The new Volkswagen Crafter insurance prices are set to see a decline, with ratings reduced by up to four groups thanks to Volkswagen making the decision last year that every Crafter produced will have advanced autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems.
Thatcham Research is the motor insurers’ automotive research centre for safety, security and crash repair and undertakes independent crash testing on vehicles. Due to being respected experts in safety, the data which they receive from their testing can be applied to vehicle risk data effecting insurance group ratings.
Volkswagen’s new Crafter was tested at the end of July and, as a result of the successful performance of its standard AEB systems at all speeds, saw a reduction in group ratings by up to four groups. This means the starting group for the Crafter range is now 34.
Earlier this year, we wrote about Volkswagen becoming the first commercial vehicle brand to fit all of its vans with AEB (Autonomous Emergency braking) safety systems, meaning all customers buying a new Caddy, Transporter or Crafter are guaranteed safety as a standard feature.
According to Thatcham Research, AEB systems are “probably the most significant development in vehicle safety since the seat belt”.
How AEB works
The AEB systems works by installing radar into the front of the vehicle, Front Assist then recognises distances to the vehicle in front and helps to ensure safe stopping. Front Assist reacts in two different stages. The first stage of the process creates audible and visible warning signals to the driver if the vehicle in front is driving slowly or has suddenly braked, it then calculates the risk of collision. During this short period of time, the technology gets the vehicle ready for emergency braking by applying the brake pads slightly and alerting the brake assistant. If the driver fails to react to the warning, a one-off short jolt of the brake indicates in the second stage the looming danger of a collision and the brake assistant’s responsiveness is further increased. If the driver then hits the brakes, full braking power is immediately available. If the driver does not brake strongly enough, Front Assist increases the braking pressure to the required level, so that the vehicle comes to a stop before reaching the obstacle.
Thatcham Research, Chief Executive, Peter Shaw said: “Volkswagen is a trailblazer and should be applauded for being the first manufacturer to fit AEB as standard on all its vans in the UK. The truth is that we are seeing a year on year rise in deaths and serious injuries involving vans which this technology can help to avoid.”
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Sarah Cox, said: ‘When we took the decision earlier this year to give our customers safety as standard by fitting AEB to all our vans, we knew it was the right thing to do: it would keep drivers safe, vehicles on the road and reduce costs.
“Seeing the results of the Crafter test and the subsequent reduction in insurance group ratings reinforces our decision, and reassures customers looking for a van that choosing a Volkswagen is the responsible choice for their business.”