Coffee Break

Style Over Safety: Should Car Manufactures Be More Responsible?

When you are choosing a new car, do you go for the style of the car or the safety of the car? It seems that in recent years, research suggests that the population is choosing style features over safety features when it comes to buying a new car. But at the same time, new car buyers (around four out of five), tend to not want to have to pay for extra safety features. Should they come as standard? If new research is anything to go by, then over nine million people that were questioned (just over 80% of the study), said that they don’t consider it an optional extra at all. Certain safety features shouldn’t be add-ons. So it can be easy to see why more and more people are not choosing any extra safety add on features. But are just having manual brakes enough?


Of course, the desired thing for any driver is to not crash at all. But accidents, unfortunately, do happen. You can look at back injury settlements and car accident settlement amounts just to show that point. Accidents are happening, yet the majority aren’t prepared to pay for extra safety features in cars. Automatic emergency braking has been shown to be the most popular ‘additional feature’ for new car buyers. Even so, less than twenty percent of drivers choose it. So it isn’t even a high number even then. It would be an interesting thing to see if more cars were fitted with it as standard, would the number of car crashes reduce? At the moment, it obviously doesn’t seem ‘important’ enough to the majority of drivers. So for now, it is down to making sure that our driving skills and reactions are up to scratch.

Why are more of us concerned about upgrading for add-ons like a satellite navigation system or a digital radio? Do we trust our own driving enough that we don’t think we should bother with the additional safety features? More people choose heated seats than an automatic emergency braking feature; over three times more people! Recent research has also shown that more people choose alloy wheels than any additional safety features, which does sound quite shocking. But then, come to think of it, does your car have any current additional features?

I think that a lot of it could be down to people buying cars second-hand. You can’t get the optional extras unless you are buying the car from new. And if someone is just buying the car to then sell onto other people, then why would they bother with the extra features? It does seem that they need to add the features in as part of the manufacturing process. If added safety features are just included in the price, it will mean that they will be there for the whole time, rather than just for the first person to buy the car to choose.


One other thing that could be the reason why is that there seems to be such a need to change consumer mindset about negotiating the price of the additional features when they prove they are interested in it. But there does need to be a shift in the dealer’s mindset too. In my opinion, the manufacturers of the car need to invest some money into the training up of their staff to achieve this change of mindset. It needs to be emphasized about the safety aspects of the car, not the cost (if they aren’t going to included as standard, of course).

Dealers need to have a much deeper knowledge of the safety systems of the vehicles they are selling. Fuel efficiency and maximum speed can all be very well. But really, we want to be thinking about how safe the car is overall. Unfortunately, though, the process of selling a car is much longer when they need additional features. So many dealers just want to sell their cars on as they are on the forecourt. To a certain extent, manufacturers and dealers do need to be held accountable for this kind of thing. It shouldn’t be a case of pushing an order through quickly. But it should be more about putting a safer car onto the road.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think that safety features should come as standard, and the cost absorbed in the price of the car? Or are you happy to trust your own driving skills to save on the cost? Let me know in the comments below.