Ford Tops All Automakers For Safety Ratings

Posted by: David Kiley on November 25, 2008

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Ford Motor Co. got another shot in the arm from Tuesday when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported the automaker had more vehicles than any other manufacturer on itss list of safest vehicles sold today.

The IIHS reported that Ford had 16 of the top-rated vehicles, followed by Honda with 13. General Motors and Toyota each had eight vehicles on the list.

Seventy-two cars, trucks and SUVs received the top safety pick designation for 2009, more than double the number of vehicles in the 2008 model year and three times the number in 2007. The jump is due primarily to automakers increasing anti-rollover technology in more vehicles.

The top-rated vehicles are the best in protecting people 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. IIHS said electronic stability control is now standard on virtually all new SUVs and three-quarters of passenger cars for the 2009 model year. ESC is also standard on more than one-third of 2009 pickups.

Ford’s list of top-rated vehicles included Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan midsize cars with optional ESC; the Ford F-150 pickup, Ford Edge and Ford Flex midsize sport utility vehicles; and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small SUVs. The list also included the Mazda Tribute, which has the same underpinnings as the Escape and Mariner. Ford’s Volvo vehicles also made the list.

Honda and its Acura unit had vehicles in nearly every category, including top-sellers such as the Honda Accord; the Honda Civic 4-door with optional ESC; and the Acura MDX and RDX midsize SUVs; and the Honda Fit with optional ESC. The Fit is the first mini-car to earn the safety award.

General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. both had eight vehicles on the list. GM’s included the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook large SUVs. Toyota’s top performers were the Toyota Corolla with optional ESC, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Tundra and Scion xB.

Electronic stability control senses when a driver may lose control and automatically applies brakes to individual wheels to keep the vehicle stable and avoid a rollover. It helps motorists avoid skidding across icy or slick roads or keep control when swerving to avoid an unexpected object in the road. The absence of the technology became a focal point of lawsuits filed against Ford in the 1990s and early 2000s when tires were blowing on Ford Explorers, often causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle before a crash.

IIHS said Chrysler LLC was the only major automaker that did not receive a single award. They said Chrysler could have picked up five awards if the head restraints had been improved in the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring, the Sebring convertible and the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country.

The report comes at an opportune time for Ford, which, along with GM and Chrysler, is asking Congress for bailout loans. Many members of Congress, as well as pundits and critics, have been lambasting Detroit automakers for the last several weeks for failing to stay competitive with Asian automakers.

Reader Comments

Paul (Vw)

November 25, 2008 8:46 PM

>>> The report comes at an opportune time for Ford, which, along with GM and Chrysler, is asking Congress for bailout loans. Many members of Congress, as well as pundits and critics, have been lambasting Detroit automakers for the last several weeks for failing to stay competitive with Asian automakers.

Being competitive means doing more than just doing well on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test. Note that the Mariner/Escape/Tribute are essentially the same vehicle. And that the Volvo's are foreign made cars (right?).

I think the Detroit Three would do better if they could present a plan how they would erase the $2,000 per car disadvantage (for union perks) they have compared with foreign cars.

jerry

November 29, 2008 10:44 AM

Yes, Paul, being competitive IS more than just doing well on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test.

And in Ford's case, they also have the top 2 or 3 highest number of vehicles rated "recommended" by Consumer Reports.. they have scored very well in the last several years JD Powers surveys.. and most of their new vehicles meet or exceed the fuel economy averages of ALL their competitors.

They may not be homefree yet, but they are definitely trending well!

Eugene R. Hopkins

December 5, 2008 6:05 PM

I owned 2-Ford Tempos(4 cyl--3 spd auto)that avg'd 25 MPG in town & 1-Mercury Mystique (4 cyl--4 spd twin cam auto ) that only avg'd 20 MPG in town. I feel that hybrids & 6 spd automatics would not be needed at this time if our Govt & consumers had pressured GM, Chrysler & Ford to allow their engineers to employ the talent for which they were trained for. When I traded my Mercury, I told the Ford dealer of the mileage differencial between my Tempos & the Mystique. They said that this auto was referred as a Mercury Mistake rather than Mystique. In regards to fuel costs
& the hybrids purchase price, I know that consumers are being fleeced. Not only that, but smaller fuel efficient autos usually require higher insurance rates depending on realistic crash tests. You be the judge.

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