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Small Cars Overcoming Safety Concerns

Many new models commanding highest ratings in crash tests.

by on May.27, 2011

A Ford Focus in the IIHS side impact crash test.

When Ellen Pierson’s daughter was ready to get her license, the suburban New York mother of three fretted about what to let the high school student drive.  “It had to be as safe as possible,” Pierson says, “so I began thinking something in a big SUV.”

Her daughter Lynn, on the other hand, wanted something hipper and, like many of today’s young drivers, something that was more environmentally friendly.  She was eying a Ford Fiesta.  Almost small enough to fit in the back of some of the big SUVs, mother Pierson was aghast – until she checked the crash tests and realized that the Fiesta was ranked right up there with some much bigger vehicles.

Told to chip in with some of the money she had earned over several summer vacations, Lynn got the car of her young dreams.

News You Can Use!

Ellen Pierson isn’t the only one surprised by what she has discovered about today’s new crop of small cars.  Indeed, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has announced that six of the 13 compact vehicles it recently tested earned the industry-funded groups “Top Safety Pick.”  None landed in the “poor” category in any of the four crash tests each vehicle is subjected to.  The latest to earn the top ranking were the Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Juke, Toyota Prius and Lexus CT200h.

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Fiesta Gets Top Safety Rating – on Four Continents.

Safety playing critical role in selling small cars.

by on Feb.21, 2011

Ford is putting a premium on safety in marketing its new Fiesta subcompact.

Ford is touting the Fiesta as the first car in the subcompact segment to earn top crash test ratings in each of the world’s largest auto markets, including the U.S., China and Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

In North America, the 2011 Ford Fiesta also has earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — the first car in its segment to do so under new test standards.

The maker is betting – like many competitors – that safety has become a major selling point, today, especially in the small car segment.

News Now!

Fiesta’s structure is made from high-strength steels engineered to preserve quality and enhance driver and passenger safety, the maker notes. More than 55% of Fiesta’s body structure is made from ultra-high-strength steel, and the extensive use of lightweight boron steel helps protect critical occupant safety zones.

“The global safety ratings provide another proof point that the all-new Fiesta is redefining what a small car can be,” said Matt Niesluchowski, safety, NVH and durability manager. “The new Fiesta brings outstanding driving dynamics and fuel economy, unparalleled connectivity and safety leadership on a worldwide scale.”

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Smart Defends fortwo Crash Results

IIHS insists microcar has serious safety issues.

by on Apr.16, 2009

The IIHS initially gave the Smart fortwo a top crash rating, but it was downgraded after a new test -- which Smart officials insist is not a good, real-world indicator.

The IIHS initially gave the Smart fortwo a top crash rating, but it was downgraded after a new test -- which Smart officials insist is not a good, real-world indicator.

Smart USA is defending its two-seat microcar, the fortwo, in the face of problems it experienced during a new test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The respected IIHS said that despite early good marks, a new crash test shows some serious problems for the microcar.

The results are certain to stimulate new debate over whether American motorists are really prepared to switch to minicars as a potential solution to future gas price hikes.  The institute’s findings suggest that size really does matter.

In a May 2008 test, shortly after the first fortwo went on sale in the U.S., the IIHS gave the microcar a “top rating.”  But a new test, where a Smart was crashed into the front of a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, at 40 mph, didn’t fare so well, IIHS President Adrian Lund declaring “the safety trade-offs are clear.”

However, Dave Schembri, president of Smart USA, insisted the kind of crash simulated by the insurance industry-funded institute was rare.”The test used an extremely high crash severity which is unlikely to occur in real world crashes. In fact, less than 1 percent of all crashes fall within these parameters,” Schembri said.

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