Continental Teves Inc. and Robert Bosch Corp. are working together to educate drivers on automotive safety technologies.
``I believe it's in the vital self-interest of every company represented here today to expand this initiative into an industrywide commitment,'' said William Kozyra, president and CEO of Continental Teves, the brake-making unit of Continental A.G.
Continental and Bosch each are donating $1 million in ``seed money'' to establish a new public education program aimed at informing not only consumers, but also the parts makers' ``own people'' of the systems' availability, simplicity and benefit.
The two companies made the announcement during the 2002 Automotive Management Briefing Seminars, held Aug. 5-9 in Traverse City, Mich.
``It's a unique opportunity for us to come together for the benefit of society as well as our own image, educating our own people and the public about these critical current and emerging safety technologies,'' Mr. Kozyra said. If the automotive industry does not take the opportunity to educate society on the benefits of the new safety technologies, it could find itself under more criticism and pressure from all fronts, he added.
``We are on the threshold of a true revolution in safety technology, but it all means nothing at the end of the road if the consumer doesn't understand, accept and adopt its value,'' Mr. Kozyra said.
The millions of dollars companies invest in new safety technologies are wasted if consumers don't clamor for them, he said.
Because auto makers market the technologies under various proprietary names, not many consumers are aware of passive and active advancements in both crash protection and crash avoidance such as Continental Teves' anti-lock brakes, vehicle stability control and chassis mechanical control systems, Mr. Kozyra said.
Conti's electronic vehicle stability braking technology-dubbed Electronic Stability Program, or ESP, by the manufacturer-goes by several different names, depending on the customer. It's either ESP, Dynamic Stability Control, AdvanceTrac, Stability Management System or Vehicle Skid Control. As a first step, the alliance will urge auto makers to agree on common language for safety systems to hasten consumer understanding and acceptance of them.
``The challenge, again, is to make the public aware of these possibilities and then, of course, to get them to buy them, demand them,'' Mr. Kozyra said.