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IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

Link: http://www.iihs.org/news/2008/iihs_news_041008.pdf

ARLINGTON, VA — Occupant protection in side impacts of midsize cars is improving as automakers introduce safer designs and add side airbags as standard equipment.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently completed front, side, and rear tests of seven 2008 model midsize cars, both moderately priced and luxury: Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Avenger, Infiniti G35, Kia Optima, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima, and Saturn Aura. All earn the highest rating of good for occupant protection in frontal crashes.

All but the Kia Optima earn the top rating of good for side crash protection (Malibu’s rating applies to cars built after February 2008). Rear crash protection results vary more widely. Among the seats/head restraints evaluated, only those in the Optima earn a good rating (see attached ratings).

Rear crashworthiness ratings aren’t as impressive: The seat/head restraints in the Optima are the only ones the Institute tested this time around that earn the top rating of good for occupant protection in rear crashes. Five of the seat/head restraint combinations earn marginal or poor ratings.

GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey said the automaker designs vehicles to meet federal standards and to provide protection to a variety of sized-drivers in accidents, not just the ones tested by the institute.

"We design for the whole spectrum of drivers and passengers," she said.

When a vehicle is struck in the rear and driven forward, its seats accelerate
occupants’ torsos forward. Unsupported, an occupant’s head will lag behind the forward torso movement, and the differential motion causes the neck to bend and stretch. The higher the torso acceleration, the more sudden the motion, the higher the forces on the neck, and the more likely a neck injury is to occur.

The key to reducing whiplash injury risk is to keep the head and torso moving
together. To accomplish this, the geometry of a head restraint has to be adequate — high enough to be near the back of the head. Then the seat structure and stiffness characteristics must be designed to work in concert with the head restraint to support an occupant’s neck and head, accelerating them with the torso as the vehicle is pushed forward.

“In stop and go commuter traffic, you’re more likely to get in a rear-end
collision than any other kind of crash,” Zuby says. “It's not a major feat
of engineering to design seats and head restraints that afford good protection
in these common crashes.” Rear-end collisions are frequent, and neck injuries are the most common injuries reported in auto crashes.

Click the above link for a chart showing testing results.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

The Malibu did really well in those side test.



Headrest: They've got to fix that.

This car is too good to let this happen, even if it's a minor stat.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

The good news is here:

http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=30

For midsize cars, the only remaining domestic embarassment is the G6. The Fusion/Milan, Sebring/Avenger, and 2008 Malibu and Aura (and previous Malibus when equipped with side curtain airbags) all get 'Good' ratings in the front and side crash.

That's a spectacular improvement over a few years ago. If the Big Three can just fix the head restraints on the seats and make stability control standard, that's two additional 'Top Safety Pick' vehicles each.

[EDIT] The real surprise, to me, is the Sebring/Avenger. If you look at other crash ratings, Ford and GM have been working pretty hard at catching up to the leaders in crash safety. Chrysler has done pretty poorly in IIHS tests before now.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

GM spokeswoman Carolyn Markey said:
the automaker designs vehicles to meet federal standards and to provide protection to a variety of sized-drivers in accidents, not just the ones tested by the institute.

"We design for the whole spectrum of drivers and passengers," she said.
Oh yeah? Then publish your tests.

Statements that automakers test against different safety criteria than the US government or the Insurance Institute are USELESS without PROOF. When GM, or any other automaker, releases public documentation and videos of their own internal crash tests, THEN I'll be impressed. Until then, it's total garbage regardless of which automaker it comes from. We the public have no way of knowing whether the spokesperson is telling the truth, or just making lame excuses for poor performance in the official crash tests.

GM spokespersons were saying the same thing when GM cars were getting awful crash ratings.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

Oh yeah? Then publish your tests.

Statements that automakers test against different safety criteria than the US government or the Insurance Institute are USELESS without PROOF. When GM, or any other automaker, releases public documentation and videos of their own internal crash tests, THEN I'll be impressed. Until then, it's total garbage regardless of which automaker it comes from. We the public have no way of knowing whether the spokesperson is telling the truth, or just making lame excuses for poor performance in the official crash tests.

