ESC Sales Information - Dealer Survey

UK dealers slip up with anti-skid technology

10 june 2008

choose esc campaign logo A dealer in southern England is one of Europe's leading advocates of life-saving ESC anti-skid technology. However, most of the rest do a woefully poor job in promoting the benefits of a safety feature that can cut deaths in collisions by 25 per cent, a survey for the AA has found.

A Renault dealership in Croydon stands out among 50 UK showrooms surveyed by the Eurotest consortium – rated ninth best dealer in Europe.

Overall, although a majority of UK dealers can explain to an acceptable level how ESC (Electronic Stability Control) works, making customers aware of the system while they walk round the showroom was rated very poor.

The readiness of UK salespeople to raise ESC as a safety feature and their ability to put it in the context of other car safety technology was rated poor.

"At the end of May, the EU committed to making ESC anti-skidding technology mandatory in new cars by 2012 – this puts pressure on UK and Europe's car dealers to get up to speed on this new safety feature," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"Meantime, the AA would like new car salesmen to be more proactive with explaining the benefits of ESC. With skidding causing 40 per cent of fatal accidents across Europe and ESC preventing up to 80 per cent of skidding incidents, motorists need this protection sooner rather than later."

The UK was not alone in its inability to bring the benefits of ESC to the attention of new car buyers, coming fourth in a league of 10 european countries visited by Eurotest's secret shoppers. Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovenia proved better in getting the message across, while Belgium, Holland, Spain, Austria, France and Italy performed worse than the UK.

Key findings

  • Only 36 per cent of all sales staff knew that ESC works in all weather conditions
  • One in five sales people failed to tell customers that ESC reduces the danger of skidding
  • Only 18 per cent of sales staff gave information on ESC without being asked
  • In terms of overall safety features, only one in seven salespeople focussed on safety as an important feature with the 'look' and price of cars mentioned more often.

Notes to Editors

The survey covered a total of 50 dealerships in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Similar surveys were conducted across nine other European countries. The survey was conducted by the Institute for Applied Marketing and Communication Research (IMK), was coordinated by the Eurotest consortium, of which the AA is a leading partner, and financed by the FIA Foundation.

The full report 'Pan-European Shopper Study Focusing on Quality of ESC Sales Information' will be available at on 10 June 2008.

ESC helps motorists avoid road accidents by minimising skidding. ESC kicks in when the driver loses control of the vehicle. It recognises the risk of skidding early and keeps the vehicle on track by selectively applying the brakes to the wheels. Skidding causes at least 40% of all fatal road accidents. EU studies have shown that ESC can prevent up to 80% of all accidents caused by skidding.

Read more about Electronic Stability Control »

The Choose ESC campaign, which is chaired by the FIA Foundation, has been calling for mandatory installation of ESC as part of the 'eSafetyAware!' public private partnership which promotes intelligent vehicle safety systems.

AA Public Affairs - the voice of UK motorists


10 June 2008