DOT, IIHS and 20 automakers commit to AEB standard on new vehicles

McLEAN, Va. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept. 1, 2022.

Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process.

AEB systems help prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying the brakes for the driver. The systems use on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and apply the brakes if the driver does not take sufficient action quickly enough.

NHTSA estimates that the agreement will make AEB standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. During those three years, according to IIHS estimates, the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries.

“It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By making automatic emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent crashes and save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers.”

Based on mounting evidence that AEB effectively reduced crashes and injuries in the United States and around the world, NHTSA and IIHS issued a challenge to the industry in September 2015 to encourage automakers to voluntarily make AEB a standard feature. A series of meetings followed to establish details of the commitment.

“IIHS member companies strongly support the adoption of effective safety technologies,” said IIHS Board Chairman and CEO of American Family Insurance, Jack Salzwedel. “Deploying AEB on a wide scale will allow us to further evaluate the technology’s effectiveness and its impact on insurance losses, so that more insurers can explore offering discounts or lower premiums to consumers who choose AEB-equipped vehicles.”

“We’re getting these safety systems into vehicles much faster than what would have been otherwise possible,” said NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind. “A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans sooner.”

“The benefits of this commitment are far reaching, from injuries and deaths averted to the recovery of productivity that would otherwise be lost in traffic jams caused by the crashes prevented,” said IIHS Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “It also assures that all Americans will benefit from this technology.”

“With roadway fatalities on the rise, the commitment made today has the potential to save more lives than almost anything else we can accomplish in the next six years,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, who attended today’s announcement. “Including all models in the agreement ensures that safety isn’t for just those who can afford it.”

NHTSA and IIHS also announced that Consumer Reports will assist in monitoring automaker progress toward meeting the AEB commitment. Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports, said, “We have been calling on automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard in all new vehicles, and today is an important step toward reaching that goal. This proven technology is among the most promising safety advances we’ve seen since electronic stability control almost two decades ago. We look forward to working with NHTSA and IIHS to help put this plan into action and hold automakers accountable for their commitments.”

Today’s commitment will make AEB standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2022. AEB will be standard on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025.

As NHTSA continues its regulatory work in this area, NHTSA will track the progress industry is making towards its commitment.

The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes.

To encourage further development of AEB technology, NHTSA will accelerate its research on more advanced AEB applications, including systems that reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians. In December, NHTSA announced plans to rate AEB systems and other advanced technologies under its 5-Star Safety Ratings beginning in model year 2018.


Fact sheet:
Auto Industry Commitment to IIHS and NHTSA on Automatic Emergency Braking

Participating manufacturers: Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA — representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. new-car market.

Details of the commitment: Participating automakers commit to make AEB standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less no later than Sept. 1, 2022, and on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds no later than Sept. 1, 2025.

What is AEB? Automatic emergency braking helps prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying a vehicle’s brakes automatically. The systems use on-board sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver, and apply the brakes or increase braking effort if the driver does not take sufficient action.

Performance requirements: Participating manufacturers will ensure vehicles have both a forward collision warning system that meets a subset of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s current 5-Star Safety Ratings program requirements on the timing of driver alerts and an automatic braking system that earns at least an advanced rating in the current Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front crash prevention track tests. The baseline performance measures are a speed reduction of at least 10 mph in either the IIHS 12 or 25 mph tests, or a speed reduction of 5 mph in both of the tests.

Safety benefits: IIHS research shows that AEB systems meeting the commitment would reduce rear-end crashes by 40 percent. IIHS estimates that by 2025 — the earliest NHTSA believes it could realistically implement a regulatory requirement for AEB — the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries.

Monitoring progress: IIHS and NHTSA will monitor automakers’ progress toward the commitment and provide annual updates on that progress. Commitment letters from each of the manufacturers, along with annual submissions on their progress, will be posted at www.regulations.gov under docket number NHTSA-2015-0101.

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Car, Truck of the Year Finalists Revealed

2014 Acura MDX

2014 Acura MDX is a finalist for North American Truck of the Year.

BY GERRY MILES

The voting is in and all that remains to kick off the new year for some automakers is being named as either the 2014 North American Car or Truck of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show.

