By on August 3, 2015

2015 F-150 Crash Test

Metal bars welded to the Ford F-150 Super Crew in front and behind its front wheels that helped it pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s notoriously difficult small-overlap crash cost roughly $58, Automotive News is reporting.

It was revealed last week that the low-cost part was left off of regular- and extended-cab models, prompting the insurance organization to retest the F-150 models and revise their ratings much lower than the original test.

According to Automotive News, Ford stopped short of saying that it would include the low-cost parts on the regular- and extended-cab versions of the truck, but said it would install “countermeasures” to improve crash performance. The regular and extended cab comprise about 5 and 25 percent of overall F-150 sales respectively.

Ram has said it would include the bars, which engineers have dubbed “wheel blockers,” in its pickups this year going forward.

overlap-overheadThe effectiveness of the relatively inexpensive part underscores the auto industry’s evolution to the small-overlap crash, which has been incredibly difficult for automakers since it was introduced three years ago. In 2012, only 3 out of 11 midsize luxury or near-luxury cars received “good” or “acceptable” ratings on the crash. In 2015, many of those ratings had improved to “good,” but when optional crash avoidance systems were installed on the car. For instance, the front crash mitigation package on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which scored a “good” rating when equipped with that option, costs $2,800.

Safety officials at the IIHS said they would begin testing the top two bestselling models of pickup trucks to avoid truckmakers testing only their most-popular models and applying the rating to the rest of its lineup without having the same equipment.

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90 Comments on “For $58 You May Pass the IIHS Small-overlap Crash...”


  • avatar
    tresmonos

    58 bucks isn’t ‘low cost.’

    at a 20% mix rate (a generous estimation), Super Crews alone would cost Ford over 8 million in ‘low cost dollars’ for the last generation model year’s sales.

    • 0 avatar
      djsyndrome

      Explorer rollover awards reached nine figures, although the actual payouts were likely much less.

      Eight million is a rounding error.

      • 0 avatar
        runs_on_h8raide

        “Eight million is a rounding error.”

        In a financial audit by their auditor…very true.

        But that’s a few Ferraris in the driveway for the execs in bonus payouts, baby!!!

      • 0 avatar
        ducatimechanic

        Eight million for a company like Ford / GM is called “budget dust”…

      • 0 avatar
        Wheatridger

        Or the cost of damages in one judgement over one fatal accident. This is the same pennywise, pound-foolish behavior made infamous by the Corvair’s rear suspension and the early Explorer’s rollover problems.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      Agreed – those $58 in parts cost a total of $32.5 million on the Super Crew alone, given that 80% of F-150s are Super Crews and roughly 700,000 sales per year.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      $58 is peanuts to save lives and to get fantastic crash test results which will sell more vehicles via promotional value.

      The F Series is Ford’s CASH COW FFS!!!

      This is a textbook example of automakers being penny wise and pound foolish retards.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        I suspect the pound foolish that’s going on in this case is less the pocket change that it’d cost Ford to have done it right and more the fanatic obsession with weight loss and fuel economy.

        This has them selling 5500 pound, 400 horsepower trucks with 23 gallon gas tanks because the 36 gallon that they used last year was too heavy. (Although they’ll give it back to you for $400.)

      • 0 avatar
        runs_on_h8raide

        They’ll never learn.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      That would assume that the buyer pays none of that cost. I’m guessing Ford could pass along that $58 to the consumers who buys those trucks in droves.

    • 0 avatar
      p___mill

      Linked article states $58 retail in the catalog. Cost to Ford is likely closer to $6.

      • 0 avatar

        Agree but it does remind me that Eaton told the engineers on the original neon to redesign the head gasket to save $2.00 a car. When they started blowing up at 60k miles he reportedly said so what that move saved us 2 million. Got to love it.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Which is more proof that regulation has benefited the consumer far more than it has hurt. Left to their own devices industry will self-serve without exception – unless they are forced not to. Short sighted beancounters nearly destroyed the auto industry. Seems a few of them still have jobs. Whoever signed off on this wonderful cost saving business decision should be fired on the spot.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Even the Japanese assault that began in earnest in the 1970s, whereby Japanese vehicles costing 1/2 as much as domestics and being 800% more reliable landed in U.S. ports, wasn’t enough to force the Big 3 to dramatically improve their quality.

