Vince Mastrangelo is head of Corporate Quality and Environment, North America, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. This is his #SafelyThere story.
I started at Continental in 1999 in Finance working on the pricing strategies of the first Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Roll Stability Control (RSC) programs in North America. A few years later, my brother and his family moved to Oregon, and he asked for my opinion about which vehicle he should buy for the Pacific Northwest winters. Given my knowledge of various safety technologies, I recommended to him the sport utility vehicles that were equipped with ESC and RSC at the time. This was a pretty short list in 2003! Keep in mind that ESC has been mandatory in new cars in the United States only since the 2012 model year.
We quickly came to realize that this was the right decision. When my family later visited Oregon to celebrate New Year’s Eve, my wife and sister-in-law avoided a potentially severe accident thanks to ESC technology. They hit a patch of ice while driving down a snow-covered mountain road and felt the vehicle start to fishtail. While the car could have slipped into oncoming traffic or spun into a ditch, the ESC system kicked in and almost immediately put the vehicle back on course.
This experience changed both of our families' perspective of what we look for in a vehicle; we are now early adopters of new safety technology.
It is impressive to see the evolution of such technology since the implementation of ESC nearly two decades ago. I am sure this trend will continue as older cars are taken out of service and replaced with newer ones. It will accelerate even faster as drivers become more familiar with available technologies and their potential to reduce accidents and help save lives.
After Vince experienced firsthand the capabilities of ESC, he wanted to help promote the benefits of the technology. Together with his family, Continental created a testimonial video in 2004. This generated a lot of press coverage, including an article in the LA Times and a segment on CBS’ The Early Show.