Launched this spring on the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer, the industry's first inflatable rear seat belt system will be making its way to other Ford and Lincoln vehicles starting next summer. The automaker confirmed that the Ford Flex and various unspecified models in the Lincoln lineup will be the next to offer these state-of-the-art restraints. Designed to help reduce the incidence or severity of head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers, Ford's inflatable rear belts have been well received by the primary target group. According to Amy Marentic, Car and Crossover Group marketing manager, early data indicate approximately 40 percent of Explorer buyers are parents who are ordering this more people-friendly alternative.
"Ford's rear inflatable seat belt technology will help to enhance safety for rear seat passengers of all ages, especially young children who are more vulnerable in crashes," said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "This is another unique family technology that builds on our safety leadership, including the most top U.S. safety ratings of any automaker ever."
Explorer customers have proven to be major supporters of several of the automaker's other advanced safety systems. Initial buyer data indicates an 87-percent take rate for the rear-view camera; that 40-percent of those who chose a new Explorer ordered the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert and that 22 percent went for adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, active park assist and rain-sensing wipers.