Major car makers agree to make automatic braking standard in U.S

Mon Sep 14, 2015 5:53am EDT
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(This version of the story corrects company name to Volvo Car Group from Volvo AB in third paragraph)

By David Morgan

RUCKERSVILLE, Va. (Reuters) - A group of major automakers accounting for more than half of U.S. auto sales will make automatic emergency braking standard on new U.S. vehicles in one of the industry's biggest auto safety moves since it embraced technology to prevent rollovers more than a decade ago.

The car makers, which accounted for 57 percent of car and light truck sales in the United States last year, said Friday they will work with regulators and the insurance industry to roll out collision avoiding braking technology across their lineups over the next few years.

The automakers are Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) and its luxury car division Audi, BMW, Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co, Mazda Motor Corp, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, Tesla Motors Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and Volvo Car Group.

"We are entering a new era of vehicle safety, focused on preventing crashes from ever occurring," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement Friday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is overseeing the effort, said the collaborative agreement took shape over the last two weeks and that other car and truck manufacturers are still considering joining.

Analysts say it could still take years for automakers to redesign the electrical and braking systems of their cars to install autonomous braking. Among the automotive technology suppliers that could benefit are Continental AG, Robert Bosch GmbH [ROBG.UL], Delphi Automotive Plc, Denso Corp and Autoliv Inc.

The agreement echoes earlier voluntary moves by big automakers. In the late 1980s, Chrysler began installing airbags in all its vehicles. In the 2000s, GM, Ford and others agreed to make anti-rollover technology standard on most sport utility vehicles. Stability control is now mandatory on light vehicles.   Continued...

A group of Chevrolet Camaro cars for sale is pictured at a car dealership in Los Angeles, California April 1, 2014.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni