Ford, Subaru and Volkswagen sit atop the insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles, according to a closely watched assessment used by car companies to lure safety-conscious consumers to showrooms.
The Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded its "top safety pick" on Wednesday to 19 passenger cars and eight sport utility vehicles for the 2010 model year. The institute substantially reduced the number of awards compared with 2009, because of tougher requirements for roof strength.
The Toyota Camry would have made the list, the Institute said, if it had received the highest rating in rear crash protection. The Institute said the Camry's seats and head restraints were rated marginal for protection against whiplash injuries. Toyota Motor, BMW, Mazda and Mitsubishi were shut out in the annual IIHS review.
Ford and its Volvo unit received six awards. Ford's recipients include the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS passenger cars and the Volvo S80 and C30 passenger cars and the XC60 and XC90 SUVs.
Ford said in a statement it is "committed to providing customers with safe vehicles for a broad range of real-world crash conditions."
Japanese automaker Subaru received five awards. Subaru recorded winners with the Subaru Legacy, Outback and Impreza cars and Tribeca and Forester SUVs. Subaru was the only automaker with an IIHS winner in all four vehicle classes in which it competes.
Tom Doll, executive vice president and COO of Subaru of America, said the awards were a "tribute to the engineering that goes into Subaru products."
3. Volkswagen AG and Audi unit
German automaker Volkswagen AG and its Audi unit received five awards.
Volkswagen scored with the 4-door versions of the Jetta, Passat and Golf, the Audi A3 and the Volkswagen Tiguan, a small SUV.
Chrysler Group received four awards. Chrysler won the award for the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger sedans equipped with optional electronic stability control, the Dodge Journey midsize SUV and the Jeep Patriot with optional side thorax air bags.
Scott Kunselman, Chrysler's senior vice president-engineering, said the awards underscore the Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker's "engineering capability and leadership in occupant protection."
Honda Motor received two awards. Honda won for 4-door versions of the Civic with optional electronic stability control and the Honda Element.
6. General Motors
General Motors received two awards. GM was recognized for the Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Malibu.
7. Nissan Cube
Other winners included the Nissan Cube, the Kia Soul and the Mercedes C Class.
The vehicles are selected for best protecting motorists in front, side and rear crash tests based on Institute evaluations during the year. The vehicles are required to have electronic stability control, or ESC, to qualify for the award. Earlier this year, the Institute said vehicles would need to receive its highest score in its roof strength evaluation to qualify the safety pick designation.
8. Kia Soul
"With the addition of our roof strength evaluation, our crash test results now cover all four of the most common kinds of crashes," said Institute president Adrian Lund. "Consumers can use this list to zero in on the vehicles that are on the top rung for safety.
9. Mercedes C Class
The Institute awarded its top prize to 94 vehicles in 2009 and attributed the decline in awards this year to the roof strength requirement. The Honda Accord and the Ford Fusion both dropped off the list because 2010 versions didn't earn high enough scores on the roof test.
Source - Economictimes