Havey­oulost con­trol?

Con­fu­sion reigns over the mean­ing of ESC, writes Neil McDon­ald

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Onroad -

CAR mak­ers are split on a stan­dard­ised name for one of mo­tor­ing’s most ad­vanced life-sav­ing tech­nolo­gies — elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

The Fed­eral Cham­ber of Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­tries be­lieves con­sumers are con­fused enough to war­rant a broad-rang­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram about what ESC is and what it does.

The Trans­port Ac­ci­dent Com­mis­sion has been run­ning an ad high­light­ing the mer­its of cur­tain airbags and ESC.

The TAC has been try­ing to lift aware­ness among car buy­ers through w e b s i t e s such a s howsafeisy­our­car.com.au.

With Vic­to­ria hav­ing com­pul­sory fit­ting of ESC to all pas­sen­ger cars from Jan­uary, the FCAI be­lieves now is the time to in­crease aware­ness among car buy­ers.

De­spite the TAC’s ef­forts, car mak­ers such as Honda be­lieve many con­sumers are con­fused by the dif­fer­ent acronyms used to de­scribe var­i­ous sys­tems.

FCAI spokesman James Good­win be­lieves it would be dif­fi­cult to man­date a sin­gle nam­ing strat­egy.

‘‘It comes down to mar­ket­ing,’’ he says. ‘‘All sys­tems are dif­fer­ent to some de­gree.’’

Good­win also be­lieves it would cost too much to stan­dard­ise the ter­mi­nol­ogy on im­ported cars sold here be­cause the vol­umes are small.

How­ever, a new global tech­ni­cal reg­u­la­tion states that from 2011 the de­vice will be known as elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol. Good­win says that by 2013, the date when it must be stan­dard on all lo­cal pas­sen­ger cars, Aus­tralia should be us­ing ESC as the term.

Car mak­ers use dif­fer­ent terms for the elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­gram in­vented by Bosch and co-de­vel­oped with Mercedes-Benz.

Subaru Aus­tralia spokesman David Row­ley says Subaru’s re­search shows a higher aware­ness among buy­ers of its elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem, called ve­hi­cle dy­namic con­trol. He backs look­ing at ed­u­ca­tion but not a name change.

‘‘Brands have in­vested a lot of in­tel­lec­tual time in cre­at­ing a point of dif­fer­ence,’’ he says.

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