GM spokespersons were saying the same thing when GM cars were getting awful crash ratings.
The IIHS tests aren't OFFICIAL. Passing them isn't a requirement .Passing the NHTSA tests are. They build and test for the ones they HAVE to pass.
Ed
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

The IIHS tests aren't OFFICIAL. Passing them isn't a requirement .Passing the NHTSA tests are. They build and test for the ones they HAVE to pass.
Ed
Ah, but there's the rub...The IIHS tests are the ones the Media likes to trumpet as they typically are tougher then the NHTSA tests. Therefore, the Automakers should just use the IIHS standards their targets, that way they don't have to come up with rediculous statements like the one the GM spin machine churned out.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

Oh yeah? Then publish your tests.

Statements that automakers test against different safety criteria than the US government or the Insurance Institute are USELESS without PROOF.
Unfortunately, the US is a very litigious society. Anything GM published voluntarily, no matter how successful the results were, would instantly become twisted around and used against them in countless frivolous lawsuits.

Hard to blame the auto companies from avoiding the details when it comes to crash testing.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

The good news is here:

http://www.iihs.org/ratings/summary.aspx?class=30

For midsize cars, the only remaining domestic embarassment is the G6. The Fusion/Milan, Sebring/Avenger, and 2008 Malibu and Aura (and previous Malibus when equipped with side curtain airbags) all get 'Good' ratings in the front and side crash.

That's a spectacular improvement over a few years ago. If the Big Three can just fix the head restraints on the seats and make stability control standard, that's two additional 'Top Safety Pick' vehicles each.

[EDIT] The real surprise, to me, is the Sebring/Avenger. If you look at other crash ratings, Ford and GM have been working pretty hard at catching up to the leaders in crash safety. Chrysler has done pretty poorly in IIHS tests before now.
Hopefully Pontiac will get the next stunning car after the Buick LaCrosse is unveiled and the G6 will be on the Alpha platform and shorter than the Malibu and Aura for those who want a sporty sedan that isn't so damn long. :D
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

The IIHS tests aren't OFFICIAL. Passing them isn't a requirement .Passing the NHTSA tests are. They build and test for the ones they HAVE to pass.
Ed
Then they should be honest about it. "We don't care about your tests." Instead, "We have our own tests" but they've been saying that for decades without proof.

ByTheLake said:
Unfortunately, the US is a very litigious society. Anything GM published voluntarily, no matter how successful the results were, would instantly become twisted around and used against them in countless frivolous lawsuits.

Hard to blame the auto companies from avoiding the details when it comes to crash testing.
GM was using the exact same statements about "internal testing" when they had vehicles like the Cavalier getting 1 star ratings and the Blazer having the highest rollover rating of any street-legal vehicle you could buy.

This isn't an attempt to prevent lawsuits, it's a way to lie, because lieing is cheaper than spending money on passing the IIHS tests.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

The IIHS tests aren't OFFICIAL. Passing them isn't a requirement .Passing the NHTSA tests are. They build and test for the ones they HAVE to pass.
Ed

That is somewhat erroneous. The Fed standards are so weak and out of date that the NHTSA itself has a project in the works to make the tests more reflective of real world situations. There's no such thing as failing a NHTSA test.

The Fed standards are at best 'recommendations';i.e. 4 & 5 stars are passable, 3 stars are marginal, 1 & 2 stars are not passable. Go to the website and look up the vehicles some 3 stars have a ( ! Safety Concern ) designation.

The IIHS on the other hand carries a lot more weight. It's the IIHS which determines which vehicles get better ratings and therefore lower premiums with the insurance companies. There is no significance to passing the NHTSA test or not. Passing or failing ( no vehicles fail ) the Fed test has no benefit or penalty. Essentially that means that the tests are irrelevant.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

Ah, but there's the rub...The IIHS tests are the ones the Media likes to trumpet as they typically are tougher then the NHTSA tests. Therefore, the Automakers should just use the IIHS standards their targets, that way they don't have to come up with rediculous statements like the one the GM spin machine churned out.
I agree, if these results are trumpeted by various automakers, if it reinforces certain perceptions about certain automakers, why not design vehicles in part to pass such tests? I imagine it might be related to engineering costs, but how much does it cost certain automakers to carry yet another albatross around their necks.

