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Autoliv Inc. (ALV - Analyst Report), a leading provider of automotive safety systems, announced the development of a new adaptable seatbelt. This unique offering is expected to provide better safety by adapting to the passenger’s size.

Autoliv’s new seatbelt retractor adjusts its restraining force according to the passenger’s size (children or adults) and the crash severity. The belt does not use any sensor for this. For adults, the seatbelt webbing is released softly after the crash, thus reducing the rebound effect and providing additional safety to the full-sized passengers. The new seatbelt provides load limiting and pretensioners simultaneously, thus reducing the pressure on the neck.

Improved airbags, seatbelts and vehicle structure are very necessary in today’s fast moving world to reduce casualties in car accidents. However, these advancements in technologies and automotive safety systems have not been as advantageous for passenger sitting in the rear seats as for the other occupants.

Over the years, Autoliv has focused on providing safety to car occupants and has now come up with solutions for the small occupants.  The company’s seat belts are very popular with light vehicle manufacturers.

Autoliv expects that the new seatbelt will further strengthen its position in the market. The new retractor should help automakers in receiving better ratings in the updated Euro NCAP and US NCAP crash tests.

In Aug 2013, TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (TRW - Analyst Report) had come up with light-weight anchor seat belt pretensioner with rotary design, christened APR1, to fulfill the need for compact-designed seat belts. It will be incorporated in many European vehicles starting 2015.

The APR1 offers more compact packaging with no linkage element being used. APR1 provides pretension forces greater than 3 kN, which instantly tightens the seatbelt after a crash.

Autoliv has a stable market share in both airbag modules and seat belts in North America, Europe and Asia. The company has continuously expanded in low-cost countries, including Romania and China, in order to meet local demand. However, we are concerned about significant customer concentration risks as the company’s top-five represents about 54% of sales.

Currently, Autoliv retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). In the same industry, Magna International Inc. (MGA - Analyst Report) and American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. (AXL - Analyst Report), both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), are worth a look at the moment.

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