Toyota is in the midst of some serious damage control – quite literally.
The maker took a beating earlier this year when several models were slammed for their poor performance in the new “small overlap” crash test established by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That meant the best-selling passenger car in America might lose its IIHS “Top Safety Pick” endorsement while influential Consumer Reports, notably, yanked its “Recommended” rating for the midsize sedan.
Toyota officials have been frantically trying to downplay the significance of the poor showing by a variety of models that also included Corolla and Prius – while also noting that they’re far from the only ones who’ve been hurt by doing poorly in the new IIHS test.
Indeed, that was a key reason why the number of models that the Insurance Institute this week awarded “Top Safety Pick” and “Top Safety Pick Plus” awards plunged to 39 from 130 last year.
Significantly, Camry was named a top pick and Prius got the vaunted plus rating. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has put Camry back on its recommended list. But there’s a footnote here. The IIHS pointedly noted that only Camry and Prius models produced since November qualified.