            It took state laws (lemon laws) and stricter application of federal law (Magnusson-Moss) to really light a fire under the a$$e$ of GM, Ford & Chrysler, whereby $hitty vehicles had to be bought back, to improve quality to the point that their vehicles were somewhat more reliable if even for the short factory warranty period.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    Come on, everyone, be reasonable. Ford’s got to preserve every penny of profit of that $70K MSRP.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Funny how its the sub-$100 cutbacks that make so much of a difference. Pinto comes to mind here, as does the GM ignition debacle.

    Additional: Probably a better idea to save money outside of safety systems. How about slightly cheaper speakers? Slightly cheaper carpeting or plastics?

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      I’d rather not have carpet in a pickup anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Actually stainless steel or some kind of coating would look pretty cool vs carpet.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’d rather not have carpet in any vehicle. Wears quickly, almost impossible to clean in the high-wear spots, can’t be completely covered by mats. Even in a luxury car I’d take a high-quality rubber floor, with thick sound insulation on the back, in a heartbeat.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          You don’t do much driving barefoot, do you?

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Driving barefoot is stupid. Not enough friction on the pedals.

          • 0 avatar
            BuzzDog

            “Driving barefoot is stupid. Not enough friction on the pedals.”

            You’ve obviously never worn men’s dress shoes with leather soles, or Western boots, which provide zero tactile feedback and are sometimes slippery AND unyielding to pedal pressure.

            Making sweeping comments and using an inflammatory word is what is truly stupid. Go back into your parents’ basement, please.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I think if you cheapened most OEM speakers they would probably spontaneously disintegrate. Paper “whizzer” coaxial tweeters would be hilarious if you didn’t actually have to hear them.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Maybe, but replacing crappy factory speakers is feasible and not somewhat cost intensive. Adding missing torsion bars is not really feasible. I’d rather the mfg spend their money on the important stuff and if need be I’ll fill in the gaps of the creature comforts.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Additional: Probably a better idea to save money outside of safety systems. How about slightly cheaper speakers? Slightly cheaper carpeting or plastics?”

      They already did all of these. And slightly cheaper electrical seals, wire harnesses, and corrosion coatings besides.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Ford is working on replacing the beams with “a really thick undercoating” to save 30 bucks. /sarc

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Since it was blatantly a cost-saving measure, they clearly should have added the blockers as an option for other two trucks in the line.

    Wheel Blockers ($50)
    “If you plan on driving your new F150 in the forward direction, then you may want to significantly increase your survival rate in a head-on collision by adding Wheel Blockers”

    Everyone would add it but explaining the justification for it being an option would be interesting.

    The IIHS probably added the Small-overlap Test to drive manufacturers to develop relatively minor modifications, such as these wheel blockers, that can dramatically improve crash-worthiness.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      A reason the small overlap test was only introduced recently, is because it does not test crashes that occurs that often. it’s kind of like airbags. the front ones save 1000 lives, so then the one that slips on by, stands in starker relief.

      It’s honestly pretty darned remarkable that what used to be a tincan perched atop a ladder frame (a 80s pickup), in it’s most commonly sold configuration, performs “better” on this rather difficult and advanced crash test, than most luxury and near luxury cars. Even Volvo drivers who hate pickup trucks with a vengeance, must at least acknowledge the engineering triumphs behind that. And, at least in Ford’s case, the weight hasn’t really gone up much more as a result, than it has in cars, either. For vehicles aimed squarely at supposed knuckle draggers, built by Evil American Corporations out to kill and maim in the name of profit, I’d say that’s quite amazing.