I'm not one who supports studying for a test simply to do well on a test, but in some cases it makes some sense.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

I agree, if these results are trumpeted by various automakers, if it reinforces certain perceptions about certain automakers, why not design vehicles in part to pass such tests? I imagine it might be related to engineering costs, but how much does it cost certain automakers to carry yet another albatross around their necks.

I'm not one who supports studying for a test simply to do well on a test, but in some cases it makes some sense.
Here is the reason that 'the media' likes to trumpet the IIHS ratings. The Insurance Industry wants as much publication about the safety ratings as possible. When you see a representative on GM America or the Today show ( addressing women primarily ) it's always a representative of the IIHS.

You will never see the NHTSA on the news recommending anything pro or con. The NHTSA is part of a political body, the US Federal Govt, so it cannot 'recommend' one vehicle over another. Somebody's ox will be gored when this happens and some Congressman will scream bloody murder if the non-recommended vehicle happens to be made by his constituents. "Hey we the workers in this plant pay your salary Mr NHTSA. Where do you get off telling buyers not to keep us employed. Do you want to see your next paycheck?"

The IIHS OTOH doesn't give a rat's --- about who's feelings it hurts. It's only purpose in life is to make sure that its principals the Insurance companies rate the vehicles accurately, asses the risks accurately, assess the premiums accurately and in the end make money. Cold hard cash. That's the reason it's always the IIHS rep on the news. They want you and me in the vehicles that will not cost the insurance companies much money to repair and/or will protect us in the event of a crash so that the insurance companies don't have to make huge loss settlements. Cold hard cash is always the great equalizer.

Oh, for this reason the IIHS makes it's results available for promotional purposes.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

Yeah I heard about this while I was eating breakfast this morning. The Malibu's "marginal" rating needs to be fixed. Like someone said, it's way too good of a car to have that minor flaw.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

In fairness to all automakers the IIHS keeps moving the bar on it's ratings.

Initially it was just frontal crashes. Then every vehicle maker learned from all the others so now every vehicle is essentially well designed and safe in moderate frontal crashes,

Just as they were accomplishing that ...

The IIHS added the side impact tests and made them harder than anything the NHTSA had ever done. Thus without GOOD on both frontal and side impacts a vehicle couldn't get a top rating. But the vehicle makers all learned from one another and side/curtain airbags were added as options.

Just as they were accomplishing that...

The IIHS made the criteria be that the side impacts would be tested on the standard equipment vehicles. Those having S/C airbags standard always got better ratings than those with them as optional equipment. So the vehicle makers now are making the S/C airbags standard and all are doing well again.

Just as they were accomplishing that...

The IIHS made it a requirement that all the vehicles have active head restraints in order to get a GOOD rating. AHRs minimize the risks from rear end collisions and minimize losses from whiplash injuries. MOST vehicle makers are behind the curve on this one so most cant get a top rating of GOOD across the board. Therefore no top rating.

While the vehicle makers are working to accomplish this...

No vehicle that doesn't offer Stability Control can get a top rating. Preferably it should be standard equipment but optional is OK

While the vehicle makers are working to accomplish this...

Well as you can see it's a moving target. Oh, BTW the NHTSA standards haven't changed in 20+ years. They are at least 30 yrs out of date.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

Ah, but there's the rub...The IIHS tests are the ones the Media likes to trumpet as they typically are tougher then the NHTSA tests. Therefore, the Automakers should just use the IIHS standards their targets, that way they don't have to come up with rediculous statements like the one the GM spin machine churned out.
"Our cars meet or exceed all federal vehicle safety standards blah blah blah blah ..."
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

I had the good fortune to sit in on a lecture from Holden's Laurie Sparke (a world renown expert on vehicle safety) a few years ago and he was very informative about how Holden (and GM) design cars with occupant protection in mind.

Basically Holden work very closely with Monash University in Australia. When a Holden is involved in a serious crash, Holden and Monash will investigate all aspects of the crash and the outcomes for passengers in all vehicles involved. This includes angles, speed, passenger injuries, ages etc.

