”