NIIHS Announces Safety Winners
- December 5, 2005
- Audi, Automobile Cool News, Awards, Chevrolet, More Categories...
- Posted by George Peterson
- 4 Comments
The National Insurance Institute of Highway Safety announced its rankings of the ten safest 2006 model year cars on Sunday December 4, 2005. To make the ratings game easier to understand, NIIHS has developed a gold silver rating scheme. Cars receiving a GOLD rating have “Good” ratings for frontal impact, side impact and head restraints. Cars receiving a SILVER rating have “Good” ratings for frontal impact and side impacts, “Acceptable” for head restraints.
One of the key objectives for this new combined rating scheme is to push manufacturers in a subtle way towards stronger performances in all aspects of the rating game.
The winners are:
Large Cars: Ford Five Hundred, Mercury Montego
Mid-Size Cars: Saab 9-3, Subaru Legacy
Small Car: Honda Civic 4-door
Large Cars: Audi A6
Mid-Size Cars: Audi A3, Audi A4, Chevrolet Malibu with side airbags, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Passat
NIIHS tested only a small part of the product offerings available for 2006. They tested 3 large cars, 24 mid-size cars and 16 small cars out of the more than 250 nameplates on the market (including cars and trucks). This begs the question of how perennial safety winners like Volvo, Saab, Mercedes and BMW would have fared. You assume they would have done just fine, but if they were at risk of scoring even one acceptable rating, then their reputation would have be damaged. Not being in the race, they can gives them the ability to contend that NIIHS did not rate them (for whatever reason… already knew the cars were great, so didn’t need to test them?)
In a rare serious radio interview by Dick Purtan heard in Detroit Sue Cischke Vice President of Environmental and Safety and Engineering gushed about how ecstatic Ford was for the Five Hundred and Montego to have won the Gold awards for Large Cars. She also attributed much of the success of the cars to Volvo engineering that contributed the basic platform for the new domestic Ford/Mercury. This begs the question even more… where were the Volvos?