Automotive’s exciting future can’t get in the way of safety in the present

Automotive’s exciting future can’t get in the way of safety in the present

Posted: by Stericycle on Jun 26, 2019

The UK has a proud history in the automotive industry - and it is now fighting to remain equally integral to its future. Earlier this month, the UK Government announced new funding designed to "develop the next generation of low-carbon vehicles, helping the automotive sector build a prosperous low-carbon future".

Forming part of the new Industrial Strategy, the £33m investment through the Advanced Propulsion Centre will create up to 2,230 research and manufacturing jobs. This is a truly exciting moment for the industry, and one that must be capitalised on.

It is clear that the automotive industry – like many others – is undergoing an evolution as it responds to rapid political and consumer trends. However, while the future is an exciting one, manufacturers must be mindful of the present.

With one eye on the next generation, it would be easy to lose focus on the products consumers are buying now. It is a difficult needle to thread – manufacturers have to invest in the long-term while ensuring the current products meet the needs of consumers and, most crucially, remain as safe as possible. Building a technologically advanced vehicle will not be worth much if you have lost the trust of consumers due to issues with your current models.

As recall specialists, we continually see examples of motor vehicles being flagged as serious risks by Safety Gate, the EU’s Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products.

Since the beginning of June, there have been 22 alerts for motor vehicles posing a serious risk. For example, certain models of Opel's Insignia B were recalled due to defective sealing which could cause an internal leakage on the brake master cylinder. Some of Peugeot's Rifter and Partner vehicles were affected by a "possible misalignment of the ratchet on the handbrake lever latching mechanism". A production error meant some Lancia Ypsilons faced an issue where the steering track rod could disengage from the steering box.

The common thread? The risks are being caused by fairly standard components of cars, rather than fancy tech that lives under the hood. That underlines the need for manufacturers to continue to ‘focus on the basics’ rather than getting caught up in the latest advancements.

The future is incredibly bright for the automotive industry, but it cannot be at the cost of the highest of standards on current models. Consumers deserve the best now, not just in years to come.