ESP Standard For New Holden VE & WM Sedans


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21st June, 2006

The next generation of Australia ’s best selling car, the Holden Commodore, will be the first locally built range with the acclaimed safety technology Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) as standard.

Holden says the Australian safety first was considered a crucial feature for the all-new Commodore, due for release in the third quarter of 2006.

Holden will also make ESP standard on its upcoming Statesman and Caprice flagship cars and the all-new South Korean built Captiva sport utility vehicle.

ESP technology has been hailed as one of the most significant safety advances since seatbelts were made compulsory in the early 1970s.

State Transport Ministers, State Coroners and motoring organisations have been among advocates for local manufacturers to make ESP more available to Australian car buyers.

GM Holden Chairman and Managing Director, Denny Mooney said: “Holden is leading the Australian automotive safety agenda by offering the first locally built car range with ESP as standard. More importantly, we have chosen Australia ’s best selling car range for the past decade to deliver our most comprehensive safety package. The decision to make ESP standard in the all-new Commodore was easy because it’s the right thing to do for our buyers. ESP is all about assisting crash avoidance rather than minimising harm if crashes do occur. We hope this will create the momentum which governments and road bodies have sought to push ESP further into the mainstream.”

ESP is widely acclaimed because it helps drivers to avoid crashes where emergency action has been taken, rather than focussing on minimising harm if they do crash. International studies have suggested that ESP can prevent more than 30 per cent of single vehicle accidents.

ESP greatly improves vehicle safety performance in situations where the driver takes emergency action to avoid a collision. It does this by electronically correcting vehicle paths through individually applying brakes to each wheel and managing engine torque.

The system operates so smoothly that in most situations the driver will not be aware it has been activated.

“Making ESP standard meets growing demand for its availability and Holden’s continued leadership in active and passive safety technology,” Mr Mooney said.

“We have not witnessed such vocal support for new automotive technology as we have for ESP. The call is coming from all parts of society including police, safety experts and coroners. Holden was the first local carmaker to fit seat belts, first to offer anti-lock braking, first to offer driver and passenger airbags and now first to make ESP standard on an entire local range.”

Holden safety expert Dr Laurie Sparke, who worked with Monash University Accident Research Centre to develop the award winning Holden airbag system, said ESP was a significant crash avoidance technology.

“The introduction of seat belts in 1966, frontal airbags in 1993 and then side airbags in 1998 has provided the Australian community with world leading protection,” Dr Sparke said.

“Electronic Stability Programme, as fitted to the new VE Commodore range and WM Statesman and Caprice, will assist the driver in maintaining vehicle control in emergency situations. Although most drivers are skilled and cautious, they can still be caught out by unexpected situations. The majority of crashes result not from reckless driving, but from driver error. Analysis by Monash University Accident Research Centre suggests that drivers will be able to avoid over 20 per cent of serious crashes, and as many as 50 per cent of serious crashes on wet surfaces with ESP. ESP is a safety technology that will benefit even the most experienced, skilful drivers.”

Holden’s ESP system was developed in conjunction with the local operations of Robert Bosch GmbH, which first supplied ESP to automotive manufacturers in 1995.

Holden was the first local manufacturer to offer ESP with a locally built sedan when it was specified as standard in 2004 on VZ Commodore Acclaim and V6 variants of Calais , Statesman and Caprice.

The technology was made standard on the VZ series Adventra all-wheel-drive wagon launched in early 2005. It is also standard on Vectra CDXi and new Astra CDTi turbo diesel and SRi turbo models.

ESP: What experts have said

"This technology is critical to further reducing the road toll. It will reduce not only the fatalities but also serious injuries and even collisions. We're behind the times. The problem is that until such time as demand increases significantly, there will obviously be a slow take-up of the technology."

Victorian State Coroner Graeme Johnstone
(Sunday Age,
29th January 2006 )

"We've introduced seatbelts and we've introduced random breath testing. And electronic stability control has the potential to be just as important for road safety as these two initiatives - if not more so."

Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads, The Hon. Paul Lucas
(Press release, 2nd June 2006 )

"Consumers should vote with their feet. We are talking about (saving) 50 lives a year."

TAC road safety manager David Healy
( Sunday Herald Sun, 1st January 2006)

"With research showing that this technology can dramatically reduce the chance of being involved in a crash in the first place, it's a life-saving technology well worth consideration."

RAA technical manager Mark Borlace
( Adelaide Advertiser, 8th April 2006 )

"To call it a golden bullet is not too strong a term."

RACV chief vehicle engineer Michael Case
(Sunday Herald-Sun,
1st January 2006 )

“A very high proportion of our single vehicle crashes could have been prevented if they had been fitted with electronic stability control. I think it's far and away the most important development in vehicle safety in 30-40 years."

Adelaide University Professor Jack McLean, Centre of Automotive Safety Research
( Adelaide Advertiser, 14th January 2006)

Holden safety: Decades of industry leadership

Holden has a safety pedigree back to its decision in 1966 to be the first Australian manufacturer to fit seat belts on all models. Three years later, Holden opened Australia’s first automotive safety testing laboratory to support its work.

Recent safety firsts for an Australian automotive manufacturer from Holden have included –

1990 – first to fit Independent Rear Suspension to a large car

1992 – first to introduce anti-lock braking

1992 – Australia ’s first national field accident research programme in partnership with Monash

University Accident Research Centre

1993 – first to fit driver airbag system

1995 – first to fit passenger airbag system

1997 – first to offer traction control

1998 – first to fit side impact airbags

2000 – first family car range to provide anti-lock braking as standard

2004 – Electronic Stability Programme offered for first time on locally built sedan

2006 – ESP standard on all locally built new generation sedans

Other Holden news: here.

Other General Motors news: here.

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