2014 Chevrolet Silverado

2014 Chevrolet Silverado

Culled from the dozen car and truck finalists were the Corvette Stingray, Cadillac CTS and Mazda3 while GM’s Chevy Silverado nailed down a spot in the truck segment next to the Jeep Cherokee and Acura MDX.

Some 48 journos from two countries — OK, the US and Canada, eh? — began with a list of 28 cars and 18 truck/SUVs that were trimmed to a dozen of each shown below:

North American Car of the Year:
BMW 4 Series
Cadillac CTS
Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Chevrolet Impala
Infiniti Q50
Jaguar F-Type
Kia Cadenza
Lexus IS
Mazda3
Mazda6
Mercedes-Benz CLA
Toyota Corolla

North American Truck/Utility of the Year:
Acura MDX
BMW X5
Buick Encore
Chevrolet Silverado
GMC Sierra
Hyundai Santa Fe LWB
Jeep Cherokee
Kia Sorento
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Nissan Rogue
Subaru Forester
Toyota Tundra

Journos make their decisions based upon the following criteria includingThe awards recognize the most outstanding vehicles of the year based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar.
To be eligible, vehicles must be “all new” or “substantially changed.”

What’s my selection?

2014 Corvette Stingray

2014 Corvette Stingray

Well, some of the vehicles that I’ve driven such as the Range Rover Sport is substantially

2014 Mazda3

2014 Mazda3

changed and in many ways it mirrors the past and the future in one neat vehicle. So, too, are the Subaru Forester, Jeep Cherokee, a long-wheel-based Santa Fe, Mazda3, Caddy CTS and more. The Chevy Impala is a real dark-horse car that handles and feels like a European sedan more than twice the price. It’s that good, folks. Best Impala ever made.

In the Truck category I select the Jeep Cherokee.

2014 Jeep Cherokee

2014 Jeep Cherokee

I just drove one and it’s phenomenal.  Folks may be polarized by the styling but the ride, drive and handling, not to mention mileage keep it true with street and off-road cred to its bigger brother, the Grand Cherokee.

2014 Corvette Stingray

2014 Corvette Stingray

In the Car category, given the kudos give to the Corvette all around from the start I figured it would/could win this title. It’d be no surprise. I look forward to sliding behind the wheel some sunny day.

The Mazda3 is also remade and rewarding. It’s roomy, refined and not what you might have expected while offering a standard transmission if so ordered.

2014 Cadillac CTS

2014 Cadillac CTS

Cadillac, and I’ve got friends who agree, is nothing to sneeze at mechanically, but I think the brand has lost its way. The brand’s name used to be synonymous with being the best of the best. And the new Caddys are much better than before, but they don’t look like a Cadillac but any homogenized sedan with a sloping hood and stubby rear. It’s short, it’s not recognizable as a Caddy while a 2005 STS with its Northstar engine underneath jumps out as if saying, “I am a real Cadillac.”

Soap box sidebar aside, I can’t see the Corvette – arguably one of America’s top motoring icons – NOT taking the top title. Stay tuned until next year.

Chevy, GM join to fight breast cancer – but only on selected dates, at selected dealers and only up to $130,000

Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne give rides to Cancer survivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton GA. (HHP/Harold Hinson)

Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne give rides to Cancer survivers at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton GA. (HHP/Harold Hinson)

BY GERRY MILES

For the third straight year, General Motors, its employees and Chevrolet will team up to fight breast cancer with the support of the American Cancer Society through the Making Strides walks. This money helps fund research, wellness, breast cancer awareness education and support for breast cancer patients and their families.

For every customer to test drive a Chevy, during October, the automaker will contribute $10 up to $130,000 to the American Cancer Society for every eligible test drives take nationally on select dates at participating dealerships. (Drivers must be over 21 with a valid driver’s license. The promotion is limited to one test drive per person.)

While this sounds all warm and fuzzy on the outside, the devil is in the details.

However, if GM and Chevy will really willing to toss in to fight cancer – it should sponsor test drives during the entire month of October nationally – not just at participating dealerships on selected dates. To me, that’s just a trumped up way to drive showroom traffic on the back of national awareness.

By comparison, when Toyota undertook an effort to send lunches to victims of Superstorm Sandy up to a certain, the wide spread reaction was so great they boosted the donation level…twice!

For each view of a short film on youtube, Toyota set a pledge goal of 250,000 meals for 250,000 views.