      • 0 avatar
        Mieden

        Actually, the small overlap test is the most likely of front end collisions. Most people swerve away from an approaching vehicle, and only a small percentage of the front crash structures “overlap”. Now, all of the multiplied crash forces are distributed into a tiny piece of the safety cage. This test is AMAZINGLY difficult to pass with a vehicle that isn’t freshly designed, from the ground up, to pass it. Tying the front crumple zones together beyond the crash rail isn’t something that can be cheaply accomplished with a vehicle that’s halfway into its product cycle. Thats why the midlevel luxury cars did poorly at the tests inception, they simply weren’t designed for it. All of those vehicles passed it once they were redesigned. The biggest issue though is that insurance premiums will rise, since tying the crumple structures together completely in this way makes smaller impacts more destructive to the entire front crumple zone.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          If it is the most common of crashes, and known to be so, how come the IIHS (and since most foreign cars failed, the Euros and Japanese as well) dd not test for it before 2012? Instead focusing on all manners of exotic crashes that ostensibly don’t happen too often? I realize there may be a strong tendency to swerve before impacting an oncoming vehicle, but are you sure the majority of those swerves don’t result, for example, in an impact that is less than directly head on, hence gets simulated by offset impact tests etc…..

          I have no special insight into this specifically, so if you do, I’m sure you’re right. It just flies in the face of what is the usual way failure testing is approached: One starts with the low hanging fruit of common failures, then as those are fixed, less common ones stands in starker relief, then one develops tests for those etc., etc. until one ends up with something fairly hardened.

          • 0 avatar
            Mieden

            I cant say specifically why the regulatory body is behind on its uptake, but Id assume they were focused on a gradual change in whole vehicle safety. Meaning, “we cant expect a car to pass a test that distributes 100% of impact energy into 15% of the crash structure until we can get cars to reliably sustain impact forces distributed through 100%, then 40%” and so on. 15 years ago, the normal 40% offset test was still overwhelming quite a few safety cages.
            Or it may just be that they are behind the curve…in the same way that automated braking systems showed up 10-15 years ago and there’s still no regulatory test for such systems. Sure, they’ll subsidize your test rating if you have a system available, but the effectiveness of given systems is not measured.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @Mieden,
            So, IOW, despite the test being late to the game, it is a common enough failure of a car’s safety cage, that you would very strongly recommend holding off on getting a reg- or extended cab F150 until Ford has upgraded them to match their current Crew Cab standards?

            Someone here wrote that Volvo engineered for this kind of crash over a decade ago. Ford should never have sold them…… :)

          • 0 avatar
            Mieden

            @Stuki
            I definitely wouldn’t say all that. The newest car I own is a 22 year old Mercedes, so my opinion on purchasing vs safety is biased. Sure, it was the safest car in the world at its introduction, but a 2015 Honda Civic would probably have a better crash rating in a direct comparison. My Mercedes was “engineered for this type of crash” too, doesn’t mean anything. There are brand new cars with all the latest advancements in FEA and HSS/UHSS forming techniques that don’t pass, or barely squeak through this test. A 10 year old Volvo would fail miserably and dramatically.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      tylanner,
      A bulbar would be a good blocker, but they cost over $1000.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “A bulbar would be a good blocker, but they cost over $1000.”

        Hell, that’s below dirt cheap for the NFL!

        Hello, Bulbaria? Sports Minister, please…

        (I think Dave Bakhtiari is Bulbarian)

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “countermeasures”

    This probably sounds way cooler than reality.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    easy fix, just before the collision, slam it into reverse. physics guys.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Now there’s something else to pimp in F&I besides paint and fabric protectors. Life Protector Bars??

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    Not everyone goes through life worried about being in a severe wreck every time they get behind the wheel. As for me, I would sooner a manufacturer spend money on better performance – you know, those things which make a vehicle fun.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      True, but those of us who have been in them might think differently.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      I agree to a point which is why I drive a 25 year old vehicle for pleasure on the weekends. But many of us also have to cart our families around in them and sacrificing sports car performance for safety is a no brainer whenever I look into the rearview mirror and see my kids in the backseat.

      Couldn’t care less about becoming a meat-waffle on the grill of some yo-yo’s superduty pickup? Many motorcycle manufacturers will gladly take your money and sell you a crotch-rocket. Bonus: for under $10K you can buy one that’ll blow the doors off a Hellcat.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I would be inclined to agree with your post for things like automatic braking and blind spot monitoring, but the small overlap crash is one of the most common crashes on the road, and when you’re in one the crashes have a high probability of severe injury and death.

