Seeing the latest report on fatal auto accidents, I was reminded of an older gentleman I knew that adamantly refused to wear a seat belt when driving his larger than life station wagon. He didn’t want to be “trapped” in the car!
Now the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has concluded that the chance of dying in a crash in a late model vehicle has fallen by more than one third in three years thanks to safety features. And among 2011 vehicles, a record nine of them have driver death rates of zero. On the down side, the gap between the safest and riskiest models remains wide.
Among the group of zero-death vehicles, two-thirds of them are SUV’s, while minicars and small cars dominate the worst list, “not surprising since these vehicles can’t protect as well as larger ones,” the IIHS said.
Here are the nine models with zero death rates based on registered vehicle years, 2011 and equivalent earlier models.
Audi A4 AWD, Honda Odyssey, Kia Sorento AWD, Lexus RX 350 AWD, Mercedes GL Class 4WD, Subaru Legacy AWD, Toyota Highlander hybrid AWD and Sequoia, and lastly, the Volvo XC90.
The top three with the highest rates of driver deaths were the Kia Rio, Nissan Versa sedan and Hyundai Accent. But not all the vehicles were small cars. In sixth place was the Chevy Camaro and it was followed by the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 4WD.
Honda has lowered its annual earnings forecast due to the cost of the Takata produced air bags here in the U.S. Honda was Takata’s largest customer. Honda is paying the full freight for the recall of about 4 million cars here, but hopes to get some of that back if it is found that Takata is at fault. And the company is hoping to benefit from the increased demand for SUV’s with the release of a restyled Pilot in the near future.
Along that line, Edmunds.com predicts that 1.15 million new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. this month. That is a 14.4 gain over January 2014. “New car shoppers, seemingly inspired by winter weather and low gas prices, are buying up trucks and SUV’s – particularly smaller ones,” said Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds. The Detroit three are all expected to enjoy increased sales.
One of the more fun cars you can drive is the Ford Focus RS. What the company said is an “all-new” RS will be previewed on February 3 at Ford’s European Headquarters in Cologne, Germany.
GM is halting production at its plant in St. Petersburg, Russia for two months due to low demand for its Opel models.