After an overwhelming response, the import carmaker soon prepared to send up  to 1.25 million meals from Toyota as a result of the video views for a great cause without conditions of the views having to be on a certain day or participating dealership.

Chevrolet will donate $200 for every lap run under caution during select NASCAR Sprint Cup and IZOD IndyCar Series races throughout October and not just selected races. A special pink Chevrolet Camaro SS will pace select NASCAR Sprint Cup series races. A 2014 Corvette Stingray will serve as the pace car for the IZOD IndyCar Series event at Auto Club Speedway in October.

Anyone interested in participating in a Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk in their community can visit www.makingstrideswalk.org.

GM nabs 8 awards – 5 for Chevy in JD Power 2013 Initial Quality Study

Porsche Ranks Highest Among Nameplates; Most problems customers face in the first 90 days are design-realted and can be fixed at the dealership.
BY GERRY MILES

In some welcome initial quality study information, GM received 5 awards in just announced JD Power initial quality ratings, with Chevy’s Avalanche (tie), Camaro (tie), ImpalaSilverado HD and Tahoe receiving kudos.

According to the study, the majority of problems owners experience with their new vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership are design-related rather than manufacturing defects. These design problems are far less likely to be successfully resolved at the dealership than are defects, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) released today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality, has been redesigned for 2013. The study has been enhanced to better measure the quality of today’s vehicles, particularly problems related to new technologies and features now being offered. In addition, the study, now in its 27th year, allows for more detailed feedback from new-vehicle owners.

Nearly two-thirds of the problems experienced in the first 90 days of ownership are related to the vehicle’s design, as opposed to components that malfunction. For example, the component may be working as designed, but owners deem it a problem because it may be difficult to understand or operate.

Because design problems are not the result of a breakdown or malfunction, just 9 percent of these problems are taken to a dealership within the first 90 days of ownership. When owners take their vehicle to a dealership for a design-related issue, the problem is fixed only 13 percent of the time. In contrast, 28 percent of owners who experience a defect or malfunction with their vehicle within the first 90 days of ownership take it to a dealership, and 42 percent of the time the dealership is able to fix the problem.

“Automakers are investing billions of dollars into designing and building vehicles and adding technologies that consumers desire and demand, but the risk is that the vehicle design, or the technology within the vehicle, in some cases may not meet customer needs,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “Keep in mind that automakers are trying to design vehicles that appeal to a broad array of consumers, and what works for the majority may not work for all. The successful companies will be those automakers that find a way to give customers the technology they want while at the same time making it sufficiently intuitive so all customers find it easy to use.”

Overall initial quality for the industry averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).1 The study finds that many of the problems owners have with their vehicle relate to the driver interface, which includes voice recognition or hands-free technology, Bluetooth pairing for mobile phones, and the navigation system, among others.

Features that are difficult for owners to operate, hard to understand, or inconveniently located in the vehicle likely will remain a problem for the life of the vehicle.

“Owners desire, and in some cases are demanding, more content in their new vehicles, especially technology-related features, and automakers are trying to provide it,” said Sargent. “The majority of owners don’t experience problems, but those who do are frustrated. That’s understandable, especially when owners often keep their new vehicle for five years or more. In contrast, when consumers have a problem with their smartphone, they are likely to replace the phone much sooner.”

GM, Porsche atop 2013 IQS Rankings
Porsche ranks highest among nameplates included in the study, averaging 80 PP100. GMC ranks second with 90 PP100, and Lexus ranks third with 94 PP100. Infiniti (95 PP100) and Chevrolet (97 PP100) round out the five highest-ranked positions.

Among the 26 model-level segment awards:

  • Chevrolet received 5
  • Honda received 2
  • Kia received 2
  • Mazda received 2
  • Porsche received 2

Chevrolet models receiving an award are the Avalanche (tie), Camaro (tie), ImpalaSilverado HD and Tahoe.

Honda receives awards for the Civic and CR-V; Kia for the Soul and Sportage(tie).

Mazda for the MAZDA2 and MX-5 Miata.

Porsche for the Boxster and911.

The Lexus LS ranks highest in the Large Premium Car segment and achieves 59 PP100, the lowest average problem level among all models in the study.

