Within five years, expect to see electronic stability control on up to half of all new vehicles sold in North America, says Continental Teves AG, a top brake-system producer.
“In Europe, we already have an installation rate of about 25%,” says Wolfgang Ziebart, Continental Teves chairman. Market penetration soared following the infamous “moose test,” in which the Mercedes A-Class flipped too easily.
North America's sport/utility vehicle (SUV) rollover debate will fuel similar market reaction, he predicts. “The main reason for such a type of accident is not that the tire fails. The main reason is the driver simply loses control.”
Continental Teves, a unit of Continental AG, is supplying electronic stability control for Ford Motor Co.'s '02 Explorer. Marketed as AdvanceTrac and built in Morganton, NC, the module facilitates ABS, electronic brake-force distribution and traction control. Such integration, Mr. Ziebart says, is the way of the future.
“Currently, the main purpose of (ESC) is to stabilize the car against yaw. But in the future, stabilizing the car against rollover will become equally important. And that's one of the major directions where our development, mainly the software development, goes.”
With the company's recent acquisition of Temic from DaimlerChrysler AG, future chassis designs will feature similar integration. Despite a “dissatisfying” first quarter, Mr. Ziebart says Continental Teves is positioned for growth because of an imminent announcement regarding corner module production in the Detroit area.