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Acura RL and Infiniti M Lead Industry

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Acura RL and Infiniti M Lead Industry in Advanced Safety Features

ORLANDO, Fla.--Feb. 11, 2006--Autobytel Inc.'s Automotive Information Center (AIC) division today released data from its upcoming research report, the Q1 2006 AIC Quarterly QuickView(1). The QuickView shows the Acura RL and Infiniti M have three of the four advanced safety features AIC researched, followed by the Mercedes-Benz (S-Class, E-Class, CLS-Class, and SL-Class) and Lexus (IS, GS, LS), with two of the four safety features researched. AIC also researched new digital features to decrease driver distractions when using MP3 and DVD players.

To assess vehicle safety, AIC analysts studied a variety of vehicle safety features including: collision mitigation braking, brake/seatbelt accident prep, lane departure system and laser guided cruise control. Less than 10 percent of the year's available trims included the safety features AIC studied. The Acura RL and Infiniti M lead the industry with three of the four safety features, and the Mercedes-Benz (S-Class, E-Class, CLS-Class, and SL-Class) and Lexus (IS, GS, LS) follow with two of the four safety features, according to the following breakdown:

-- Acura RL - Collision Mitigation Braking(2), Brake/Seatbelt Accident Prep, Laser Guided Cruise Control

-- Infiniti M - Brake/Seatbelt Accident Prep, Lane Departure Warning System, Laser Guided Cruise Control

-- Mercedes-Benz (S-Class, E-Class, CLS-Class and SL-Class) - Brake/Seatbelt Accident Prep, Laser Guided Cruise Control

-- Lexus (IS, GS, LS) - Brake/Seatbelt Accident Prep, Laser Guided Cruise Control

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving behaviors are responsible for 20 to 30 percent of all traffic crashes. In today's digital world, consumers want to be connected at all times, but juggling cell phones and iPods while driving will always be dangerous. Studying these safety hazards, AIC analysts found that automakers are responding with new ways to decrease digital distractions. AIC assessed the following new vehicle features serving as a means to reduce driver distractions: navigation systems with traffic alerts, radios with MP3 ports, and DVD players located only in the rear of the vehicle.

Navigation systems with traffic alerts, which remove the need for traffic alerts via wireless handheld devices, are increasing as an option. Also increasing are radios with direct MP3 ports, simplifying what had been a multi-step hook-up and allowing MP3 players to be operated by the vehicle's more-accessible stereo. Both are still emerging features with available trims comprising less than two percent and seven percent, respectively.

DVD players continue to gain in popularity as a vehicle feature as 417 of the year's available trims offer DVD players with 88 percent located only in the rear of the vehicle. An Autobytel online survey showed that while DVD players can be a distraction, the overall function it serves to keep kids entertained and quiet in the backseat is valuable.

"Innovations in vehicle safety features are important to consumers and it's encouraging to see manufacturers are responding with numerous offerings," said Autobytel President and CEO Rick Post. "By providing information about the latest car trends and important data about the vehicles with the most advanced safety features, our consumers can balance price and safety when buying a car."

The AIC Quarterly QuickView will be featured today at the 89th Annual NADA Convention. AIC executives will be available at Autobytel Booth #4000 to answer questions on the research report.(3)

A pioneer in providing the industry with vehicle specification data and technology for manufacturers, dealers and suppliers, AIC manages and analyzes up to 3.3 million data points covering every vehicle sold in the U.S.

Link: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2006/02/11/210383.html

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Lane departure sound like an incredible annoyance instead of a real safety feature. I think a certain level of technology washes out the driver's senses and makes them more complacent, thinking that they can iPod and Blackberry more because the car will slow down for them and keep them in the lanes.

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