IIHS Releases Top Picks

John Horner
by John Horner

Ford Motor Company is getting some much-needed positive press today on the back of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) just released “ 2009 Top Picks awards.” Top picks need to have best in class front, side and rear impact protection and include electronic stability control. Ford (including Volvo) took the model count grand prize with 16 vehicles getting top honors. Honda placed second with 13 vehicles and Chrysler came in dead last with exactly zero models clearing the hurdle. Of course the Ford brand portfolio includes many more vehicles than does Honda’s, so you could argue that Honda is the real winner as a percentage of its vehicles sold. In fact, ALL of Honda’s 2009 North American models made the top pick level except for the S2000 sports car. The redesigned 2009 Fit (with optional stability control) is the first minicar to make the IIHS’ list. Ford’s numbers were pumped up by multiple models of the same car each getting their own gold star. Fusion and Milan, Taurus and Sable, Escape and Mariner … you get the idea. But even with badge engineering magic, GM only managed an eight count including the sisters Enclave, Traverse, Acadia and Outlook. Once again, Ford has trounced its domestic competitors and is in the hunt with the rest of the international market. Likewise, Toyota continues the pattern of mimicking GM with only eight top picks of it’s own. Soon I suppose we will see Toyota, GM and Chrysler executives complaining that the IIHS tests aren’t representative, include selection bias …. or are just plain un-American.

John Horner
John Horner

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  • Bunter1 Bunter1 on Nov 26, 2008

    Kudos to Ford and "Wow" to Honda. Good catch on the GM quadruplets. SAAB 9-3s were two of the others (sedan und convert). Pretty sad. Toyota's showing is not impressive, but as they have far fewer models than GM and didn't need so much badge-engineering to get them it probably is about 3 to 4 times better showing. Cryslur? Waddayaexpect? Hope Ford makes it. They are becoming a good well rounded car producer. Mulally should go to congress with big charts showing his companies safety and reliability improvements and flat say "We are doing something"-and let the other two swim if they can. Bunter

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Nov 26, 2008

    Most of the otherwise-good cars that aren't nabbing best picks are doing so because of the seat and headrest design (see Toyota and GM for examples). These cars are otherwise (usually) good performers and yes, I agree with the above poster that they need to raise the bar a little. I don't like insurance companies, but this is one instance you can probably trust them. Property compensation claims are much cheaper than medical care and ongoing treatment: if they say a car is safe, they've got a vested financial interest in doing so.

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Nov 26, 2008
    Good catch on the GM quadruplets. SAAB 9-3s were two of the others (sedan und convert). Pretty sad. You know what's sad about that? The 9-3 has been a best pick since it debuted in 2003. And it was the first Epsilon car, suceeded by the Malibu, G6, Aura and Malibu again. You'd think they'd transfer some of that knowledge at least to the later Epsilons, if not to the rest of the line.
  • John Horner John Horner on Nov 26, 2008

    Excellent point psarhjinian, Ford has made good use of the safety engineering talents it acquired by buying Volvo. GM, on the other hand, has absolutely nothing to show for it shameful handling of Saab.