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Retailers to help explain life saving ESP systems

In January Robert Bosch will launch ESPerience, a training programme for UK car dealership sales staff, to try to raise awareness of its Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

ESPerience, combining tuition and driving experience, will be available to automotive retailers and private motorists at eight British motoring racing circuits. Jonathan Palmer’s MotorSport Vision will offer it at five tracks.

Only 1% of British drivers know ESP is an active safety system, according to a Bosch survey. This may be why only 20% of UK new cars have it, compared with 55% in Germany and a European average of 29% of new vehicles.

Bosch has signed up to the EU road safety charter, a commitment to halve Europe’s annual 50,000 road deaths by 2010. ESPerience demonstrates how Bosch’s system (taking about half of European sales) and those of its rivals can help to cut the toll.

David Fulker, chassis systems marketing manager, Robert Bosch Great Britain, says: “ABS is fitted to most new cars sold in the EU, and is well understood. ESP is more complex – it can slow a single road wheel to regain stability – and we need to get the message across because new systems are coming.

“We want dealer staff to experience ESP’s life-saving capability, understand it and then encourage more people to choose it as an option,” adds Fulker.

“We hope manufacturers will incorporate our ESPerience system into their own training schedules and allow us to talk direct to some of the leading multi-franchise dealer groups.”

Bosch insists its objective is purely educational, rather than about making money from the courses. It will, though, hope more vehicle manufacturers will be dissuaded from buying rival ESP systems.

Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi fit ESP as standard across their model ranges and Toyota has recently made a major commitment to it. Bosch expects all new cars sold in the EU to have ESP systems by some time between 2009 and 2014.

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