As Automakers Drive to Meet New Anti-Whiplash Standards, Johnson Controls Delivers a Full Portfolio of Innovative Solutions

New seats, head restraints — unveiled in Detroit — position firm as leader in rear-impact protection

DETROIT, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson Controls has developed all new seating and headrest systems — innovative technologies for automakers as they strive to comply with new anti-whiplash standards and testing protocols that are emerging worldwide. The company is showcasing its portfolio of four anti-whiplash solutions at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

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These safety solutions from Johnson Controls are being featured within the company’s product and technology exhibit in room D2-15 of Detroit’s Cobo Center.

"Automakers will be required to meet a new anti-whiplash protection standard being implemented in the United States, and will need to address insurance and consumer advocate groups’ protocols globally for low-speed rear impacts," said Charlie Baker, group vice president, engineering-worldwide for the automotive experience business of Johnson Controls. "Our set of rear-impact solutions — with Bronze-, Silver-, Gold- and Platinum-level approaches — offer increasing levels of performance and comfort for vehicle manufacturers working to provide improved levels of anti-whiplash protection."

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, neck strains and sprains (whiplash) are the most serious injuries reported in 30-40 percent of auto insurance claims. Such injuries cost at least $7 billion a year in the U.S. alone.

The prevalence of whiplash injuries in low-speed, rear-impact crashes — and the high medical costs associated with such injuries — have prompted government safety agencies to mandate new anti-whiplash standards. For example, a new U.S. requirement takes effect on September 1, 2008 — the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 202a (FMVSS 202a).

The Bronze rear-impact solution from Johnson Controls relies on a headrest that has been expanded in size — and repositioned closer to the occupant’s head — to provide a static compliance solution for FMVSS 202a. This product is applicable to a wide variety of seating systems, but does not offer the improved comfort advantages of the Silver, Gold, and Platinum solutions.

The Silver rear impact solution, with improved levels of comfort, offers compliance to the FMVSS 202a dynamic test requirements. This solution is available for seating systems designed by Johnson Controls and enhances occupant protection via total seat-system optimization. Forces in a rear-impact collision are managed and absorbed in a systematic way by the seat foam, seatback and head restraint.

Johnson Controls’ Silver rear-impact solution consistently has earned "acceptable" ratings on tests designed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Only 27 percent of all seats tested have achieved this level of performance in IIHS tests.

The Gold rear-impact solution from Johnson Controls — the riACT technology — is an active, mechanical head restraint that is activated by the movement of the occupant’s body. It is available for a full range of seating systems. In IIHS-based tests, this solution consistently achieves "good" ratings, a performance level gained by only 14 percent of all seats tested.

The Platinum rear-impact solution from Johnson Controls is a version of the riACT active restraint that is triggered electronically. This technology complies with the new FMVSS 202a standard, and also has gained top ratings on IIHS-based tests. With the Platinum solution, an electrical signal from vehicle crash sensors drives rapid deployment of the active headrest. Vehicles featuring the platinum-level solution from Johnson Controls are well-positioned to comply with the most-stringent anti-whiplash standard developed so far — the EuroNCAP 6-star rating.

The riACT technology utilized in Johnson Controls’ Gold and Platinum solutions enables the best level of occupant comfort, and requires less mass to be added to seat systems, compared to competing, active head-restraint technologies.

Johnson Controls’ first production application of riACT launched in December 2006 in Europe. It has been selected for two more new-vehicle programs in Europe, and an additional vehicle platform that will be sold in both Europe and North America.

Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive experience, building efficiency and power solutions. The company provides innovative automotive interiors that help make driving more comfortable, safe and enjoyable. For buildings, it offers products and services that optimize energy use and improve comfort and security. Johnson Controls also provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles, along with systems engineering and service expertise. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) has 136,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations serving customers in 125 countries. Founded in 1885, the company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For additional information, please visit .

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SOURCE: Johnson Controls

CONTACT: Debra Lacey of Johnson Controls, +1-734-254-5735

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