What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

Safest cars are foreign cars

Dan Grech Nov 21, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Today, the insurance industry came out with its list of the safest cars. Of the top 13, not one of them is American. There’s a simple reason: American cars don’t have “electronic stability control.” Dan Grech explains.

DAN GRECH: Electronic stability control allows a car to sense when a driver may lose control, hitting too high a speed, taking too hard a turn. The car then automatically applies the brakes to avoid a crash.

Adrian Lund, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, explains the importance of electronic stability control, or ESC, in a video press release.

ADRIAN LUND: Our research shows that ESC can reduce the risk of crashes by helping drivers maintain control of vehicles in slippery conditions or during emergency maneuvers.

The problem, says economist Steven Szakaly with the Center for Automotive Research, is ESC is pricey.

STEVEN SZAKALY: In general consumers really like this option, they love safety features, but they don’t want to pay any extra for them.

The safest vehicles also tended to be the most expensive. Audi, Subaru and Volvo topped of the list, while the Big Three were shut out entirely.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.