AEB is a safety technology that works by monitoring the road ahead using sensor and camera technology, automatically braking the car to avoid a collision with another car or a pedestrian, if the driver doesn’t respond to the situation.
Research has shown that AEB can reduce low-speed crashes by up to 40%.
Peter Shaw, Thatcham’s chief executive, said: “It is right to acknowledge the achievements of carmakers in providing us with safe cars that offer excellent protection in the event of a crash, with eight of the Top 10 best-sellers having Euro NCAP five-star ratings.
However, preventing the crash from happening in the first place now must be the focus and that starts with having AEB as standard.
Prioritising fitment to the best-sellers will make the biggest contribution to reducing the number of crashes on our roads, as well as encouraging other carmakers to follow suit.”
The Mercedes C-Class, the 10th best-selling car in the first six months of 2016, has AEB as standard across its entire range, while the Volkswagen Golf and the Nissan Qashqai also have AEB fitted as standard on many of their variants (83% and 71% respectively) and as an option on most other trim levels.
However, AEB is less common in the two most popular car. The best-selling Ford Fiesta only offers the technology as an optional extra – and then in only just over half of the model range. Meanwhile, the Vauxhall Corsa – the UK’s second best-selling car – is not available with AEB at all.
“With combined sales of the Fiesta and Corsa totalling over 100,000 in the first six months of this year alone, there’s a great opportunity to provide standard fit crash prevention for the masses,” says Shaw.
Thatcham thinks that carmakers should take the opportunity of mid-life revisions and new generations to upgrade safety in these popular cars with a technology that could not only save lives, but also save motorists money, with lower insurance premiums.
“The new Fiesta is expected next year and gives Ford the opportunity to redress the balance by making AEB standard,” comments Shaw.
“And having already shown with the Astra that it recognises the value of the technology, Vauxhall should be targeting at least a similar level of fitment on all future versions of its other models.”
Thatcham wants all carmakers to embrace the very latest active safety technology, with Shaw adding: “Vehicle manufacturers could choose to publicly commit to making AEB standard by 2022 on all new cars sold in the UK. Twenty of the best-known car brands have already done exactly that in the United States and we’d welcome the same commitment in the UK.”
Car buyers who want to discover if their prospective purchase has AEB, either as standard fitment or as an option, can use Thatcham’s online fitment guide atwww.thatcham.org/aeb-fitment.
The UK’s most popular cars ranked by AEB safety
• Mercedes-Benz C-Class – AEB system name: Collision Prevention Assist Plus. Fitted as standard
• Volkswagen Golf – AEB system name: Front Assist Including City Emergency Braking. Fitted as standard to 83% of trim levels within model range. Not available as an optional extra.
• Nissan Qashqai– AEB System name: Forward Emergency Braking. Fitted as standard to 71% of trim levels within model range. Available as part of the optional Safety Shield safety pack for £495
• Ford Focus – AEB System name: Active City Stop. Fitted as standard to 37% of trim levels within model range. Available as a stand-alone option for £200
• Vauxhall Astra – AEB system name: Forward Collision Alert with Automatic City Emergency Braking. Fitted as standard to 34% of trim levels within model range. Available as part of the optional ‘Driving Assistance’ pack, priced £565-795
• MINI – AEB system name: Driving Assistant. Available as part of the optional Driving Assistant pack for £440
• VW Polo– AEB system name: City Emergency Braking. Available as part of the optional ACC pack for £395
• Ford Fiesta– AEB system name: Active City Stop. Available as a stand-alone option for £200