How Japanese and South Korean brands are making safety features more popular and (increasingly) affordable
In 2023, autonomous driver safety features like Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) are finally getting their moment in the sun in the USA. Last year’s IIHS study “Real-world benefits of crash avoidance technologies” noted that vehicles with AEB reduced the number of front-to-rear crashes by 50%. Additionally, the US Department of Transportation’s NHTSA announced a proposal to make AEB systems mandatory on light duty trucks and passenger vehicles at the end of May.
Despite the recent push for the adoption of better vehicle safety by governments and automotive brands in the last decade, Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) have been in circulation for years. Adaptive Cruise Control, for example, has been in use in premium and luxury brands since the 1990s, while the 2000s saw the introduction of more complex features, like Lane Keep Assist (LKA).
In the last five years, traditional ICE vehicle manufacturers have focused on Level 1 and Level 2 systems, which include driver assistance with partial automation. These features range from lifesaving autonomous interventions to quality of life and driver comfort focused upgrades.
However, for some brands, there appears to be a lag in adopting these features. Is it an issue of OEM cost, or perhaps a question of market demand from consumers for such features?
In this study, we used VehiclePlannerPlus to delve into the data and find out:
What are the most commonly available ADAS features today?
What is the average cost for these features across the industry?
How are brands pricing these features?
NOTE: The data for this analysis only includes data for vehicles sold in the USA and includes both global and domestic brands.
Lets get started! If you need to review the ADAS feature definitions we use, see the appendix.
What do automakers expect customers to pay for these new driver assistance technologies?
According to our VehiclePlannerPlus (VPP) ADAS analysis, the pricing of these features varies significantly from brand to brand.
We ran some calculations with VPP and found the average price to fit a vehicle with a particular ADAS feature.
It is important to note that some of these features are grouped together into packages, or are included as a trim upgrade but, as a ballpark estimate of price, we can see which upgrades are more expensive on average than others.
Looking at the above graph, a few key takeaways are quickly made apparent:
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) for pedestrians and front vehicles are the least expensive, but Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Automatic Headlamp Dipping (AHD) create a flat feature price trend at around $1,000.
Cross-traffic Alert (CTA), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and Lane Centering (LDP) show an increasing price trend from $1,700 to $3,500.
Despite the costs associated with fitting these features, many manufacturers are including the least expensive ones on their lowest MSRP models and trims.
ADAS Feature Pricing by Brand
Let’s look at how different brands are pricing their vehicles and ADAS features.
Here are a few quick notes on methodology:
Each brand’s base model has been added together and then averaged to create a Brand Average MSRP.
Each brand’s vehicle has had its ADAS feature cost added and averaged, creating a Brand Average Feature Price.
All data is for MY2023.
This data excludes commercial vehicles, passenger vans and luxury vehicles.
The feature prices shown on the y-axis consider both trim upgrades within a model, and packages required to get a specific ADAS feature. By default, VPP considers the cheapest path to get a feature fitted.
There are four quadrants shown in each graph:
Lower left quadrant : low MSRP, low ADAS feature price. This quadrant represents the most economical brands for vehicles with ADAS features.
Upper left quadrant : low MSRP, high ADAS feature price. This quadrant represents low-cost brands which charge a premium price for ADAS features.
Lower right quadrant : high MSRP, low ADAS feature price. This quadrant represents higher base MSRP brands which have included ADAS upgrades at a low price.
Upper right quadrant : high MSRP, high ADAS feature price. This quadrant represents brands whose MSRP and ADAS feature pricing are both high, making ADAS as difficult to access as possible.
What about ‘$0’ ADAS features?
If the Average Brand Feature Price is $0, then that feature is standard on vehicles made by that brand.
Take some time to look over these – are you surprised at some of the feature prices? Did your initial guesses for ADAS pricing hit close to the mark? Are there any brands whose average pricing for MSRP and ADAS features were a surprise?
