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Volume carmakers “stalling” on standard-fit AEB

The UK’s highest-selling car brands have been accused of “stalling” on standard fitment of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as new research finds the technology is still mainly available as an optional extra.

Thatcham AEB testing

Thatcham says standard-fit AEB could save 1,100 lives in the UK over the next 10 years.

Out of the SMMT’s 10 leading car brands by sales volume, only Land Rover offers the technology as standard across all model ranges, according to latest Thatcham Research data.

Revealed as safety campaigners celebrate a decade since the 2008 Volvo XC60 became the first car on sale with standard-fit AEB, the research finds the only other top 10 carmakers to offer standard-fit AEB on more than half of their models are Toyota (53%) and Mercedes-Benz (88%). In contrast, the technology is only standard on 7% of Ford, 14% of Vauxhall, 14% of Kia and 16% of Audi cars available in UK showrooms today.

This is despite the technology having been labelled by Thatcham Research as “probably the most significant development in car safety since the seat belt” with the potential to save 1,100 lives and 122,860 casualties in the UK over the next 10 years if fitted as standard to all new models.

Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research said: “Volume carmakers should feel the greatest sense of responsibility. They sell the most popular vehicles in the UK and are the cars we are most likely to encounter on the road. A big opportunity to expose more drivers to the proven safety benefits of AEB continues to be missed.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.