      It’s a tough scenario to engineer for, and with the problem of distracted driving (which goes way beyond cell phones, people just find amazing ways to multitask while driving), increased congestion in general, and more “sharing the road,” drifting over the center line just for a second happens a lot.

      It’s pretty clear that by including it in the version the IIHS crash tested, and leaving it out of the others, Ford was trying to game the system.

      Here is the next question – who else is doing it – because I don’t think Ford is alone in gaming the IIHS crash test while saving X dollars per vehicle.

      It is a stupid amount of money to try to save – even over 600K units you don’t end up with $35 million in new profit.

      It was just plain stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s not that anyone’s that worried, except How_DARE_They?? After all we’ve done for THEM???

      Now that a potential super-cab/reg-cab buyer knows the (junk yard part?) *fix*, would I even bother? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a lot of noise about it In the showroom, meaning deep, deep discounts, above all rebates/incentives.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Sillyness.

    Raise the base price of the truck $30, then the remaining $28 truly turns into a rounding error. The advertising alone pays for the remainder.

    Even at full freight of $58…

    Who in there right mind says “you had me at $31,842 all in all done, adding that safety doodad brought the price to $31,900. I’m out you greedy sons a bitchs “

    • 0 avatar
      vtecJustKickedInYo

      A 28 Dollar Rounding Error for an Engineer on a High Volume Product would be suicidal. I have to side with Ford on this one as for the Single and Super cabs are the lower end value segment where 28 Dollars does matter significantly.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        What do you think defending this decision will cost when the truth comes out? A lot more than its cost times the number sold, that’s for sure. $50 for dramatically better crash performance? On a product with the highest profit margins of all? What is a life worth, anyway?

        • 0 avatar
          beastpilot

          Realize that while it was $116, that is per truck. There are 40,000 deaths per year in the USA, out of 250 million vehicles.

          Thus, per vehicle, you have a 1/62,500 chance per year of a fatality. Add in the fact that it needs to be a small offset crash, which is what, 10% of accidents?

          So one in 625,000 per year. Say the truck lasts 15 years on average. So each truck has a chance of 1/42,000 of a fatality due to this.

          So it’s $4.83 million per life saved. That’s pretty high overall. And that assumes it goes from 100% death from small offset to zero, not just making it “better.” If it reduces small offset fatalities by 25%, then it’s almost $20M per life.

          You know how many lives you can save for $20M? They just aren’t Americans.

          You can also answer the “what is a life worth” question by looking in your own garage and seeing if you drive the safest car you can find, price be dammed. If you don’t, then you’ve already defined that there are good reasons to drive a dangerous car.

          Realize this holds true for any vehicle. If it costs $1 per vehicle to make it 1% less fatal, that’s $400,000 per fatality. That sounds good, until you realize almost any improvement costs more than one dollar, and only marginally reduces fatalities. Make the cost higher or the improvement smaller, and watch the cost soar.

          • 0 avatar
            derekson

            It doesn’t just save lives, it also prevents major injuries that have a high cost to treat as well as decrease quality of life for those who suffer them. Small overlap crashes are especially high in head and neck injuries due to the steering column moving and the driver’s head thus falling off the side and the airbag and hitting the displaced A pillar.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      There’s no excuse not to spend the extra $12 to $15 per truck (all versions) to enhance offset crash protection, particularly now that they themself (Ford) proved beyond any doubt that such a simple, cost-effective measure will save lives and prevent many serious injuries that would otherwise not be prevented.

      This is also why it’s essential to allow punitive damages in civil litigation; it is only by the real and significant threat of punitive damages that will deter manufacturers and others from engaging in cost-benefit analysis of the type weighing the payment of verdicts, settlements, etc., vs the pure costs of implementing a life/injury preventing design change, and deciding that pure economics dictates that it’s less expensive to not make changes in design.

