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UK fleets still under valuing ESP

25 March 2008

When selecting a fleet vehicle, corporate fleet decision makers cite vehicle reliability (94 per cent), safety (89 per cent) and duty of care (87 per cent) to be their three most important criteria. This is shown by the latest research published recently by Driving for Better Business partner, Bosch.

When it comes to actually managing fleets, these safety concerns do not always readily translate into initiatives to improve the work-relating driving safety of associates: two thirds of the fleet managing companies state to have taken actions to improve road safety. The requirement for vehicles to be fitted with certain safety equipment are part of a road safety prevention plan for less than 50 per cent of respondents.

Today’s vehicle safety technologies, in particular crash avoidance technologies open up new dimensions in driving safety. The Electronic Stability Programme (ESP®) is a key technology in this respect and has been heralded as the biggest live-saver since the introduction of the seat belt. ESP® is always alert and becomes active when vehicle skidding is imminent. It detects the risk of a skid at an early stage even before the driver and uses the vehicle’s brakes to steer the vehicle safely back on track. Twenty five times a second it compares whether the driver’s steering intention corresponds to the actual direction in which the vehicle is travelling. If the vehicle moves in a different direction and starts to slide out of control, ESP® intervenes instantly by braking the relevant wheel. This selective braking intervention generates the desired counteracting force, so that the vehicle reacts as the driver intends. A study investigating the effectiveness of ESP® on British roads by the Department for Transport published in June 2007 concluded that vehicles equipped with Electronic stability control are 25 per cent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than those without it. That equates to 380 fatal accidents and the reduction of 7,800 injuries a year.

66 per cent of fleet decision makers confirmed to have heard of ESP® though only 31 per cent could describe its safety benefits. “In 2007, 56 per cent 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,” states ACFO Chairman Julie Jenner. Only 19 per cent of survey respondents currently mandate ESP® as part of their company vehicle policy.

The on-line research was received from 215 fleet decision makers who collectively manage over 77,000 vehicles. The research was supported by ACFO, RoadSafe and eSafetyAware! who launched the pan-European ChooseESC! campaign in 2007.

Welcoming the research findings, David Ward, Director General FIA Foundation and President of eSafety Aware! and the ChooseESC! campaign states: “I would urge all fleet operators to take this simple step: if you are thinking of renewing your fleet make sure it has ESP® on board!

It is of paramount importance says David Fulker, head of UK marketing for Bosch Chassis Systems Control, for fleet operators to estimate the total cost of ownership for the running time of their fleet ands to optimise its cost. The benefits of ESP in avoiding accidents has a direct impact on reducing a company’s accident costs – which according to one industry source accounts for 13 per cent of a fleet’s total cost of ownership. ESP® can, according to Bosch, contribute to reducing depreciation. With contract hire agreements running for a time period of up to five years, a new car purchased today with ESP® on board will help in the remarketing of the vehicle following the end of the hire agreement. The European Commission has announced its intention to mandate the fitment of ESP® for new cars sold within the European Union from September 2011 onwards.

For further press information please contact Chris Wakley or David Eden at Automotive PR on 020 7494 8050

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is the world’s largest provider of automotive technology to all leading vehicle and component manufacturers.

In 2006, the company generated automotive sales of €27.2 billion and employs approximately 161,000 people in this sector.The key business areas include: fuel injection technology (diesel & petrol); systems for active and passive vehicle safety (brakes, ABS, traction control, ESP, control units for restraint systems); electrical motors, rotating electrics and products for car multimedia.

Additional information can be accessed at www.bosch.com and www.bosch.co.uk