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ESP anti-skid tech to become mandatory

Date: 26 March 2008   |   Author: Tom Webster

The European Commission has given the clearest indication yet that anti-skid technology will be compulsory on new cars from 2012.

David Ward, the director general of the FIA Foundation, stated at the recent Fleet Research conference that he anticipates the EC "will mandate the fitment of ESP (anti-skid tech) for new cars sold within the European Union from 2012 onwards".

Further details of the plans are expected following discussions on the matter in the European Commission this summer.

However, the implication is that the legislation will be phased in, with all new models to be fitted with the technology initially. This would then extend to all production cars thereafter. Currently, manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi offer anti-skid as standard across the range, but Ford and Vauxhall only offer it on selected models.

RV expert Mark Jowsey at Emmox Carcost, said: "In the corporate sector a very high percentage of cars either have ESP (or equivalent) standard or available as an option. 68% already have ESP standard and another 22% have this available as a factory fitted option. In reality whilst many fleets are now choosing to specify ESP as requirement, mainly as part of duty of care initiatives, the growth in availability is primarily down to the manufacturers rather than being driven by customer demand.

"The move to mandatory fitment is unlikely to have any significant impact on the residual value of those cars that do not have this fitted, as we approach the 2012 deadline. The majority of these cars are already small entry-level products and many of the potential buyers of these - as used cars - will not be influenced by ESP."

Anti-skid control has also been said to have a direct positive impact on a fleet's finances, by avoiding accident costs. ACFO research has shown these costs account for 13% of a fleet's total ownership cost.

Despite these benefits, results of research run by Bosch shows that while 66% of fleet decision makers claim to have heard of ESP, only 31% could describe the physical safety advantages.

"In 2007, 56% of new car sales were funded by the corporate sector, so in making their fleet choices, fleet managers need to be aware of vehicle safety technologies," said Julie Jenner, chairman of ACFO.