  • avatar
    derekson

    This whole incident gives me reservations about what corners Ford is cutting to save a few pennies, in the same way the ignition stuff did about GM. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I really didn’t think Ford was quite as much about bean counters ruling over engineering like this.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I put this one in the same category as Honda and the apparently known issues with Takata air bags. As a vehicle owner, you can’t do anything about it. You can’t go and tear your truck apart and add this safety part after you buy. You can’t legally disable your airbag, and in doing so you inherently make a crash less survivable anyway, assuming you have the 99% of air bags that aren’t Claymore mines.

      With Toyota you could take out your floor mat, add a zip tie to hold the floor mat in place, and/or exacto knife the gas pedal to give more clearance between the floor and pedal to eliminate possible entrapment. All easy fixes – and Toyota was doing it in other countries while “negotiating” to limit those changes in the US. One roasted CHP officer and family letter, the crap hit the fan.

      With GM ignition switches the problem is solved by using just the ignition key, and getting the switch replaced. These are things like with Toyota, the ordinary owner can do (that is take all the crap off the car key and just use the car key)

      Go back to the Ford Explorer rollover issues, the average consumer could simply increase the tire pressure to a more safe level, and within spec of the way the tire was designed, problem solved. Ride is rougher – but an easy obvious fix.

      On the other hand, the Ford bad cruise control relays that were in over 10 million vehicles left owners with no recourse beyond don’t park in a garage. The relay could be energized even with the key out, ignition off and car parked. Ford dragged their feet on the recalls, houses burned, lives lost.

      In my book, the Toyota issue and GM issue fall into – you feckin’ dirt bags – but at least the owner can take action on their own to be safe. Same with the Ford rollover issues on the Explorer.

      The Jeep gas tank issues I have mixed feelings. They built it to the minimum standard of the era, and it past testing for the era – but almost 3X more people have been roasted alive in Jeep GC than in the Pinto – and less Jeep GC on the road than total Pintos built. So there appears to be something worse wrong, statistically speaking.

      Honda apparently knew there were problems with Takata airbags years ago but extinguished any internal testing on probable cause. That is a huge ball of suck. A consumer can’t do anything.

      Ford apparently made a conscious decision to game crash tests in their top selling vehicle to make, maybe an extra $30 million a year. It defies logic. By Occam’s razor says the most logical answer – is the answer.

      All of these problems, Toyota floor mats and gas pedals, GM ignition switches, Ford Explorer rollovers, Takata airbags in Honda products, and Ford leaving out a safety device have one key factor in common.

      Profit.

      Every single one of these companies made a decision based around profit.

      The Toyota PPT that indicated they saved $100 million as a win, negotiating a limited recall with the NHTSA in 2007 – when they knew there was a bigger problem.

      GM saving pennies per vehicle (stupid, stupid, stupid) by using ignition switches they knew were out of their own engineering specification.

      Ford solving the “rough riding” issue of the Explorer by recommending tire pressures as low as 26 PSI – out of specification of the OEM tires they selected for the vehicles. Firestone got screwed over IMHO when Ford saved a few dollars on suspension components to soften the ride of a truck. Ford basically killed people here over air pressure so they would get better product reviews for a “comfortable ride.”

      Honda buried the airbag issue in attempt to save money on preventing a recall. Again, the internal documents leaked out of Honda show it.

      Ford apparently made a stupid decision again – in the name of profit.

      This is the reason we have government nannies regulating auto manufacturers like they’re making pharmaceuticals. It also is a pretty solid indication of impotent the system is in catching this stuff in the first place.

      This is why we can’t have nice things.

      We’re incredibly fortunate to have an extremely safe motor fleet in general – but pennies are saved due to greed and stupidity. Those pennies saved result in billions of add on cost to all of us through tougher regulations.

      It sucks.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        If you made a book detailing the safety cost-cutting of the motor industry I’d buy it, well made post ApaG.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Lack of integrity explains it all.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        I’m sorry, but the Toyota floor mat issue needs a case other than the CHP officer’s family (wrong mats) to validate.

        Toyota’s strategy in handling that case may have been poor, but that particular crash was not caused by a design defect.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Wasn’t my point – and I get, understand, agree, don’t dispute the facts that the dealer put in the wrong floor mats in the Lexus ES that likely caused pedal entrapment (likely I say because the vehicle was BBQed to a point that IIRC there was no conclusive evidence on exact cause – but this was the best possible scenario they could figure out).

