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Old 14th April 2009, 16:34   #1
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Default Small cars unsafe - US Report

Interesting article - Seems biased though. Logically, a small car will be comparatively less secure compared to a sedan.

Source: Economic Times

Small cars get poor marks in collision test

WASHINGTON: Micro cars can give motorists top-notch fuel efficiency at a competitive price, but the insurance industry says they do not fare well
in collisions with larger vehicles.

In crash tests released on Tuesday, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that drivers of 2009 versions of the Smart ``fortwo,'' Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris could face significant leg and head injuries in severe front-end crashes with larger, mid-size vehicles.

``There are good reasons people buy mini cars. They're more affordable, and they use less gas. But the safety trade-offs are clear from our new tests,'' said Adrian Lund, the institute's president.

Automakers who manufacture the small cars said the tests simulated a high-speed crash that rarely happens on the road. They also said the tests rehashed past insurance industry arguments against tougher fuel efficiency requirements. The institute has raised questions about whether stricter gas mileage rules, which are being developed by the government, might lead to smaller, lighter vehicles that could be less safe.

``If you were to take that argument to the nth degree, we should all be driving 18-wheelers. And the trend in society today is just the opposite,'' said Dave Schembri, president of Smart USA.

Sales of small cars soared when gas prices topped $4 per gallon ($1.05 per liter) last year but have fallen off as gasoline has retreated to about $2 a gallon ($0.53 per liter) and the economic downturn has slowed car sales. The small cars are affordable _ prices of the three cars tested range from about $12,000 to $18,000 _ and typically achieve 30 miles per gallon (13 kilometers per liter) or more.

The tests involved head-on crashes between the fortwo and a 2009 Mercedes C Class, the Fit and a 2009 Honda Accord and the Yaris and the 2009 Toyota Camry. The tests were conducted at 40 miles per hour (17 kilometers per liter), representing a severe crash.

In the fortwo collision, the institute said the Smart, which weighs 1,808 lbs, went airborne and turned around 450 degrees after striking the C Class, which weighs nearly twice as much. There was extensive damage to the fortwo's interior and the Smart driver could have faced extensive injuries to the head and legs. There was little damage to the front seat area of the C Class.

Schembri said the test simulated a ``rare and extreme scenario'' and noted that the fortwo had received solid ratings from the government's crash test program. The fortwo has received top scores from the Insurance Institute in front-end and side crash tests against comparably sized vehicles, but in the front-end tests against the C Class, the institute gave the minicar poor marks.

In the Fit's test, the dummy's head struck the steering wheel
through the air bag and showed a high risk of leg injuries. In the vehicle-to-vehicle test, the Fit was rated poor while the Accord's structure held up well.

Honda spokesman Todd Mittleman said the tests involved ``unusual and extreme conditions'' and noted that all 2009 Honda vehicles had received top scores from the Insurance Institute.

In the Yaris test, the institute said the mini car sustained damage to the door and front passenger area. The driver dummy showed signs of head injuries, a deep gash on the right knee and extensive forces to the neck and right leg.

The Yaris has received good ratings in past front and side testing but received a poor rating in the crash with the Camry. Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the car-to-car test had little relevance to consumers because of its severity.

``It's fairly obvious that they have an agenda here with regard to how smaller cars are going to be entering the North American market in larger numbers,'' Hanson said.
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Old 14th April 2009, 16:39   #2
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small vehicles get damaged by collisions with larger vehicles, and its the smaller vehicle's fault ? Americans sure have their priorities right
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Old 14th April 2009, 16:43   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenhorn View Post
small vehicles get damaged by collisions with larger vehicles, and its the smaller vehicle's fault ? Americans sure have their priorities right
You don't get the point greenhorn. Now US citizens will buy sedans to bail out GM and others
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Old 14th April 2009, 16:56   #4
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You don't get the point greenhorn. Now US citizens will buy sedans to bail out GM and others
Exactly! This is the impression I'm getting from the report. It seems to say buy sedans (US cars) and not small economic (Japanese) cars.
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Old 14th April 2009, 17:02   #5
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And if they crashed those mid-sized vehicles into larger ones like trucks, I'm sure the passengers in the mid-sized vehicles would be at a higher risk of injury. So does that mean mid-sized cars are also unsafe?
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Old 14th April 2009, 17:12   #6
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Crash an Aveo head on with the Malibu or Yukon or Tahoe.
This report is not correct. Its logical that the car which is smaller and lighter will face more damage. Same will be the scenario when Tahoe/Expedition hits a 40 tonne truck. Then they will come out with words, everyone should use massive road trains.

This is a biased report aimed at increasing sales of bigger machines from American automobile brands.
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Old 14th April 2009, 17:14   #7
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1.) Small car sales are on the rise in the US. This study will help insurance companies raise insurance on small cars.

2.) Seems like this study was sponsered by oil companies!

3.) The other sponsorer's seem be the Big 3 since these near bankcrupt companies don't have a decent small car in their line up.

Just trust Euro NCAP ratings.
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Old 14th April 2009, 17:14   #8
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Old 14th April 2009, 18:27   #9
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^^This video is irrelevant here as its comparing an old heavy car with a new modern hatch. This US test though compares a small modern car being crashed into a midsized modern car.

In such a case its obvious that the heavier car will suffer less damage. I'm not sure why they had to do this study in the first place.
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Old 14th April 2009, 18:36   #10
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the smart four two had some of the best crash ratings last year. how come its the worst all of a sudden ?
IIHS news release

As amit said , It seems insurance cos just want to find a way to milk small car buyers

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Old 14th April 2009, 18:42   #11
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why does this appear to be funded by the big three? sometimes its quite blatant the way things are covered up. Like the folks at the big three still saying Trucks are the way forward!
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Old 14th April 2009, 19:44   #12
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before any unwarrented US bashing starts..look at the source (IIHS)..i dont really put much faith in their car tests because they are probably bought and paid by the insurance companies.
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Old 14th April 2009, 19:57   #13
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Even 2 wheelers are unsafe , ban them .Can they stop the 2 wheeler industry ? .You are not safe what ever you buy and drive (even when you are in w12 running at 300 kph ) .

Last edited by black12rr : 14th April 2009 at 19:59.
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Old 14th April 2009, 20:31   #14
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whenever i go back home to the states i always make sure to look at the monthly copy of consumer reports that i get at home...i'd trust them over these guys and CR is raving about small cars. I dont like them, but they are good cars
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Old 14th April 2009, 20:51   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DriverR View Post
In the Fit's test, the dummy's head struck the steering wheel
through the air bag and showed a high risk of leg injuries.
I'm curious about this. Is it feasible that a driver can hit his/her head on the steering wheel, though the air bag ? If this is true, where is the safety of using airbags?
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