updated 4/18/2004 6:59:56 PM ET 2004-04-18T22:59:56

Honda
We feel it is important that any safety test be considered in the context of overall safety performance.  The Accord is designed to provide excellent occupant protection in a wide variety of crash conditions and has scored very highly in government frontal and side impact crash tests.  It has also earned the Insurance Institute’s highest rating of “Good” in frontal offset crash tests.

This relatively new and severe IIHS test highlights the issue of vehicle compatibility and the role evolving technologies like side curtain airbags can play in raising the level of occupant protection.  In fact, Honda has committed to applying curtain airbags, along with advanced side airbags and anti-lock brakes, to the full range of Honda models by the end of 2006, regardless of the size or class of vehicle.  In accordance with this commitment, all 2005 model Accords will get curtain airbags as standard equipment beginning in the fall of this year.

At Honda, safety is the top priority in all vehicle development activity.  All Honda vehicles undergo rigorous development and testing procedures to ensure excellent occupant protection and have proven real world safety performance. At the same time, we strive continuously to improve the safety of all our products.

Nissan
What Nissan has to say about this latest crash test:
The side impact test being conducted by the Insurance Institute is an extremely severe test that represents only one limited aspect of the entire safety picture.  Nissan is always working to improve the crashworthiness of its vehicles and to that end is actively involved in the industry working group on front to side crash compatibility which is committed to improving vehicle performance in side impacts. We will continue to work with IIHS to better understand how this new test and rating scheme will relate to real-world accident scenarios.

How Nissan feels about the rating given to the Altima:
Nissan takes its commitment to product safety and customer satisfaction very seriously.  We build and design all of our vehicles to meet and outperform the stringent safety regulations established by the federal government and our own internal safety standards.  Nissan continues to evaluate ways to satisfy its consumers.  We designed the 2005 Altima to provide a high level of occupant safety in a wide range of real-world crashes, including side impact collisions.

Percentage of Nissan’s fleet currently sold in the U.S. that comes with inflatable side impact protection:
Nissan: 45% (equipped with either seat side airbags or side curtain airbags as standard)
Infiniti: 100% (equipped with either seat side airbags or side curtain airbags as standard)

Chrysler
Chrysler Group's 2004 Sebring/Stratus has performed well under a variety of internal and external test conditions, exceeding all Federal safety standards for side impact protection. While no single test can determine a vehicle's overall safety performance, the Chrysler Group continues to pursue every opportunity to improve the crashworthiness of its vehicles.

The Chrysler Group’s Sebring/Stratus currently holds the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s highest frontal crash test rating, and an Acceptable rating from IIHS’ own frontal offset test.

The Chrysler Group has also voluntarily entered the industry wide compatibility agreement, which includes the Front-to-Side vehicle to vehicle scenario.  By 2008 more than 50% of its vehicle fleet volume will comply to this voluntary agreement, and 100% by 2010.

The Chrysler Group looks at safety from a holistic approach.  Our priority continues to be designing vehicles that perform safely for our customers and their families in “everyday” driving conditions.

Suzuki
It is important that your viewers know that the Suzuki Verona is a safe, reliable vehicle that complies with all federal crash test standards. In fact, the 2004 Verona performed very well in a recent side-impact crash test conducted as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) program to confirm that new vehicles comply with federal crash test standards.

With respect to the recent IIHS side mpact test results, Suzuki is interested in this relatively new test and is studying the results not only for the Verona, but also for the other vehicles that were tested. Suzuki and other manufacturers recognize that larger full-size SUVs and pick-up trucks may be more aggressive in accidents with passenger cars, and the IIHS test provides one method of evaluating these interactions.

Suzuki has joined other auto manufacturers in a voluntary effort to study vehicle "compatability" issues and explore stategies that may help reduce occupant injuries. While our 2004 models do not have side airbags, Suzuki has already begun to incorporate features aimed at enhancing vehicle compatibility, including side airbags and other features, in future vehicle designs.

Hyundai
With regard to the recent results of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety side impact crash tests of the 2004 Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai has not seen similar results in any other side impact testing of this model and, therefore, Hyundai Motor America was disappointed by the unexpected IIHS results.

All vehicles sold by Hyundai Motor America in the United States meet or exceed Federal Motor vehicle Safety Standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency that regulates vehicle safety. In the U.S. government’s Side Impact New Car Assessment Program (SINCAP), the 2004 Hyundai Sonata received a four-star rating for both front driver and rear passenger protection. During this test, which is more sever than the requirements of the side impact protection Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 214, a 3,000-pound deformable barrier traveling at 38.5 mph crashed into the left side of the Sonata. We believe this test result demonstrates the safety of the Hyundai Sonata.