          The accident brought the story to the surface, which led the the leak/discovery of the Toyota PPT memo, that declared that the “negotiation” of a recall around floor mats and pedal entrapment led to $100 million in savings by avoid it is also solid fact.

          Toyota had done wider recalls in other regions, but gamed the system, with the NHTSA being complicit, to avoid a broader recall.

          The CHP incident made national news, and shined the light in the kitchen that exposed the real roaches running around.

          That was my point.

          Toyotas solution to these issues depended on the vehicle:

          * Remove all weather floor mats and replace with new ones

          * Provide a fastner (aka ziptie) to some model floor mats to hold them in place so they don’t entrap

          * reshape (translation carve off) some plastic and rubber on gas pedals to improve the clearance between the gas pedal and the floorboard when full depressed, as it was found to be inadequate in some models

          Some vehicles got a combination of repairs.

          None of this was related to the secondary issue of CTS gas pedals (the company, not the Cadillac) with wonky springs that could result in slow return or being stuck.

          It never ceases to amaze me, even after TTAC spelled out the final findings in a well written article, the insistence that some maintain that there was never a problem with Toyota floormats, gas pedal design when it came to clearance tolerances, or how floormats were anchored.

          Hundreds of millions cars built prior to this issue that never had widespread pedal entrapment issues as People Exhibit A that there was a real engineering problem around some very basic components.

          The same people that insist that despite the final findings Toyota did zero wrong, are the same ones that ignore the leaked documents out of Honda showing they knew almost a decade ago that Takata airbags were turning into Claymore mines, and ignoring the problem. Well, Takata was the supplier so Honda isn’t at fault.

          If I apply that same weak sauce logic, than GM wasn’t at fault for the supplier problem power steering failure in HHR and Cobalts, and Ford wasn’t at fault for almost all of their products immolating due to bad Texas Instrument relays.

          In all those cases – the manufacturers knew there was a supplier problem, and either punted it down the road (GM electric power steering failures), buried and told the engineers to stop researching (Honda airbags), or fought the NHTSA every step of the way while still using the bad part (Ford cruise control relays).

          They all suck.

          If anything the last 7 to 8 years have proven out one sad point. Everyone does it. Detroit, Tokyo, Munich, Seoul, they all do it.

          We end up paying because of the overhead of billions of dollars in regulations, enforced by a toothless agency in bed for the automakers, that automakers are forced to build to because apparently as you climb the corporate ladder at an auto maker, ethics becomes a casualty.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You’re horribly naive or disingenuous when you imply that only one car maker negotiates with NHTSA. That’s particularly true when it’s the automaker that GM fanboys feel obliged to hate.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        “Every single one of these companies made a decision based around profit.”

        On what other basis do corps make any decision? Corps are amoral entities that have no other function than make as much profit as possible. This is why it is so absurd to grant corps status as people with all of the rights attendant, but none of the moral underpinnings that actual people have.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Which is why that decision was probably the worst thing to come out of the Supreme Court, ever. An EPIC fail. The fallout will be legendary, and a great loss for average Americans.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    So who is the bigger low life then?

    GM for ignoring ignition switch problems after the fact?

    Or Ford for knowingly omitting a key safety part, saving $58 a truck, and trying to game the IIHS crash tests.

    You can tell someone not to hang four pounds of crap off their car key and give them a new switch.

    If you own the impacted truck (no pun intended), well – sucks to be you.

    And people wonder why there is so much government oversight to the automotive industry.

    I thought the GMT9XX launch went bad and the 2008 Tundra update was incredibly ill-timed (no fault of Toyota) but Ford is finding new ways to screw this one up.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      My cynicism could absorb Ford accepting a poor score in one crash test rating to save $58/unit.

      What really irks me is that it looks like they tried to game the ratings system.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        EXACTLY this.

        If Ford had left the part out of all trucks to save $58, you could shrug and go, well that was a stupid beancounter decision.