Of note, there are a couple of mainstream “high flyers” that we didn’t show on our graphs: both Ford and Jeep had very high Lane Centering prices. Ford charged $13,951 on average, while Jeep’s average price was $21,253.
ADAS Brand Value Winners:
Based on our VehiclePlannerPlus data, we ranked OEMs on “best value per feature” for both mainstream and premium brand types.
Mainstream brands such as Mazda, Toyota, Chrysler, and Honda have found ways to keep their overall cost for ADAS features low. Meanwhile, many “legacy” U.S. brands (especially those focused on delivering trucks and SUVs) like Jeep, Ram, Dodge and Ford seem to have ‘option inflation’. It is common that some of these safety features are being lumped in with other ‘premium’ features like interior trim upgrades, comfort & convenience features and broadly higher trims.
Among Premium brands, Genesis, Tesla and Lexus offer all ADAS features in their standard MSRP. However, Acura and Volvo are not far behind, providing most ADAS features as standard, with minimal upcharge for further features.
Are you surprised to see this breakdown of costs? Are there any brands that seem behind the trend for ADAS pricing? Can you think of some interesting reasons why some brands are forgoing cheaper ADAS upgrades? Let us know your thoughts! Please send any follow up questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summary: Delivering Context
What should we take away from all of this? Here are a few thoughts:
Asian mainstream OEMs are winning the race to include safety features at low overall prices to drivers.
Some mainstream US and EU brands are beginning to offer ADAS safety features at low price points, but will need to be more aggressive with their overall pricing to displace Asian competitors.
Some premium brands like Acura, Genesis, Lexus, and Tesla are pushing to make these safety features standard on their vehicles.
Many “truck and SUV” brands from the US are still lumping these critical safety features in with high-cost trim upgrades – should someone really have to buy heated leather seats just to meet the increasingly common modern safety standards provided by ADAS features?
Appendix: ADAS Feature Definitions:
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)
Automatic Emergency Braking provides driver assistance when the vehicle senses an imminent collision. The vehicle will abruptly apply braking, accompanied by a loud noise. As a felt experience, it can be a bit frightening, though many lives (and vehicles) have been saved due to this intervention. In this study, we review two common types of AEB:
Front Pedestrian (AEB), which senses pedestrians and engages AEB before collision.
Front Vehicle (AEB), which senses vehicles and engages AEB before collision.
Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM)
Blind spot monitoring provides an audio-visual alert that another vehicle is in your blind spot, ensuring that you don’t merge or turn when it is unsafe to do so.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
ACC ensures that you don’t follow a car too closely, but also maintains speed when you are on a busy commute or driving for a weekend getaway. While it may seem more like a driver convenience feature, some ACC modules also include road sign awareness, ensuring that you don’t drive too fast on a or surpass the posted speed limit accidentally.
Cross Traffic Alert (CTA)
CTA monitors objects around your vehicle, ensuring that you are warned via an alert before encountering any moving or stationary objects. For example – reversing out of a parking space or turning at a busy city block with a crosswalk are both instances where collisions with other motorists or pedestrians are more likely. In this situation, having an audiovisual cue which identifies that it is not safe to proceed can save lives and protect your car.
Lane Departure Prevention (LDP)
We follow two types of Lane Departure Prevention subtypes in this study:
Lane Keep Assist (LKA): Lane Keep Assist will steer your car back into its lane if it begins to drift over lane markings. This is a reactive system.
Lane Centering (LC): Lane centering keeps your car centered between lane markings. This is a proactive system that actively keeps the car centered in its lane.
Automatic Headlamp Dipping (AHD)
This feature is designed to automatically dip your headlamps when driving towards an approaching vehicle when it is dark outside. The purpose is to ensure that you maintain your view of the road while also ensuring that the approaching driver isn’t disturbed by your headlights.
To learn more about how we used our VehiclePlannerPlus data to quickly develop this analysis, reach out to email@example.com or request a demo below.