Hyundai is dedicated to furthering automotive safety for our owners and will continue working to improve occupant protection. We will continue to monitor IIHS test results now and in the future as part of our work to make our vehicles safe for our customers.

The new 2004 Mitsubishi Galant, like every vehicle we sell, meets or exceeds all of the applicable Federal Motor Safety Vehicle Standards currently in effect. In addition, the new Galant has recently tested very well, receiving the Insurance Institute’s highest rating of “Good” in the severe 40 mph Offset Deformable Barrier crash test, receiving five stars for both the driver and front passenger in NHTSA’s 35 mph New Car Assessment Program crash test, and receiving five starts for the driver and four starts for the rear passenger in NHTSA’s Side Impact New Car Assessment Program crash test.

Safety is very important to the men and women of Mitsubishi Motors and, as demonstrated by the accomplishments listed above, Mitsubishi Motors is very proud of the safety performance of the new Galant. Mitsubishi Motors, however, continuously evaluates and strives to improve the safety performance of its vehicles. Accordingly, Mitsubishi Motors will review and evaluate this new test being conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and its relationship to real world safety performance.

General Motors
Safety is a top priority at General Motors. The 2004 Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn L300 are safe and reliable vehicles that comply with all federal crash standards.  The Saturn L300 modified steel space frame construction and the Malibu steel safety cage have been tested in a wide variety of crash conditions.  Both vehicles performed well in GM’s battery of tests that replicates a wide array of potential real-world circumstances that a driver may encounter.  GM’s crash tests include: front, side and rear fixed barrier; moving barriers, poles and vehicle-to-vehicle tests.  In addition, GM uses an entire “family” of crash test dummies in some of its testing, including infants, children and women, as well as the average sized male dummy most often used by the NHTSA standards.

GM is continually striving to make our vehicles safer.  For more than a year, we cooperatively participated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the development of its new side-impact test. The relatively new and currently evolving IIHS side impact crash test is a very severe test intended to represent a vehicle being struck in the side by a large truck at high speed under very specific conditions. Additionally, we provided crash test results to aid in this test development.  In fact, GM has added this test to its own library of internal crash tests.

The Saturn L300 was recently evaluated with the new IIHS side-impact test. This vehicle was designed well before the new IIHS test existed, and was not designed with this particular test in mind.  GM believes this single test is not indicative of the vehicle’s real world safety.

The L300 was designed to help protect occupants in a variety of crash conditions. It is equipped with standard features such as anti-lock brakes, traction control, daytime running lamps, driver and front passenger frontal air bags, and center rear lap and shoulder belts.  The Saturn L300 standard driver and front passenger side curtain air bags are among the industry’s first applications, introduced in 2001. 

GM places a high priority on occupant safety, including child safety, and was the first manufacturer to announce that its side impact air bags would be designed to provide a benefit in many types of moderate to severe side impact crashes, while minimizing the risk of injury to children and out-of-position passengers.  The L300 side impact air bags met GM’s goal. 

The 2004 Malibu with and without head curtain air bags also were evaluated with the new IIHS side-impact test. This vehicle offers the optional head curtain side impact air bags to help protect front and rear outboard passengers.  The IIHS rated the Malibu with the curtain air bag as “acceptable”.  GM’s own testing has shown that these side curtain air bags provide additional safety benefit in a wide variety of moderate to severe side impact crashes, and they also meet GM’s goal of minimizing the risk of inflation-induced injury.  The IIHS rated the Malibu a low performer if the side curtain is not selected by the customer.  Again, GM believes this single test is not indicative of the vehicle’s real world safety.

We designed and developed the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu with many of our latest occupant protection and crash avoidance technology features.  Among those, the Malibu provides exceptional structural integrity for the “safety cage” passenger compartment and outstanding impact protection for the front, rear, and sides.  The strong construction is augmented with standard dual stage frontal air bags and safety belt pretensioners for front seat passengers, and three-point safety belts for all seating positions.  

GM announced a commitment to meet the voluntary industry standard for compatibility performance criteria for front-to-side crashes.  By September 1, 2007, 50 percent of all vehicles will meet the new criteria, and by September 1, 2009, 100 percent of vehicles will meet the criteria.  To meet the voluntary safety criteria in front-to-side crashes, GM will expand the application of side impact air bag technologies such as seat-mounted and curtain side air bags.  Currently, about 23 percent of GM’s 2004 cars, minvans, and crossover vehicles meet voluntary guidelines for front-to-side impact vehicle compatibility.  All of the conforming vehicles are equipped with either standard or optional side-impact air bags.

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