Advanced Safety Features Should Be Standard

Despite improvement in the safety performance of newly launched cars, consumers still aren’t getting a full range of advanced safety features as standard – and, according to Thatcham Research, that needs to change.

Safety Packs

“Consumers shouldn’t be asked to make a choice when it comes to safety,” said Thatcham Research Chief Executive, Peter Shaw. “The problem is that when safety systems are not standard, consumers simply do not specify the option. Our data shows that uptake rates of optional safety packs are extremely low – in the region of 2.5%. That’s why we believe vehicle manufacturers need to prioritise Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as standard on all new cars.”

Safety Ratings

Euro NCAP test results for the new Tipo, for instance, reveal that Fiat’s new small family car achieves only a Three Star rating in standard guise, scoring just 25% in Safety Assist evaluation. An optional safety pack, which includes City and Inter-Urban AEB, raises the Euro NCAP rating, but to only four stars. By comparison, other new cars recently introduced in the family car category – such as the new Renault Scenic – feature AEB as standard throughout the range, enabling a Five Star Euro NCAP rating.

Five Stars

“Vehicle manufacturers should be targeting a Five Star Euro NCAP rating for all new models and to achieve this they need to score highly in every assessment category, including Safety Assist,” commented Thatcham Research Director of Research, Matthew Avery. “The scores give consumers a clear indication of which cars they should be considering and just as importantly the ones that fall short of expectations. With most small family cars such as the Astra, and Megane all achieving 5 stars it’s disappointing that Fiat can’t follow suit.”