January 10, 2001
General Motors says NHTSA’s rollover ratings program is “overly simplistic”
Following the NHTSA’s release of a rollover ratings report yesterday, Bob Lange, GM Director Of Safety Engineering responded with this statement:
“GM appreciates that many consumers want comparative data when making their purchase decisions. However, the NHTSA’s overly simplistic rollover rating program merely confirms what many drivers already know-vehicles of various sizes and proportions, designed for varying consumer needs, handle differently. As such, we believe that many drivers also understand the solution and greatest opportunity to prevent injuries and fatalities caused from rollover crashes is responsible driver behavior that includes proper seat belt use and non-aggressive, sober driving.
Ignoring the many complex factors such as driver, roadway, and environmental conditions that make up real world rollover crashes, the NHTSA’s rollover ratings will neither help people avoid rollover crashes, nor reduce injury when rollovers happen. The NHTSA metric also does not comprehend rollover relevant vehicle factors such as tires, suspension, wheel base and inertial properties.
GM is proud of the designed-in crashworthiness and crash avoidance attributes of our vehicles that underscore our approach and commitment to overall vehicle safety. GM conducts a battery of tests intended to replicate a wide array of potential real world circumstances that a driver may encounter, including rollover. In April 1999, at a Society for Automotive Engineers Government/Industry meeting, GM introduced its longstanding metric we use to assess a vehicle characteristic potentially related to rollover, called, “stability margin.” Unlike the NHTSA’s metric, “stability margin” comprehends both the geometry of a vehicle as well as its dynamic performance. GM will continue to design its vehicles to the “stability margin” criteria, which we consider to be more comprehensive and relevant to real world driving.”