Nissan goes standard on automated braking
NASHVILLE -- Nissan Motor Co. is moving ahead of oncoming federal regulations to make advanced automated braking technology a standard feature on most of the vehicles it sells in the U.S.
The company estimates that the radar-based system will be equipped on more than 1 million Nissan-brand vehicles for the 2018 model year. That would represent about two-thirds of all the light vehicles Nissan sells in the U.S., four years ahead of new federal safety rules.
The Automatic Emergency Braking technology -- formerly marketed by Nissan as Forward Emergency Braking and now offered only as an option in higher-grade trim packages -- will be on about 450,000 Nissan vehicles for the 2017 model year, the automaker estimates.
The company said Thursday that the feature will be standard on the 2018 Altima, Maxima, Murano, Pathfinder, Rogue, Rogue Sport and Sentra, except for models equipped with manual transmissions or NISMO-trim packages.
Michael Bunce, Nissan North America's vice president of product planning, said the move will accelerate consumer acceptance of the active safety technology, which detects stopped traffic or other obstacles and halts a vehicle without driver involvement.
"The technology is becoming more accepted in the market," Bunce told Automotive News. "We've begun to see in our market research that this system is resonating with consumers. Once they have it and experience it activating just one time, they can't live without it."
Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reached a voluntary agreement with 20 vehicle manufacturers to standardize automatic braking by 2022.
Nissan introduced an early version of automated braking in the U.S. in an Infiniti model, the 2005 Q45. The Nissan brand introduced it on the 2015 Murano.
Nissan sources the braking technology from two global suppliers -- Robert Bosch and Continental AG. In recent weeks as part of a mid-model-year change, Nissan made an early move to introduce the braking feature as standard equipment on the 2017 Rogue and Maxima.
"The safety data from NHTSA is that automated braking can reduce injuries by as much as 35 percent," Bunce said. "That's something we want to embrace as part of our stated commitment to reach zero fatalities."
Bunce said it is difficult to quantify the value of making the technology a standard component, but until now, the higher priced trim levels with the relevant tech packages cost between $7,000 and $10,000 more than the base models without the technology.
He said that the rest of Nissan's product line will receive the standard safety feature in the next few years, depending on individual vehicles' schedule for product changes.
"We're starting with the high-volume vehicles of our portfolio, but we're not stopping with those," he said. "We will continue to roll it out until we have it on 100 percent of our models."
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.