Although General Motors signed on to a voluntary agreement to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature in almost all of its new vehicles by the 2023 model year, it has not met the goal and lags the rest of the industry, according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Just 73 percent of GM's light-duty vehicles were produced with automatic braking systems in the 2022 model year.
In 2016, GM and 19 automakers pledged to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on more than 95 percent of the light-duty vehicles they produce by the 2023 model year, according to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation and IIHS. Light-duty vehicles are those 8,500 pounds and under.
GM is well below its American-based counterparts, all of which have met the 95 percent goal.
The Detroit automaker is one of four reporting below 90 percent. The others are Jaguar Land Rover, 75 percent; Maserati, 71 percent; and Porsche, 70 percent.
GM's low percentage was a result of previous packaging decisions that it's working to update, spokesman Stuart Fowle told Automotive News.
GM plans to surpass the goal in the 2023 model year, with hardware changes allowing production to rise to 98 percent of light-duty vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems, Fowle said. The safety package also will include automatic pedestrian detection braking and lane-keeping alerts, features beyond what was in the voluntary agreement, he said.
The four automakers' lagging progress highlights a problem with voluntary agreements to make automotive safety improvements, said Michael Brooks, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety: There are no penalties for falling short of goals.
When new safety technology develops, it's important to avoid waiting 10 or so years to get it into vehicles, Brooks said.
"It should be going out in the fleet much quicker, not as an option, not as something that consumers have to pay an exorbitant amount more for because that produces a lot of inequitable crash situations," Brooks said.
Joe Young, IIHS director of media relations, confirmed there are no consequences for failing to meet the commitment's targets. However, IIHS expects all automakers to reach the 95 percent goal, Young said, adding the remaining automakers are working hard to get there.
The latest automakers to fulfill the pledge are Nissan, Stellantis and Mitsubishi. Stellantis made a substantial jump in its latest report, climbing from 43 percent of its vehicles with automatic braking systems in 2021 to 96 percent this year.
Audi, BMW, Ford, Hyundai, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo have also met the requirement.
Kia, at 94 percent, and Honda, at 93 percent, fell just below 2022 fulfillment. Honda exceeded the requirement last year, with 96 percent, but dipped this production year because of supply chain issues, IIHS said.
The voluntary agreement also includes vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 8,501 to 10,000 pounds, but automakers have until the 2025 model year to equip 95 percent of those with automatic braking systems, according to IIHS.
To comply with IIHS and NHTSA performance standards, the automatic braking system has to meet NHTSA's 5-star safety ratings program requirements and earn an advanced rating on the vehicle-to-vehicle front-crash prevention evaluation. That rating requires the automatic braking system to slow the vehicle by at least 10 mph in either the 12- or 25-mph test or 5 mph in both of the tests.
IIHS is reevaluating the vehicle-to-vehicle front-crash prevention test and is adding a nighttime test of automatic braking to protect pedestrians. Previous tests have shown the systems underperform in the dark, which is when most collisions with pedestrians occur.