* Mazda to adopt brake override system on all future models
* Nissan has similar system on most cars
* All other Japan carmakers considering adopting system
By Chang-Ran Kim, Asia autos correspondent
TOKYO, March 9 Japanese carmakers are considering
following Toyota Motor's (7203.T) lead in adopting a brake
override system that would potentially address all sources of
unintended acceleration, including driver error.
Under fire after recalling more than 8 million vehicles
globally for problems of uncontrollable acceleration, Toyota said
last month it would add the function to all future vehicles
worldwide. The system cuts engine power when the accelerator and
brake pedals are applied at the same time.
Nissan Motor (7201.T), held 44 percent by France's Renault
(RENA.PA), is the only Japanese carmaker that has a function on
nearly all of its cars that prioritises the brakes when both
pedals are depressed. This excludes 660cc minivehicles sold in
Japan under the Nissan badge and cars produced by other
automakers on an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) basis.
Among Japan's eight carmakers, Mazda Motor (7261.T) said it
would add the system to all future models "as soon as possible"
starting this year.
"We decided to do this because it's the right thing to do,"
Mazda spokesman Garett Carr said on Tuesday. He added that Mazda
currently has the feature on some diesel cars sold in Europe.
Morgan Stanley auto analyst Noriaki Hirakata wrote in a
recent report that the cost of installing a brake override system
was about $50 a vehicle, adding that it could come down if more
brands adopt it.
Honda Motor (7267.T), Suzuki Motor (7269.T), Mitsubishi
Motors (7211.T), Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries (7270.T) and
Toyota unit Daihatsu Motor 7262.T all said they were
considering adopting the system. The timing and scope of the
roll-out were still under study, they said.
"I think (it) could eventually become a standard feature,
just like airbags or anti-lock brake systems," said Daihatsu
spokesman Haruki Mori.
Unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles -- at
the heart of the automaker's recalls -- has been linked with at
least five U.S. crash deaths since 2007. The causes of many cases
of unintended acceleration are unknown, and are often blamed on
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said that safety
regulators may require all new cars to have braking systems that
tell the engine to return to idle when both accelerator and brake
pedals are depressed.
Toyota estimates that about one-fifth of vehicles sold in the
United States have brake override systems. That includes vehicles
sold by Mercedes-Benz (DAIGn.DE), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and
(Editing by Chris Gallagher)