NEWS: Smart USA Responds to Fortwo IIHS Crash Tests

April 14, 2009
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Earlier today, we reported the (miserable) findings of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety's head-on crash tests with minicars and midsize cars - and now Smart USA has fired back at the IIHS.
In a blog entry on the Smart USA Insider website, Dave Schembri contends that the IIHS test is unnecessary; according to Smart, the tests "account for less than 1 percent of all accidents of this type." In addition, Smart says it's worthwhile to note that the feds don't require the type of testing the IIHS conducted.
Dave goes on to cite the IIHS' own barrier tests - which spawned five-star ratings in both frontal and side crash tests - as well as federal tests, which resulted in a five-star side crash test rating. The IIHS test in question was different from its standardized barrier test; this procedure pitted midsized cars against minicars from the same manufacturer.
Although all three minicars (Honda Fit, Smart Fortwo, Toyota Yaris) received the lowest rating of "Poor", the Fortwo - which was matched against a Mercedes-Benz C-class (Daimler owns Smart) - performed the worst, going airborne and rotating 450 degrees during the crash.
Smart says the test misses the real issue: moral responsibility. "Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this recent test does not address the issue of where we are heading as a society," Dave says. "The car you choose is a lifestyle choice and, more and more, people are choosing small yet safe cars, including the Smart Fortwo, for many reasons."
We'll have to wait and see if IIHS has a response to justify what Smart calls its "extreme test." In the meantime, Smart has set up a new website for Fortwo owners to share their safety stories at www.safeandsmart.com.

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