Most here will understand that the young and the old have weaker bone structure and height issues among other things. If GM built a car that was great at protecting only those aged 25-35 there would be serious, life threatening injuries to those who were older or younger. From what I have seen most 'crash testing' agencies seem to forget about these differences.

The other thing Dr Sparke mentioned was how they look at chanelling crash energy into 'non fatal' areas of a persons body. For instance a broken collar bone or pelvis, while still a bad injury, is much better than a head injury.

In my mind, the real test of a vehicles' crash worthiness is the number of fatalities per vehicle sold.

I know people are skeptical of the safety in the Smart car because it is so small but given that it is a city car it is unlikely to be involved in a high speed open road crash.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

I like the way it looks non-smashed.
 

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Re: IIHS Tests Chevy Malibu - Front/Side Impact Rated "Good"; Rear Impact "Marginal"

In fairness to all automakers the IIHS keeps moving the bar on it's ratings.

Initially it was just frontal crashes. Then every vehicle maker learned from all the others so now every vehicle is essentially well designed and safe in moderate frontal crashes,

Just as they were accomplishing that ...

The IIHS added the side impact tests and made them harder than anything the NHTSA had ever done. Thus without GOOD on both frontal and side impacts a vehicle couldn't get a top rating. But the vehicle makers all learned from one another and side/curtain airbags were added as options.

Just as they were accomplishing that...

The IIHS made the criteria be that the side impacts would be tested on the standard equipment vehicles. Those having S/C airbags standard always got better ratings than those with them as optional equipment. So the vehicle makers now are making the S/C airbags standard and all are doing well again.

Just as they were accomplishing that...

The IIHS made it a requirement that all the vehicles have active head restraints in order to get a GOOD rating. AHRs minimize the risks from rear end collisions and minimize losses from whiplash injuries. MOST vehicle makers are behind the curve on this one so most cant get a top rating of GOOD across the board. Therefore no top rating.

While the vehicle makers are working to accomplish this...

No vehicle that doesn't offer Stability Control can get a top rating. Preferably it should be standard equipment but optional is OK

While the vehicle makers are working to accomplish this...

Well as you can see it's a moving target. Oh, BTW the NHTSA standards haven't changed in 20+ years. They are at least 30 yrs out of date.
I think that's a very fair point. However, I think it emphasizes the problems GM, Ford, and Chrysler used to have -- very long time between major vehicle updates. Now that the Big Three are getting faster with their updates, there's less time between new IIHS standards and when they ace them.

I suspect the IIHS is looking at it, again, from a purely profit perspective. They keep adding new safety requirements because every safety improvement reduces their costs.

I had the good fortune to sit in on a lecture from Holden's Laurie Sparke (a world renown expert on vehicle safety) a few years ago and he was very informative about how Holden (and GM) design cars with occupant protection in mind.

Basically Holden work very closely with Monash University in Australia. When a Holden is involved in a serious crash, Holden and Monash will investigate all aspects of the crash and the outcomes for passengers in all vehicles involved. This includes angles, speed, passenger injuries, ages etc.

Most here will understand that the young and the old have weaker bone structure and height issues among other things. If GM built a car that was great at protecting only those aged 25-35 there would be serious, life threatening injuries to those who were older or younger. From what I have seen most 'crash testing' agencies seem to forget about these differences.

The other thing Dr Sparke mentioned was how they look at chanelling crash energy into 'non fatal' areas of a persons body. For instance a broken collar bone or pelvis, while still a bad injury, is much better than a head injury.

In my mind, the real test of a vehicles' crash worthiness is the number of fatalities per vehicle sold.

I know people are skeptical of the safety in the Smart car because it is so small but given that it is a city car it is unlikely to be involved in a high speed open road crash.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety in the US or the US government (I forget which one) publishes documents with the number of fatalities per million miles driven. I think that's even better for measuring safety than fatalities per vehicle sold.

The only problem with that measurement is that it only helps you measure the safety of vehicles that are three years old or older.

I've only seen three or four Smart cars on the US, but the ones I've seen were driving at 60 mph or faster ( 100 km/h for non-Americans ) on highways. I don't know how people use them in the rest of the world, but it looks like Americans want them for highway use.
 
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