Mazda Australia boss Martin Benders raised eyebrows at a media conference this week when he questioned the role of reversing cameras as a safety aid.
The entry level Neo model of the popular Mazda3 doesn't have a reversing camera, and many expected the brand to fit one as standard when it announced a pricing adjustment as a result of the free trade agreement with Japan.
Instead, the brand made rear parking sensors and alloy wheels standard on the Neo, despite the fact that some of the cheapest cars on the market — including the Toyota Yaris and Honda Jazz — now have cameras as standard equipment.
"It might surprise you," Benders said, "but I don't have a string of customer complaints or comments saying, 'where's my reversing camera?'"
There is no silver bullet to stop accidents
Benders said a reversing camera shouldn't be relied on to guard against driveway tragedies involving young children.
"I don't see the driveway as being a place where kids should be walking around in the first place," he said.
"I expect that people who drive cars take care and attention about how they drive their cars. Reversing cameras are not infallible. They're more an aid but so are reverse parking sensors and they will pick up obstacles in the same way."
He later clarified his comments, saying he hadn't meant to be dismissive about the cameras, but was making the point that drivers had to take responsibility for road safety, rather than rely on crash-avoidance technology.
"There is no silver bullet to stop accidents," he said.