Fleet News

ESC availability remains poor

The availability of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems as standard fit on many cars is still far below the level hoped for.

This is despite a European Commission proposal that ESC should be mandatory for all new vehicles from 2012.

Fleet managers have been urged to demand that all their cars come with the safety system, with some now demanding that it is fitted to all their lease models at no cost.

However, the results of the latest EU-wide ESC availability survey have highlighted major disparities between manufacturers in deciding which models have ESC as standard equipment.

“Consumers are dependent on manufacturers’ business decisions as to whether this proven life-saving technology is offered as standard,” said the report by EuroNCAP.

“EuroNCAP is concerned that when ESC is offered as optional, consumers are charged high prices that then deter them from fitting the technology.”

Some manufacturers such as Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, and Mitsubishi, are increasing the percentage of their cars with ESC fitted as standard.

However, the report said there is a “disappointing lack of improvement” from Vauxhall/Opel despite offering ESC as optional on an increased number of its range.

Kia, which while now offering more models than last year, has failed to keep pace on ESC, effectively lowering the average standard ESC fitment over its vehicle range, said the report.

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of EuroNCAP said: “Considering that ESC is the most effective safety device since the seat belt, no car buyer should have to bargain over it.

"A greater effort to make ESC fitment standard across the board is required.”

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