ESP installation rate climbs in the UK
Robert Bosch, the world’s largest automotive components supplier which originally developed the system and launched series production with Mercedes-Benz in 1995, mounted a major campaign to raise awareness of the system in the UK following research that showed only 1% of motorists could nominate ESP as an active safety system. This lack of awareness was reflected in European figures which showed that the UK sat close to the bottom of the ESP fitment rate table. At the end of 2003, only 20% of cars were fitted with ESP in the UK compared to a European average of 29% and a staggering 55% in Germany.
Figures just released by Bosch for 2004 show the ESP fitment rate to cars in the UK has climbed to 29%. Bosch’s target for the end of 2005 – the 10th anniversary year of ESP – is to see a fitment rate of over one third of all new passenger vehicle sales in the UK.
According to Chassis Systems marketing manager, David Fulker, these figures are very much welcomed: "We’re absolutely delighted with the latest figures, which not only show that we’re well on target to reach an installation rate across a third of all new passenger car sales, but also suggests our ‘No car without ESP’ safety message is starting to slowly reach all the right target audiences. With our dealer training programme underway for vehicle manufacturers and plans to expand the offering to consumers, I am convinced that we will continue to see an upward trend of ESP fitment here in the UK."
The road safety benefits of ESP are increasingly being recognised by road safety professionals and industry. In a recent presentation to UK fleet managers, Matthew Avery, Crash Research manager at Thatcham - one of the world’s leading automotive research and technology centres - said that accident rates were slashed when cars were fitted with ESP. "ESP is an absolute lifesaver," said Mr Avery. "I really recommend it because research from Japan, USA and Sweden has all shown that accident rates reduce by over 30% on cars fitted with ESP." To conclude, Mr Avery gave the audience this advice: "When choosing cars for your fleets, choose vehicles with five stars in the Euro NCAP crash tests, seats with a "GOOD" rating in the Thatcham whiplash tests and ESP fitted as standard."
Bosch has further committed to the promotion of ESP across Europe by becoming a signatory to the EU Road Safety Charter – a commitment to halve the current number of deaths on European roads from 50,000 to 25,000 by 2010. The company has also embarked on a comprehensive dealer staff training programme designed to inform new car showroom sales executives of the benefits by using practical demonstration under controlled conditions at leading motoring circuits around the UK, with plans to expand the programme to a consumer package expected by the end of 2005.