Bosch, a provider of ESP systems, is teaming up with manufacturers to train sales staff at franchise dealers to explain the safety benefits to customers.
The company points to independent research by vehicle manufacturers, academics and safety bodies that shows how using the systems can reduce accident rates.
A study by Volkswagen this year highlighted a 35% reduction in fatal accidents with ESP fitted, while research by DaimlerChrysler in 2002 found single-car accidents would be cut by 30%.
Toyota’s analysis of ESP in 2003 found ‘severe single-vehicle accidents’ would be cut by 50%. Research in North America has found that ESP can cut incidents where drivers lose control of vehicles by more than one-third, reduce single-vehicle accidents by up to 41% and fatal accidents by 56%.
One study showed that fitting it to sport utility vehicles would cut single-vehicle accidents by more than two thirds.
Bosch’s own market research shows that drivers in the UK are less aware of ESP systems than drivers in the rest of Europe, with just 1% spontaneously identifying ESP as an active safety system.
David Fulker, Bosch UK marketing manager for chassis systems, says: "Only 20% of new cars sold in the UK are currently fitted with ESP, which is not surprising given the lack of awareness. This is below the European average of 29% and well short of Germany at 55%."
The first stage of Bosch’s programme is being offered to the dealer networks of major vehicle manufacturers early next year.
Fulker added: "The systems generally cost about £400 as an option – perhaps as much as metallic paint – but the benefits are far greater and I think something used car buyers will be prepared to pay extra for at the back end."