Confusion reigns over the meaning of ESC, writes Neil McDonald
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.