The Group provides relevant information on vehicle safety through several channels, including in owner’s manuals and on brand websites.
This information covers a range of topics such as vehicle features, maintenance schedules and driving behavior.
To highlight the importance of this issue, specific sections are regularly added to owner's manuals. Safety inspections continued to be part of Summer and Winter Check-Up programs, including special offers on the purchase of parts related to vehicle safety, and six months free roadside assistance in Europe. Correct diagnosis and maintenance increase vehicle efficiency, resulting in lower fuel consumption as well as safety system integrity. With this aim in mind, Magneti Marelli continues to offer advanced remote diagnostic services. Through an extensive and well-structured Service Network (the Magneti Marelli Checkstar Service Network), Magneti Marelli is able to provide a range of maintenance and repair services. In addition to its expertise in after-sales services, Magneti Marelli provides solutions for telediagnosis. The Telematic Box(1) provides access to the on-board network and enables the telediagnosis service. This service minimizes the impact of malfunctions, reduces vehicle downtime, lowers costs and ensures service efficiency. In 2013, Magneti Marelli identified strategic partners to work with in order to provide its clients, in particular fleets and insurance, with access to EOBD (European On Board Diagnosis) data. In 2014, the first pilot fleets will be activated.
Telematic applications are spreading in the aftermarket in the insurance sector and fleet management, in advance of the date the eCall regulation goes into effect. These aim at improving driving safety and fleet circulation, while curbing insurance fraud cases.
Because technology is not the only way to save lives, the Group has also developed an array of courses on safe driving aimed at improving driver behavior and control over the vehicle.
(1) Telematic Box incorporates a phone module to connect to cellular communication networks, a multi-constellation satellite positioning unit (GPS, Galileo and Glonass) and a 3-axis accelerometer to detect the vehicle's acceleration and braking parameters.
Alfa Romeo has for years been at the forefront of promoting safety, accident prevention and driver education through driving classes organized in collaboration with the Dorado International Safety Driving Center, headed by former Formula One champion Andrea de Adamich. The latest initiative has been extended to offer two different programs, Evolution Driving and Sports Driving. The courses, which are aimed at improving driving ability and vehicle control, involve a series of theory lessons and practical exercises. Specifically, participants complete an instructive/dynamic course in two parts: reactive driving, to improve vehicle control in emergency situations, and active driving, to learn how to anticipate critical situations.
The Abarth brand also promotes safe sports driving by teaching techniques that combine safety with driving pleasure through dedicated driving courses, provided in 2013 by the Abarth Driving Academy.
In addition, for the third year in a row, the brand organized the Make It Your Race contest for aspiring race drivers. The project, primarily aimed at young people, is focused on promoting safe and responsible driving. Of the more than 50,000 who applied from 11 countries across Europe, 28 had the opportunity to take part in an advanced driving course while 14 participated in an intensive boot camp in Italy, becoming real race drivers and obtaining their racing license from the Commissione Sportiva Italiana (ACI-CSAI).
Finally, to give customers the opportunity to fine-tune their Granturismo skills, since 1993 Ferrari has been offering Pilota Ferrari driving courses in Maranello (Modena) and other closed circuits in Italy, with courses subsequently added in the United States and China. In 2013, a wide range of courses was conducted: Sport, Advanced, Evolution, Challenge, Scuola Piloti Challenge, Limited Edition and Corso Pilota On Ice.
Maserati also organizes safe sports driving courses under the supervision of professional drivers. Open to both aspiring and current owners, these classes are a blend of theory and practice which allow participants to familiarize themselves with Maserati vehicles and perfect on-track driving technique in a safe environment. The advice from Maserati’s trainers and the on-circuit experience will help promote safer on-road driving and the ability to successfully manage emergency situations.
Finally in 2013, Chrysler Group offered teen driving classes for children of employees in conjunction with the US Michigan State Police. This event, Road Ready, is designed to enhance the skills they learned in driver’s training by simulating real-world, potentially dangerous driving situations in order to improve their on-road skills.
In an effort to minimize the risk of distracted driving, the Group’s Human Machine Interface (HMI) team continues to work on new connectivity features aimed at keeping the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. The Group enhanced the voice command recognition which enables hands-free operation of phones and media players.
The 2014 Jeep Cherokee, Ram lineup and Dodge Durango offer all-new Voice Texting, a real-time free-form voice dictation for composing messages or responses. In addition, phone connectivity leverages existing features provided by Text-to-Speech and Voice Recognition, which announces new text messages with the contact name and reads incoming text messages received on the phone.