Some Automakers Get the Jump on Automatic Braking

James R. Hood
James R. Hood

Ten automakers have taken the lead in installing automatic emergency braking (AEB) in nearly all the cars they produce for the U.S. market, well ahead of the 2022-23 deadline set for all manufacturers.

IIHS Photo

Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Tesla began installing the potential life-saver last year. This year, they are joined by BMW, Hyundai, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen.

“This voluntary effort is succeeding in getting an important crash prevention technology into vehicles quickly,” said David Harkey, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). “It’s great to see AEB become a mainstream safety feature that’s now standard equipment not just on luxury cars and SUVs, but on affordable models as well.”

Twenty manufacturers have pledged to equip at least 95 percent of their light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less with the crash avoidance technology by the production year beginning Sept. 1, 2022. The commitment was brokered in 2015 by IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Ford, Honda and Nissan put the technology on 9 out of 10 vehicles they produced in the last year. Kia equipped 75 percent of its vehicles with AEB over the past year, followed by Porsche at 55 percent.

Fiat Chrysler, General Motors, Jaguar Land Rover, Maserati and Mitsubishi equipped fewer than half of the units they produced in the last year with AEB that meets the performance requirements of the voluntary commitment.

“Many automakers have shown ingenuity and agility in making city-speed AEB standard. NHTSA should build on this progress by ensuring that by 2025 all new vehicles come standard with more advanced systems that can also detect pedestrians and work at highway speeds,” said David Friedman, vice president of advocacy for Consumer Reports. “The few automakers lagging far behind on their AEB commitment — and especially Fiat Chrysler — must lay out exactly how they’ll reach and surpass where the industry is today.”

Information gathered by Consumer Reports shows that more automakers are making city-speed AEB standard equipment on 100 percent of their models, guaranteeing that the technology will be included on all new vehicles. Six automakers are doing so in model year 2021, compared with just two automakers in model year 2020. This increase suggests a growing understanding by automakers that their customers expect AEB to come standard on any new vehicle they may buy.

James R. Hood

Jim is a publishing entrepreneur and journalist. He founded ConsumerAffairs in 1998 and earlier was the founder of Zapnews, after holding executive posts at the Associated Press.