        Instead the put it in the most popular model, as that is the one the IIHS crashes, with pretty solid knowledge the others would slip by. Had someone not tipped the IIHS off, and they did the unusual step of crashing the other body styles, no one would have known. Well not for 3 or 4 years until an insurance company ran the math and started wondering why PI claims were so much higher on certain model F-150s, and not on others.

        By then a refresh would be on the way and Ford would go, “gee, we didn’t know.”

        They got caught gaming the system.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          I guess they forgot the Pinto lesson. Willful deceit should be dealt with severely – as in massive fines. Money is all that matters so make it hurt real bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Did Ford advertise its crash ratings as applicable across all F-150s?

      Not sure what they did was outright illegal, but yes, now that they have been exposed, it’s quite ugly. They had better insist that the update “would have been applied across all F-150s in the coming model year.”

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I don’t think it’s illegal.

        I don’t think any laws were broken.

        But it was beyond shady.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          There are literally thousands of new laws enacted just since 1973 alone, I’m sure at least one law or regulation was broken or could be interpreted as broken.

          https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/statistics

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    Yes indeed. It’s good old-fashioned consumer fraud on top of being wildly irresponsible.

  • avatar
    northshorerealtr

    “In 2015 many of those ratings moved to “good,” but when optional crash avoidance systems were installed on the car. For instance, the front crash mitigation package on the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which scored a “good” rating when equipped with that option, costs $2,800.”

    Am I mis-interpreting this section of the article? It seems to imply that the C-class (and maybe others) ONLY got a “good” rating if the vehicle was equipped with this option? Does that mean those cars unequipped with crash avoidance got lesser ratings? Does this imply the testers themselves are “gaming” the ratings?

    And, does this imply a not-so-subtle kick to make this a required feature in the future in order to “pass” the tests?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Shareholders come first.

    Ford management should be ashamed of this trivial cost saving exercise.

    To top it off the pickups that don’t have this protection are the ones most likely to be driven with larger loads and more miles by business.

    Ford what the fnck are you thinking?

    I wonder what piece of spin Mike Levine will come up with this time in Ford’s defence.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Mike Levine said (I’m paraphrasing) the ’15 F-150 in the safest F-150 so far and the safest truck in it’s class, in all crash scenarios and “in all cab configurations” (quote!!). That may be a carefully crafted statement, spreading or averaging ratings or ‘stars’ among all cabs, meaning “over all”‘ it’s the safest pickup out there, in its class. It may be true in that case. Except there may not be a *safer* pickup truck in its class, regardless of cab configuration.

  • avatar
    beastpilot

    Since we’ve decided $116 is cheap (There are two of these things per truck), what’s the limit to where we wouldn’t hassle Ford for leaving off a safety device because of cost?

    $200? $500? $1000?

    If as a society, you make safety the priority over cost, you end up with something that looks like commercial aviation, which while very safe, is also extraordinarily expensive, especially in dollars per life saved.

    Maybe we should look at how often small offset crashes actually occur and see how expensive this is per life saved.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Small offset crashes are one of the most common crashes that result in fatalities and severe injury. They certainly aren’t as common as the garden variety rear ending. But when they happen, 25% chance you’re dead. That’s expensive for everyone.

      You’re COMPLETELY missing the point here by the way.

      Ford included it in the model they knew they would be tested per IIHS procedure. They purposely did not include it in the models that typically would not be tested per IIHS procedures.

      If someone hadn’t tipped the IIHS off, the F-150 would have gotten the good rating across the board, with Ford knowing full well this wasn’t the case in the other body styles.

      It isn’t the cost – which when you do the math on 600K units a year X2 comes out to less than $70 million total in non-EBITDA revenue. So the actual bottom line number is even smaller – a lot smaller.

      It was the trying to game the system and misrepresent the safety inherent in the entire F-150 product line. That’s the problem here.

      If Ford left them off of all trucks – no problem. If Ford installed them on all trucks and raised the price $50 a unit – no problem. Ford left them off on the truck body styles typically not crash tested, and included it only on the body styles typically crash tested.

      Big problem.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “It was the trying to game the system and misrepresent the safety inherent in the entire F-150 product line. That’s the problem here.”

