Friday, February 09, 2007

Subcompact Car Market Alarming Findings

I was on Business Week's website and I clicked on the article concerning subcompact cars. Now I've been doing a lot of research on cars, getting around to getting my license--especially if I'm planning on going to graduate school in Boston.

So the subcompact market seemed pretty promising to me, especially due to their fuel efficiency and affordability. Now I've already moved on to deciding that the Mazda 6 or if my pockets are stretched too far--the Mazda 3 are my top two picks, with possibly the Civic on the same playing field.

Before that I was considering the Yaris, the Matrix, the Rabbit, the Cobalt, the Pontiac G5, and cars along those lines. They were a bit too compact for me, LOL, and didn't fit my image of a car worthy of my sense of style.

So I click on the Business Week Article:
How Safe is Your Small Car?
By By Matt Vella

I'll give you an excerpt from the article and I'll provide you with a hyperlink to the full article and the slideshow of ratings as well (should you still be interested in subcompact cars).

A new report from the IIHS shows a wide disparity in safety among the popular new crop of fuel-efficient minicars

Rising fuel prices and growing environmental concerns among consumers elicited a new mantra from automakers this year: "Small is good." Honda (HMC), Nissan (NSANY), Toyota (TM), and even General Motors (GM) hit dealers with new or redesigned subcompacts—all imports from other markets—tiny new citizens in a country of much bigger, heavier, and thirstier trucks and sport utility vehicles.

But in a land of giants, these new Lilliputians may be alarmingly vulnerable. Crash test results released on Dec. 18 by the Arlington (Va.)-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that so-called minicars can leave occupants in serious peril, especially when they collide with much larger vehicles like the ones that populate most American roads.

Optional Equipment Becomes Necessary IIHS reported that driver fatality rates in subcompacts are higher than in any other vehicle category. In fact, death rates in minicars are double those in midsize and large cars. Fatalities in single-vehicle accidents, meanwhile, are higher in smaller vehicles than larger ones.

The new crash results show that passengers in very small cars can suffer serious or even fatal injury in collisions with other vehicles, particularly in side- and rear-impact crashes. Of the eight vehicles tested, all but one earned ratings of "poor" or "marginal" in at least one of the three tests administered. Models from Toyota, Scion, and Hyundai earned scores of "poor" in side-impact tests; the Chevrolet Aveo, a rebadged Daewoo import, earned a "marginal" score.

Side-impact tests conducted by IIHS are designed to mimic collisions with larger vehicles. The crash barrier is lifted to the height of a truck or SUV, pitting it directly against the windows of most minicars. The difference in size puts the barrier at head level for passengers and even direct contact in cars without optional side airbags. The results in poorly designed or poorly equipped vehicles aren't pretty.

The difference between serious injury and death can sometimes be a matter of optional equipment. Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS, says: "It's simple physics; the laws of physics dictate that a larger car has more protection. In small cars, then, the optional safety equipment becomes all the more important."

Now common sense does tell us that a smaller car would be more vulnerable in a collision than most larger vehicles. Fuel efficiency appears to the be the catch phrase of the industry due to rising (though currently stationary) fuel costs. As the article states most of the automobile manufacturers have been rushing to tap into the rising interest by consumers by introducing new/redesigned subcompact and compact vehicles.

Personally, I need a vehicle that I'm going to feel safe in. I've seen enough of those Jetta commercials to see how dangerous collisions are. Automobile manufacturers of the world lets try having safety and fuel efficiency as goals for this burgeoning market. No one wants to be subcompacted in their subcompact.

How Safe is Your Small Car?

Slide Show


T1 said...

No kidding- after living with that cougar I swore-next car is rugged- I got a jeep. I love it- thiink big!

Excalibur said...

LOL, you certainly did up the anty.