Mercedes celebrates 25 years since the introduction of ESP with a lovely video. But the introduction of ESP, which has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, is linked to one of the worst disasters in Mercedes’s history, the 1997 A-Class rollover.
Mercedes has creative people in the marketing department, and this is reinforced by the new video celebrating 25 years since the introduction of ESP.
A Mercedes EQS slaloms through statues in a museum. At one point, in a larger hall, the Mercedes EQS avoids a colossal statue representing a moose. But what is doing a statue of a moose in a museum and what does ESP have to do with moose?
In the autumn of 1997, Swedish journalist Robert Collin of the Swedish magazine Teknikens Varld carried out the first obstacle avoidance test with the first-generation Mercedes A-Class. This test simulated a situation that is quite common on Swedish roads, namely the last-minute avoidance of a moose that suddenly runs out in front of the car.
This avoidance maneuver was not part of the test protocol of any car manufacturer in the world. Nevertheless, following this new test, the Mercedes A-Class overturned, endangering the lives of its passengers.
This moment marked the appearance of the so-called moose test, named after the sizeable domestic animal in the Swedish forests. It was introduced into the list of mandatory tests for all car manufacturers.
Mercedes reacted immediately, and Mercedes’ then head of development, Jurgen Hubert, decided to fit ESP as standard on all A-Class models.
To prove that the car was safe, Mercedes invited us to a circuit near Barcelona at the end of 1997 to test the Mercedes A-Class with ESP. Following the elk test, the car behaved safely and remained with all wheels on the asphalt. From that moment on, ESP became standard on the Mercedes A-Class.
But Mercedes couldn’t offer ESP as standard on a compact model and make it optional on larger models like the C-Class. Therefore, Mercedes decided to introduce ESP as standard on all its models.
So this is how one disaster – the A-Class rollover – led to the introduction of an active safety system that, in the years that followed, saved hundreds of thousands of lives.