        I do hope NHSTA gets wind of this.

      • 0 avatar
        beastpilot

        I’m not the one missing the point. The TTAC article is the one that focuses on the cost, and most comments in this thread call out Ford for leaving out such a cheap item. I was trying to point out that you can’t apply safety without considering cost as well.

        Agree that the discussion should be about IIHS’s testing methods and how it drives automakers to game the system.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Automotive equivalent of teaching to the test?

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I wonder if the trucks being tested are with the tow package or without, we can’t forget that Ford decided to use a thinner frame on the non-tow package F150s.

    Ford is messing up the system for everyone, most of all the consumer, first with the Cmax, now with the F150.

  • avatar
    John

    As I see it, another problem for Ford is that this leaves them open to punitive damages in a lawsuit where someone in a truck without the $58 list price bars, undoubtedly $5.80 cost to Ford bars, is seriously injured. Punitive damages are not covered by insurance, and are not a tax deductible business expense, unlike ordinary damages.

    Another intesting thing is the enormous difference in cost/benefit ratio between adding a little steel for crash protection, vs. air bags or collision avoidance systems.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Ford lowers the bar, again.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I’m reminded of the corners cut when the Ford Pinto gas tank was designed. From Popular Mechanix.

    “In today’s environment, those measures unquestionably would have been taken. But at the time, management’s attitude was to get the product out the door as fast as possible. So, Ford did a cost-benefit analysis. To fix the problems would cost an additional $11 per vehicle, and Ford weighed that $11 against the projected injury claims for severe burns, repair-costs claim rate and mortality. The total would have been approximately $113 million (including the engineering, the production delays and the parts for tens of thousands of cars), but damage payouts would cost only about $49 million, according to Ford’s math. So the fix was nixed, and the Pinto went into production in September 1970.”

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    Chevy Cruze “C” Pillar Embarrassment

    Just prior to the Chevy Cruze introduction, I posted on TTAC select quotes from Automotive Engineering (SAE publication) how the Cruze failed the side crash test, small pieces of sheetmetal were added to better tie the “C” pillar into the roof and floor pan, and it passed with flying colors.

    I went on to quote the senior engineer, by name, who was so giddy with himself all the money he was going to save GM by LEAVING IT OUT IN ALL JURISDICTIONS THAT DID NOT MANDATE SIDE CRASH TESTING.

    I’ve tried to locate that post but have not been able to do so.

    BTW, the total cost to install the four pieces (top and bottom both sides) was about $18 if I recall correctly.

    Go back up and re-read where it says a failure was turned into passing with flying colors…

    How much pain, suffering, and cost did GM choose to ignore when this decision was made? How many deaths and serious injuries did GM knowingly blow off to save a few bucks?

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I quote from the article:

      “Not only will there be different powertrains in different markets, but the chassis itself will vary depending upon local crash-protection requirements to ensure a maximum score n each country’s test, Mertens explained.
      In particular, there will be reinforcements to the B-pillars and the rocker panel area of cars for some markets, but not for others. “We will add or delete those as local safety standards require,” Mertens said. -Peter Mertens, Global Vehicle Line Executive for Compact Cars

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      GM has proven time and time again that they are a scumbag company with a scumbag ethos.

      Nothing General Motors does/fails to do should surprise or shock anyone.

      There should be many, many GM employees criminally charged and prosecuted over the recent ignition cylinder issue, for starters.

  • avatar
    tooloud10

    What’s really bad is the number of ’15 F150 Supercrew owners that have been modifying or outright removing these “crash bars” in order to fit larger wheels/tires. There are dozens of mentions of this.

    http://www.f150forum.com/f118/found-these-under-my-truck-296653/

  • avatar
    CarPerson

    To SC5door

    I sincerely thank you for finding this. Sorry for the confusion about the pillar definition (you are correct that it is the “B” pillar)

    It is in a published document for God and all to see.

    A high-ranking GM person states that unless forced to by law, a cheap and highly effective side crash protection solution will not be installed in Chevy Cruzes destined for that market.

    I was stunned beyond belief when I read this, as I believe most would be.

    CarPerson

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