ESC now mandatory for many new vehicles

  • Craig Foss

Mandatory electronic stability control (ESC) for a range of new vehicles will help prevent deaths and serious injuries on our roads, Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss says.

From today, all new cars, vans, four-wheel drives and goods vehicles imported into New Zealand are required to have ESC.

“This will have a significant impact on road safety in New Zealand.  Over the next two decades, ESC is expected to prevent hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries.

“As part of the Government’s overall road safety strategy, which seeks to improve all aspects of the system, we’re continuously exploring ways to make our vehicles safer.

“For example, the Ministry of Transport has developed a vehicle standards map — this outlines technologies and standards with the greatest potential to improve the safety and environmental performance of vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet.

“This map will help us quickly assess other measures that will improve vehicle standards and, in turn, safety on our roads.”

ESC is a crash prevention system that intervenes if it detects a vehicle is about to skid or lose traction. It is able to independently control the braking of each wheel to correct the vehicle and pull it back into line. Research indicates ESC can reduce the risk of crashing due to loss of control by around 30 per cent.


Vehicles coming into New Zealand will be required to have ESC as follows:

  • all new class MA, MB, MC and NA light passenger and goods vehicles certified for entry into service from 1 July 2015
  • used class MC vehicles (four-wheel-drive SUVs and off-road vehicles) inspected at the border from 1 March 2016
  • used class MA vehicles (passenger cars) with engine capacity greater than 2 litres inspected at the border from 1 March 2018
  • all other used class MA, MB and NA light passenger and goods vehicles inspected at the border from 1 March 2020

Information about motor vehicle classes:

Information about ESC:

Information about the vehicle standards map: