Former head of Car Toys merchandising and sales, Jim Warren is spearheading a new program, along with Jeff Varick of Brandmotion, to bring together competing suppliers and retailers across the country to raise awareness for advanced driver safety products.
The program, Vision Zero Automotive, is already winning enthusiasm and support among suppliers, said Warren. He hopes to announce the first official supporters shortly.
Vision Zero programs are in cities all over the country and in Europe, creating initiatives to lower traffic deaths. Under the program cities are passing strict anti-texting laws, or lowering speed limits or designing safer intersections. The Vision Zero Automotive program founded by Varick is the 12 volt aftermarket’s contribution to this life saving movement, promoting the installation of advanced driver safety products in the 280 million cars already on the road in the US.
A 2015 study found that 10,000 of the approximate 35,000 traffic deaths a year could be prevented if every car on the road had the same safety technology available in new cars. The study was performed by the Boston Consulting Group.
“We’re trying to take an aftermarket stance on this,” said Warren, noting that 6 of the 7 safety technologies studied by the Boston Consulting Group are offered in the aftermarket. “If we can get this awareness in the public that these products are out there, we can drive traffic to those retailers and web sites and get this category accelerated….it will help all the retailers out there and also save lives.”
Warren will head up fundraising for Vision Zero Automotive, which is a non-profit organization. “We’ve gotten good preliminary indications that we’ll get a pretty good level of support. In its end state, we could be doing national meetings and seminars, inviting suppliers and retailers together… I could eventually see having staffing to go to auto shows around the country to get in front of the public and show off this technology.”
Vision Zero Automotive will operate a web site that will include a retail locator. The web site, in beta format, may be viewed here.
The seven ADAS [Advanced Driver Assistance Systems] safety technologies that the Boston Consulting Group studied include 360 vision, blind spot warning, backup cameras, collision avoidance, night vision, and adaptive headlights. Only the latter is not found at 12 volt shops.
Warren is also approaching leading retailers such as Best Buy and Car Toys and the MESA buying group.
Eventually, he hopes a Vision Zero Automotive logo will be found on products offered by the aftermarket.
“What ultimately will be in it for the retailer is the raised awareness in the public. It will bring foot traffic to retailers. And retailers will be involved in saving lives,” he said.
The Vision Zero Automotive program was pre-announced by Varick in October, but the program officially launched Tuesday, the first day of the CES show.
Dealers wishing to participate can contact Warren at [email protected]
Watch a quick video on Vision Zero here.