updated 3/6/2005 5:24:41 PM ET 2005-03-06T22:24:41

Chrysler Group
Chrysler Group's 2005 Dodge Neon 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 considers the results of this and other tests in the design and engineering of its vehicles in order to pursue every opportunity to improve crashworthiness.

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 percent of its vehicle fleet volume will comply with this voluntary agreement, and 100 percent 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.

Ford
Ford has designed the 4-door Focus to provide a high level of occupant protection in a wide range of real-world crashes, including side impacts.

The same vehicle earned the highest possible 5-star rating (driver) and 4-star rating (passenger) in the U.S. government's NCAP frontal crash test, and earned 3 star (front occupant) and 4 star (rear occupant) performance in the government's (side impact) test.

All 2005 Focus models offer front-seat head/chest combination side airbags as optional equipment. These side airbags enhance head and chest protection in a wide range of real-world side impact collisions.

General Motors
At GM, we place a high priority on providing our customers safe, reliable vehicles. The offset barrier and side impact tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provide just two of many assessments of crashworthiness and occupant protection in a severe crash event. 

The 2005 Saturn ION Sedan and Chevrolet Cobalt meet or exceed all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The ION received the highest 5-star rating in government’s frontal impact crash test. Cobalt received a “Good/Best Pick” rating in the IIHS frontal offset crash test and the ION received the second-best “Acceptable” rating.

The side impact results in the IIHS test do not detract from the fact that the Cobalt and ION exceed all federal safety standards and have design attributes, including side airbags, that provide significant real-world safety before, during and after a crash."

Hyundai
We were disappointed to learn of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) recent poor rating for the Hyundai Elantra in the Institute's side impact test. It is important to note that the rating is based only upon the IIHS criteria for rib deflection and viscous criteria. Ratings in the Jan. 20, 2005 test show results for the Head, Neck, Shoulder, Pelvis and Left Femur were in the Good Range, as defined by the IIHS. The rear passenger Head Rating was Acceptable.

The Elantra fully complies with the U.S. government's FMVSS 214 Side Impact Protection requirements that involve a side impact by a 3,000-pound deformable barrier moving at 33.5 mph. After testing by the U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Elantra has earned ratings of 5 Stars (the highest rating possible) for the Front Seat and 4 Stars for the Rear Seat. This rating was given after testing in which there is a side impact by a 3,000-pound moving deformable barrier traveling at 38.5 mph. We would also note that this speed is higher than that of the side impact testing by IIHS, yet the Elantra received excellent scores in the government test.

Hyundai appreciates the efforts of IIHS to improve vehicle safety. In this case, we feel confident that the Elantra is a safe vehicle as demonstrated by its excellent performance and high ratings in the federal government side impact crash tests.

Kia
Kia Motors America, Inc., (KMA) is pleased to learn that the new Spectra compact sedan earned ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ ratings in 23 out of 28 separate areas* measured by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in a recent side impact test that substantially exceeds federal requirements for occupant protection. 

We have equipped the Kia Spectra with six standard passenger airbags, including full-length side curtain airbags, which contributed to the Spectra receiving IIHS’ highest ratings for its protection of the head and neck, areas most critical for survivability. 

We are pleased with the high ratings we received in the test, yet we are dismayed that the IIHS chose to assign an overall ‘poor’ rating. It is particularly noteworthy that the IIHS data is at odds with the results of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) higher-speed testing of the same seating positions. In that test, the Spectra received a highly positive 4-Star safety rating in the driver’s position. Additionally, we find it notable that 11 out of 13 vehicles tested, from a wide range of manufacturers, received a ‘poor’ rating.

We feel it is somewhat confusing to consumers for the IIHS to represent the Spectra as ‘poor’ in occupant protection when, in fact, it received positive ratings in most categories of the IIHS test.

KMA pledges to continue to work with both the federal government as well as the insurance industry to improve vehicle safety within the entire automotive industry.

Mitsubishi
Thank you for the opportunity to comment regarding the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's recent round of Side Impact Crash Testing.

