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Study: U.S. Consumers Put More Importance in Auto Safety Items

American consumers are
finding safety systems -- such as smart airbags, vehicle stability control and anti-rollover systems -- to be more important than they were five years ago,
according to a consumer research study conducted nationwide last week for TRW
Automotive Inc., a global leader in automotive safety systems.

Preliminary results of the study, conducted the week of July 28, 2003 by The Dohring Company, North America's largest provider of custom market research to the retail automotive community, include:

  • 74 percent of respondents said vehicle safety features and options are more important to them than they were five years ago.

  • 80 percent of respondents said the automakers are doing a good job developing and making available vehicle safety features today.

  • Almost 47 percent of respondents said they were only somewhat or not at all satisfied with the way the dealer sales representatives educate the consumer on the proper use of vehicle safety systems.

Early analysis of the findings of the TRW Automotive consumer study also indicated that:

  • Almost 73 percent of respondents said they felt only somewhat informed or not at all informed about how vehicle stability control systems work, yet more than 58 percent said that the availability of stability control systems would be important or very important for their next vehicle purchase.

  • More than 76 percent of respondents said the availability of an active seat belt retractor -- such as that used in the Mercedes Benz PreSafe system -- would be important or very important in their next vehicle purchase decision, while 84 percent see advanced occupant sensing/smart air bag systems
    as important or very important.

  • 76 percent see future enhanced vehicle control systems that integrate electronics, braking, steering and suspension as important or very important, while almost 63 percent see anti-rollover/active roll stability systems as important or very important in their next vehicle purchase consideration.

  • Almost 57 percent thought future driver assist or lane guard systems that help prevent inadvertent lane departure would be important or very important in their next vehicle purchase decision.

  • Side impact/rollover canopy airbag technology was selected by more respondents than any other system as the safety option consumers would be willing to pay extra for, with 42 percent of respondents.

(SOURCE: TRW Automotive)