The all-new Volvo V40 will be given a lower insurance rating following extensive testing of the model's City Safety technology at the renowned industry research centre in Thatcham, Berkshire.
Thatcham's Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre, put Volvo's own version of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), known as City Safety, fitted as standard on the V40, through its rigorous testing procedure. It concluded the technology was so effective at preventing low speed accidents that it should therefore be taken into consideration when deciding the insurance group. Depending on model, the V40 range will now be given an insurance rating two to three groups lower under the new criteria.
Following the extensive testing, the Association of British Insurers, which has authorised Thatcham to undertake all AEB testing to validate the effectiveness of individual systems, has now introduced AEB into its group rating calculations. It is the first time this has happened so soon after a technology's emergence on the market and is a testament to the industry's confidence in the system's potential to significantly reduce accident damage and personal injury.
Volvo's City Safety low-speed collision avoidance system operates at speeds up to 31 mph on the V40 (currently 19mph on other Volvo models), keeps an eye on traffic in front and automatically brakes if the driver fails to react in time when the vehicle in front slows down or stops - or if the car is approaching a stationary vehicle too fast. The award-winning* technology was first fitted as standard to all Volvo XC60 models, when the model launched in 2008, in a world first. Following its success in reducing accidents and injury, Volvo took the decision to fit City Safety as standard to all subsequent new models reflecting the brand's commitment to developing the safest vehicles across its range.
Thatcham has highlighted AEB technology as the most significant new active safety innovation in the automotive industry today with the potential to dramatically cut the number and severity of accidents. Studies from the USA have already shown an overall crash frequency reduction of 27% in vehicles equipped with the system.
At a press briefing held in conjunction with Volvo Car UK at the Madejski Stadium in Reading, Volvo Car Corporation's director of governmental affairs Anders Eugensson comments: "Safety remains very much at the heart of Volvo's design and technology ethos and we are delighted that Thatcham has selected our V40 model equipped with City Safety which is our AEB feature.
"It is tremendous that our efforts are now reaping additional benefits for drivers: lower insurance ratings mean reduced premiums. Unlike our rivals, whose AEB technology is either an option or featured on models higher in the range, City Safety is standard on the V40 and, indeed, across most of the range and will be standard on all new and enhanced models. Our view is that you cannot put a price on safety and such technology should be incorporated on the entry level vehicle and not just the top-of-the-range versions or as costly options.
"Our commitment remains true to our heritage - Volvo was the first car manufacturer in the world to equip its cars with three point safety belts as a standard fitting in 1959, we expect all manufacturers to eventually follow our lead."
The test procedures have been proposed for use by Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program), and RCAR (Research Council for Automobile Repairs). Euro NCAP will include AEB in their assessments from 2014, which will help encourage vehicle manufacturers to fit AEB systems. The procedures have also been adopted by the UK Group Rating Panel for vehicles with AEB fitted as standard from trim level, as long as the system is passive (ie. is on with ignition cycle and can only be deactivated with three discrete actions of system control). Such vehicles will qualify for testing and subsequent reduction in their insurance group rating from October 2012.
Currently, only the V40 has been tested although the majority of Volvo models, with the exception of XC90, C30 and C70, fit AEB as standard. Volvo V40 has also received the top rating of five stars in the Euro NCAP collision test. The overall result is the best ever recorded by the institute.
*City Safety won several awards when it debuted on the XC60 four years ago, including the Technology category at the 'Fleet World Honours Award 2008' and the American ‘Traffic Safety Achievement Award' at the 2008 international traffic safety symposium in New York.
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