The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

The Lexus Safety Experience

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

See Also: Lexus Buyers Guide
See Also: E-Carmony: Is A 2011 Lexus Your Perfect Match?

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Chicago, September 2010 - There is increasing recognition and acknowledgment within the auto industry by new vehicle manufacturers that a change needs to come about in how owners are educated about the technology in their vehicles.

The all-too-brief vehicle familiarization provided by the salesperson during the new vehicle delivery doesn’t cut it anymore. Technology in vehicles of today has become very advanced and sophisticated. Lexus has trained “Delivery Coordinators” in many of its dealers that are expert in explaining the technology and how it functions to new owners.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Lexus Safety Experience is a multi-city tour where Lexus dealership Sales and Service staffers are provided the opportunity to increase their knowledge about overall vehicle safety and also enhance their driving skills. Dave Griebler, the Lexus Central Area Brand Manager sums it up in saying “We want to get people comfortable in talking about the technology in our vehicles.”

The challenge is to get customers to truly understand the product, not only for Lexus but for all manufacturers. Lexus’ program drives the enthusiasm of dealership personnel for the product. It helps them better explain to the customer why a feature is beneficial.

Every Lexus vehicle for 2011 is equipped with a full complement of standard safety technology including Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) Traction Control (TC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

Smart Stop Technology is the newest of these features, added as standard equipment on all models for 2011, providing brake override that will automatically reduce engine power when the brake pedal and the accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

The Lexus Safety Experience multi-city tour throughout the US consists of 4 teams of professional drivers operating in four regions. Three dynamic driving events set up in large parking areas, such as the Chicago event at Soldier Field, allow dealer personnel to get behind the wheel to experience a variety of safety features.

While the pro-driver rides in the passenger seat and not only explains the driving event but also the technology benefit, Lexus vehicles are driven back-to-back both with and without the a safety feature.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

First hand experience while swerving, spinning and stopping provides a seat-of-the-pants demonstration. Dust flies as you brake and steer without ABS.
PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Wheels spin on a soapy-water tarp as full throttle is applied without Traction Control. Most impressive is the bringing a car to a stop without Smart Stop Technology showing that a properly applied brake will overpower the engine.

Dan Schwartz, Lexus Central Area General Manager, elaborated on the Lexus Owners Welcome program which brings new owners back to their dealer after a brief ownership period to allow them to ask questions about their cars and get explanations from professionals such as Craig Shook, Central Area Service Training Specialist.

Lexus has implemented SMART Teams consisting of 200 highly trained engineers and field technicians. They are deployed to any location in the US to investigate customer concerns about unintended acceleration. Over 4,000 hands-on SMART evaluations have been completed and have not found any evidence of a problem with the Electronic Throttle Control System.

With 229 dealers nationwide, Lexus seems committed to delivering an excellent and enjoyable ownership experience.

Final word: The owner’s manual has been said to be the most under read book in publication and programs like the Lexus Safety Experience will better help new car buyers understand the sophisticated technology in the vehicles of today.

Larry Nutson