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Next Generation Vehicles Will Have More Safety Features

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On: Tue, Sep 14, 2010 at 12:28PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Next Generation Vehicles Will Have More Safety Features

In the automotive industry, newer high-tech safety features have historically been reserved for high-end luxury cars, due to the increased cost of research and development of new technology. But all of that is about to change, according to Continental AG, the world’s biggest powertrain, chassis, and interior systems supplier. Continental is predicting a significant influx of high-tech safety features, even in mid-range priced vehicles, in the next 3–5 years.

Continental has disclosed that the supplier has contracts with over 50 U.S., Korean, and Japanese automakers which will result in the use of high tech-safety equipment such as cameras, blind spot detection, and other technology that prevents collisions.

Continental is predicting that within 5 years, 50% of cars priced under $35,000, and 20% of vehicles with a sticker price as low as $15,000, will have at least one new high- tech crash prevention feature.

An increase in demand for the new safety technology products has translated to lower pricing, making the newer safety technology much more affordable for use in less expensive vehicles.

"We will be moving from premium to affordable with safety technology," Ralf Cramer, the Continental board member responsible for chassis and safety, said. "There are huge opportunities for growth in small-size vehicles. Our task is to reduce the add-on price to a minimum and bring advanced safety features down to an affordable level."

Continental is expanding its business rapidly with the Detroit 3 as well as Japanese and South Korean automakers selling in the United States.
Detroit automakers are spending heavily on advanced technology in order to create an edge in the competitive market place in the U.S. The target date for the biggest demand of automobiles in all price ranges with newer safety features is 2013.

"After bankruptcy we have seen an increased interest in technology for pure differentiation," said Samir Salman, CEO of Continental's NAFTA region. "After going through bankruptcy, they know they need to differentiate themselves if they want to be around in five, 10, or 15 years."
According to Continental’s executives, the most popular of the newer safety features that are requested in the U.S. are the blind spot detection feature and forward collision warning.

U.S. automakers have started to plan for the installation of lane departure systems on vehicles and other safety packages for automobiles priced less than $35,000.
"The volumes will come very quickly from the American companies," Cramer said. "It starts with 5,000 units per model of a certain car, all the way to 60,000 units per model."

Continental's automotive group generated revenues of $14.8 billion last year.


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