Lexus and Toyota to offer lower cost forward crash prevention on more models
Forward crash prevention, called the Pre-Collision System by Lexus, is the most important new safety advance in the past decade. However, it only works if it installed on a vehicle. I have tested a number of Lexus automobiles this past year, including a $70,000 GH 450h and not a single one of them had Lexus’ optional Pre-Collision System (PCS). In order to push the technology out to dealer lots and into customer’s hands, Toyota and Lexus have repackaged PCS, lane departure alert (LDA), and automatic cruise control (ACC) along with radar cruise control into what it calls the Lexus Safety System+.
IIHS Top Safety Pick+
This new name is no coincidence. It is meant to sound like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ rating, which requires forward collision prevention. Lexus made the new packaged system official in a press release this weekend, but the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Toyota will do the same. The automaker plans to have the new generation of systems fully rolled out by 2017.
Optional Safety Vs. Standard
Presently, Lexus and Toyota offer all of these technologies as options, or as part of “Technology packages” that customers see on the “Build Your Own” section of the companies’ websites. The problem is that both Lexus and Toyota re primarily dealer stock sellers. In other words, most customers don’t order cars. They buy what local dealers have in stock, can get from surrounding dealers, or that are already in transit to dealerships. Choosing a model based on one’s specific wants is not really how it works, so adding in these safety features is not really possible. Buyers have to choose from what is available, and most cars don’t have the safety equipment.
Subaru System Also Rare
Toyota and Lexus are not the only ones with this issue. Subaru is widely praised as having the best forward crash prevention system of any manufacturer. Subaru’s EyeSight system was singled out by IIHS as being superior to many other systems. Subaru makes the most of its safety reputation and its “They Lived” commercials are quite touching. However, when I tested the new 2015 Subaru Outback my test vehicle did not have the system. It is always a red flag to me when a press car does not have a feature.