ARLINGTON, Va. — Four carmakers equipped virtually all the light vehicles they produced for the U.S. market between Sept. 1, 2018, and Aug. 31, 2019, with automatic emergency braking (AEB), three years ahead of a 2022 target.
Audi and Volvo joined Mercedes-Benz and Tesla, which hit the target last year, in outfitting all their light passenger vehicles with the crash avoidance technology, according to manufacturer reports. In total, several million more vehicles were produced with AEB, compared with the previous year.
The reports are submitted annually as part of a voluntary commitment by 20 manufacturers to equip all but the heaviest passenger vehicles with the crash avoidance technology by Sept. 1, 2022. The commitment was brokered in 2015 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“The idea of this voluntary commitment was to get this important safety breakthrough into vehicles as fast as possible, so it’s encouraging that some automakers are beating the deadline,” says David Zuby, chief research officer at IIHS.
Seven more manufacturers — Toyota, Volkswagen, BMW, Nissan, Honda, Subaru and Mazda — equipped more than 8 out of 10 new vehicles with AEB in 2019.
Hyundai and Ford made the largest improvements, from 18 to 78 percent and 6 to 65 percent, respectively. BMW, Kia, Maserati, Porsche and Subaru also reported rapid progress.
Despite the overall progress, several automakers are lagging far behind. Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover and Mitsubishi equipped fewer than 1 in 3 vehicles they produced with AEB.
“While some manufacturers have already met the target and most others have really stepped up their efforts, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Jaguar Land Rover are letting their customers down,” says David Friedman, vice president of advocacy at Consumer Reports. “If these automakers continue to lag behind, it will signal the need for mandatory standards to ensure that every new car buyer is able to get this life-saving technology.”
The data reported by automakers shows that more than 9 million vehicles were equipped with AEB during this reporting period. That’s about 30 percent more than the previous year. Data gathered by Consumer Reports indicates that many automakers are on track to do even better next year as they expand the number of models with AEB as standard equipment. Equipping AEB as a standard feature guarantees that it will be included on all vehicles.
Notably, IIHS testing shows that many AEB systems that are available as standard equipment earn a superior rating, although an advanced rating is sufficient to meet the performance requirements of the commitment. Many systems also include pedestrian detection, though it isn’t part of the commitment.
The 2022 target date applies to light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less.
Carmakers also committed to installing AEB on vehicles in the 8,501-10,000-pound range by September 2025. However, of the five automakers that reported producing vehicles in that range for the U.S. market, only Ford and Fiat Chrysler reported equipping any of these vehicles with AEB this year.
IIHS estimates that the commitment will prevent 42,000 crashes and 20,000 injuries by 2025. Front crash prevention systems with both forward collision warning and automatic braking reduce rear-end crashes by half, IIHS research indicates.
For the full release and a chart showing the percent of vehicles produced September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2019 with AEB as reported by auto manufacturers, plus the percent of 2020 models with standard AEB as compiled by Consumer Reports, please click here.