Mitsubishi Motors engineers are closely evaluating the results of the severe side impact testing conducted on the 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer by the Insurance Institute and the damage which resulted from that test. While that investigation continues, Mitsubishi Motors believes it is important to highlight the following points relative to the safety performance of the 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer:

1. Mitsubishi Motors has not identified any real-world incidents where damage was incurred like that depicted in the side impact testing conducted by the Insurance Institute.

2. The 2005 Lancer complies with all federal motor vehicle safety regulations, including FMVSS 214, the federal side impact standard.

3. The 2005 Lancer received the Insurance Institute's highest rating of "good" in the severe 40-mph Offset Deformable Barrier frontal crash test and was designated by the Insurance Institute as a "best pick"

Safety is very important to the man and women of Mitsubishi Motors. At Mitsubishi, we continuously strive to improve the safety performance of our vehicles. Accordingly, our engineers will thoroughly evaluated the results of this test conducted by the Insurance Institute.

Nissan
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 our customers, and we designed the 2005 Sentra to provide a high level of occupant safety in a wide range of real-world crashes, including side impact collisions.

The side impact test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an extremely severe test that represents only one limited aspect of the entire safety picture. Nissan continually works to improve the crashworthiness of our vehicles, and we are 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 the IIHS to better understand how this test and rating scheme will relate to real-world accident scenarios.

Suzuki
Thank you for giving American Suzuki Motor Corp. the opportunity to respond to the results of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS's) side-impact tests of the Suzuki Forenza and Suzuki Aerio.

It is important that your viewers know that both the Suzuki Forenza and Suzuki Aerio are safe, reliable vehicles that comply with all federal crash test standards. Like all 2005 Suzuki passenger cars, the Forenza and Aerio offer front seat-mounted side airbags for both the driver and passenger as one of multiple layers of standard safety equipment.

Both the Aerio and Forenza performed well in previous tests conducted by the IIHS. The 2002 through 2005 Aerio models earned the top overall rating from the IIHS for performance in the IIHS's 40-mph frontal offset crash test and were deemed "Best Picks." The 204-2005 Forenza models earned an "Acceptable" rating for performance in the IIHS's 40-mph frontal offset crash test.

With respect to the recent IIHS side-impact test results, Suzuki is interested in this relatively new test and is studying the results not only for the Forenza and Aerio, 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 an voluntary effort to study vehicle "compatibility" issues and explore strategies that may help reduce occupant injuries. To this end, Suzuki continues to research and incorporate features aimed at enhancing vehicle compatability into future vehicle designs.

Toyota
Thank you for the opportunity to once again express Toyota's views on crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and particularly, the most recent test involving our 2005 Corolla.

As of this date we still have not had an opportunity to fully evaluate the test results from the IIHS, and we have not seen the ratings. While Toyota is very interested in the results of IIHS and other third party tests, the Corolla, like all Toyota and Lexus products, meets or exceeds all federal government motor vehicle safety standards. Toyota conducts comprehensive crash tests on all of our vehicle models. This ongoing program consists of both dynamic and simulated tests and evaluations involving impacts at various angles and speeds to confirm performance in a variety of collision modes.           

Volkswagen
The new side crash test protocol which IIHS first issued in 2003 is the most demanding in the world, and simulates a side impact by a sport utility vehicle or truck. The IIHS test protocol also uses a new generation of very sensitive crash test dummies, which simulate a smaller rather than average size person. The New Beetle complies fully with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for side impact protection. 

More importantly, when the New Beetle was introduced in 1998, it was tested according in NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (“NCAP”). It did exceptionally well in the side crash, which then was the most demanding lateral test, receiving a “5 Star” rating (the best) for the front and a “3 Star” rating for the rear. Even today, the New Beetle remains the third-best compact car and fourth-best passenger car in this ranking for side-impact performance.

The New Beetle also performed well in the European EURO-NCAP. It received 4 Stars and had the best result in this lateral crash test program in 1999.

The New Beetle also did very well in the IIHS frontal crash test, receiving a “Best Pick” rating from the Institute. When IIHS tested the New Beetle at the time of its introduction, they said it was the best small car they had tested.

Finally, real-world experience with the New Beetle shows it to be among the safest small cars in the wide variety of crashes which actually occur on the road.  All of Volkswagen’s newly designed vehicles will continue to adhere to the highest applicable standards, and are also being developed to perform well in the new IIHS side impact test.

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