Ford becomes the first manufacturer in Ireland to standardise Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) in the compact family class
Cork, 29 April, 2008 – Ford of Ireland chief Eddie Murphy has called on legislators to make Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) mandatory on cars across Europe. The call came at an event at Mondello Park today to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology on the new Ford Focus.
Saying that ESP could prevent as many as 4,000 road fatalities every year in Europe, Murphy said he looked forward to the technology being viewed as a must-have item on the customer’s shopping list. However, he conceded that it is a brave commercial decision for a carmaker to standardise it in this class: “The price-conscious marketplace makes it hard for a manufacturer to step out of line in this way. That VRT is levied on the technology makes it all the more difficult. We’ve done it here, and I’m confident it will pay off.
“From the carmakers’ perspective, I’d say to legislators; ‘take this decision out of our hands! Make the technology mandatory. Raise the safety bar across the industry’.”
Speaking at the event, Jacob Bangsgaard, Secretary-General of the ChooseESC! (Electronic Stability Control) campaign, commented: “It is unacceptable that so many people get killed on the roads and so many serious accidents take place when we have a proven technology available on the market that can save many of these lives and can avoid hundred thousands of accidents each year.
“We need to inform consumers that they should always choose a car which is ESC equipped. Hopefully one day all cars will be equipped with this technology as standard, but for this we need full cooperation from car manufacturers and authorities. The step taken by Ford in this respect is extremely important, and will hopefully be followed by those manufacturers who have not yet equipped their cars with ESC.”
Bangsgaard cited Denmark as a country which has brought about a high proliferation of ESP through Exchequer incentives. “In common with Ireland, Denmark has high VRT rates. However, ESC is effectively made available free of charge on all cars. The result is that Denmark has the installation rate of new cars for ESC in the world, at close to 100%. We hope other countries, like Ireland, will follow this model. The societal benefits far outweigh the costs of the system.”
The ChooseESC! campaign is supported by Euro NCAP and the European Commission.
Fewer than half of cars produced in Europe last year were equipped with ESP, and it has been the preserve of high-end luxury marques in Ireland. While the US has mandated that all new cars must have ESP by 2011, such a mandate is still under discussion within the EU.
At least 40% of fatal road accidents are the result of skidding. Studies show that Electronic Stability Programme could reduce skidding accidents by up to 80%. ESP detects a deviation of the vehicle's motion from the driver's intended path, and brakes one or more wheels to get the vehicle back on its desired path. It is now standard on the Ford Focus, C-MAX, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.
Ford is the first manufacturer to standardise ESP in the compact family class in Ireland.