Also receiving segment awards are Acura TLBuick Encore (tie); Cadillac EscaladeChrysler Town & CountryFord Mustang (tie); GMC Sierra LD (tie);Hyundai Genesis SedanInfiniti FXMercedes-Benz GLK-ClassNissan Muranosmart fortwo; and Toyota Camry.

JDPower2013IntQuality

Top Three Models Per Segment: CUV, MPV, Van, Pickups

Top Three Models Per Segment: CUV, MPV, Van, Pickups

Top Three Models Per Segment:

Top Three Models Per Segment:

Plant Assembly Line Quality Awards
Toyota Motor Corporation’s Lafayette B Plant (SIA) in Indiana, which produces the Toyota Camry, receives the Platinum Plant Assembly Line Quality Award for producing models that yield the fewest defects or malfunctions. Plant awards are based solely on average levels of defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems.

Among plants in the Asia Pacific region, the Toyota Motor Corporation Yoshiwara, Japan, (TABC) plant, which produces the Lexus LX and Toyota Land Cruiser, receives a Gold Plant Assembly Line Quality Award.

In the Europe and Africa region, Audi AG receives a Gold Plant Assembly Line Quality Award for its Neckarsulm, Germany, plant, which produces the Audi A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8.

The 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2013.

The study is used by manufacturers worldwide to improve quality and by consumers to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. Throughout the years, initial quality has been shown to be a leading indicator of long-term durability, which directly impacts customer loyalty and purchase decisions.

JDPowerPlants

Thoughts on today’s auto sales reports from Edmunds.com

CHRYSLER

From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs: “The Jeep Liberty replacement, to be unveiled at the New York Auto Show next month, can’t hit the market soon enough. The winddown of the old Liberty hurt Jeep sales, which have led Chrysler’s revival. The freshened Compass saw a sales surge that bodes well for a revamped Liberty.”Other brands picked up Jeep’s slack with the small Dodge Dart gaining some traction; Dart had its best sales month since going on sale in last summer.”

FORD

From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs:
“Much hand-wringing has taken place over multiple and early recalls of the Ford Escape and Ford Fusion, but that doesn’t appear to matter to consumers who bought those models in big numbers. It suggests that Ford has built up a healthy amount of good will in the marketplace, causing consumers to overlook those stumbles.”

GENERAL MOTORS

From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs:

“The impressive sales performance of most vehicles in the Chevy line up help mask a significant issue: the all-new and high-volume Malibu’s sales were up a bit but nowhere near what they should be for a new model. The estimated True Cost of Incentives for Malibu averaged $3,200 per vehicle sold in January. Lease subsidies alone averaged over $4,000 per Malibu sold in January. By comparison, the Ford Fusion had blistering sales in January; they are selling as fast as Ford can make them.”

GENERAL MOTORS From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell: “GM’s January sales reflect impressive momentum, perhaps partly due to buzz about the company’s strong showing at the Detroit auto show. All four GM brands are posting year-over-year gains, and even the outgoing Corvette is up 44%. By the end of the day we’ll know if the automaker kept its market share above 20% which it achieved in December for the first time since the summer of 2011 (when the Japanese automakers’ inventory had taken a massive hit following the tsunami.)”

OVERALL TRUCK MARKET

From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs:
“As Edmunds.com has been predicting, pickup truck sales are gaining on the strength of an improving housing market and the unleashing of pent-up demand. Chrysler’s Ram pickups showed 14 percent rise; Ford’s F-Series sales were up about 22 percent; and GM’s two trucks – the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra which will be replaced this year – had a 32-percent rise in sales. These vehicles are the volume sales and profit generators for Detroit manufacturers, so this has tremendous significance for the auto industry and the economy overall.”

TOYOTA

From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell:

“It’s been three years since Toyota safety recalls seriously threatened its brand, but now sales are very strong and don’t look to be slowing. Incentives are low, the portfolio is rich with new product, and consumer consideration numbers are high for Toyota.”

VOLKSWAGEN

From Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell: “With all the hype about advanced drive vehicles, Volkswagen has quietly achieved a significant portion of its overall volume by selling diesels. The VW brand currently controls over 90% of the diesel passenger car market, which gives them a unique edge in comparison to other mainstream brands. Chevy, of course, is hoping to change this when it debuts the diesel Cruze next week at the Chicago Auto Show.”

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