Great news! The all-new Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Malibu received Top Safety Pick honors from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Buick’s and Chevrolet’s principal competitors from Lexus, Acura, Toyota, and Honda, respectively, were removed from the list ,presence on which – for the first time ever – requires a “good” rating in the roof strength test.
The roof strength test is primarily used to measure occupant protection in rollover crashes, which represent 9,000 highway deaths a year. The test involves a metal plate being pushed against one side of a roof at a constant speed. A “good” rating for the test requires the roof to withstand a force four times the vehicle’s weight before reaching five inches of crush (otherwise known as the strength-to-weight ratio).
Susan Docherty, GM Vice President of U.S. Sales, was delighted to hear the news, saying, “Customers continue to tell us that safety is a top consideration in a new vehicle purchase and we are listening. This recognition is important because customers are increasingly placing trust in credible third-party reports. That’s why the roof strength of the 2010 LaCrosse and Malibu were important to get right. We think this is one more reason for consumers to consider these cars.”
The GM Authority Take
If this doesn’t prove the fact that General Motors’ recent products are better than that of the competition, I don’t know what does. And since safety is a one of the top priorities for car buyers, the IIHS rating equips Buick and Chevy more positive product attributes that can be used in advertising and marketing efforts, as well as head-to-head sales comparisons.
It’s also important to note that the other criteria used to determine whether a vehicle will receive the Top Safety Pick spot are front and side crash tests, rear impact, as well as electronic stability control. Only 27 vehicles received Top Safety Pick for the 2010 model year – compared with 94 in 2009 – indicating that certain manufacturers need to modify their products to meet increased safety standards.
Some other interesting bits from the press release:
Frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph frontal offset crash tests. Each vehicle’s overall evaluation is based on measurements of intrusion into the occupant compartment, injury measures recorded on a dummy in the driver seat, and analysis of slow-motion film to assess how well the restraint system controlled dummy movement during the test.
Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph. The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV. Ratings are based on injury measures recorded on two instrumented dummies, an assessment of head protection and the vehicle’s structural performance during the impact.
Rear crash protection is rated according to a two-step procedure: The height of a restraint and its horizontal distance behind the back of the head of an average-size man. Seat/head restraints with good or acceptable geometry are tested for forces on the neck in a simulated collision in which a stationary vehicle is struck in the rear at 20 mph. Malibus built after October 2009 received a “good” rating in rear crash protection, allowing the Top Safety Pick designation.
Check out the high-resolution galleries of the LaCrosse and Malibu after the break![Source: GM Media]