Subaru’s stereo camera-based driver assist system can interpret the vehicle ahead’s brake lights, and packages adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and steering assist, lane-departure warning and front-vehicle-start alert (good for prompting dozy drivers in stop-start traffic).
Initially offered a few years ago as a novelty option at the very highest end of its range, Subaru has gradually trickled the camera system across its core models. As of earlier this year, every Outback automatic has it, as does every Liberty, plus the Forester 2.5i-S and XT Premium. All versions of the just-launched Levorg also feature the system.
The brand new generation Impreza (based on Subaru’s new global modular platform) will be almost certainly available with EyeSight from the end of 2016 when it arrives, ditto the next-generation XV due mid 2017 and the new Forester shortly after.
This is proof, says Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior, of how well preventative safety technologies of this type are resonating in the market, and called Subaru’s normalisation of the technology a brand USP (unique selling point).
“The safety story is particularly strong,” he said, adding that 50.1 per cent of sales YTD to the end of May this year were vehicles fitted with EyeSight. A slim majority, then, but a majority nevertheless.
To validate the technologies' effectiveness, Subaru recently published findings from an Adelaide-based fleet that operates 565 vehicles, including 125 Subarus, of which 51 are currently EyeSight-equipped.
“They told us they have recorded 358 incidents with damage since January 1, 2014. Those included 68 with damage to the front bumper, 19 forward collision driving accidents with another vehicle, and 26 including wildlife strikes,” Senior said.
“However, of all those incidents and accidents, only one involved an EyeSight vehicle, with front bumper damage – and that occurred when the vehicle turned a corner and collided with a car that would not have been picked up by EyeSight.”
Think of the reduced insurance premiums…
Subaru has been quite open about the importance of selling its strong safety credentials, frequently calling it a pillar alongside its AWD-only range and Boxer engines as real brand-definers.
The company is also porting its Vision Assist features into more and more models. This technology pack adds blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, auto-dimming rear view mirror, high-beam assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
Subaru Australia broke its all-time sales record over the first half of 2016, growing 11 per cent year-to-date to 24,061 units, and giving it all-time record-breaking market share of 4 per cent. More than half the brand’s sales are the Forester (7145) and Outback (5956).