February 28, 2003

Import dealers association says consumers have right to choose SUVs

Washington, D.C. – In response to Wednesday’s Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee report on light trucks and SUVs, the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA), which represents over 10,000 international nameplate dealers, will submit testimony stating that as questions surface regarding SUVs and their safety, AIADA supports the ability of the consumer to choose the vehicles that best meet their transportation and lifestyle needs.

In outlining their position, AIADA stated:

  • Consumers have the right to choose the vehicle that best suits their
    transportation, financial, and lifestyle needs. As safety technologies
    develop, including airbag protection, anti-rolling devices, and warning
    indicators, the consumer should be allowed a full range of choices to
    best fit their automobile needs. The government should not be in the
    business of deciding which technology to offer consumers or what
    consumers might want. Consumers should choose the automobile that is
    right for them based on their transportation and fiscal needs.

  • Vehicle safety information is available for all consumers to make their
    purchase based on solid data. Consumer safety organizations like the
    Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data
    Institute, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety
    Administration (NHTSA) provide research and communications to the
    public so consumers can make informed decisions. These organizations,
    which work closely with the manufacturers, are dedicated to reducing
    highway crash deaths, injuries, and losses.

  • Working together, automobile manufacturers and NHTSA set safety
    standards. NHTSA is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and
    economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. By working with
    NHTSA, automobile manufacturers help ensure that all automobiles comply
    with the highest safety performance standards possible. SUVs have the
    same advanced technology that is available on passenger cars.

  • Automobile manufacturers have and continue to improve the safety system
    of their vehicles. There are many pieces of safety equipment in the
    cars we sell – equipment that has evolved over the years and continues
    to change as technology improves. First the seat belt, which was
    originally designed as a lap belt and changed to a shoulder strap, then
    the airbag which now deploys in side impact as well as front collision
    accidents, manufacturers continue to improve devices designed to
    provide a safe vehicle for consumers. Consumers demand safe vehicles,
    and manufacturers continue to improve their technology to meet these
    demands. Life-saving devices continue to be invented – by the

“AIADA believes that working together, automobile manufacturers and NHTSA can effectively set safety standards,” said Tim Smith, 2003 Chairman in expanding on AIADA’s position, “We support the automakers and the innovations that they have and continue to develop to improve the safety system of their vehicles.”

AIADA represents the 10,000 American automobile dealerships that sell and service international nameplate brands Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Isuzu, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes, MINI, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Porsche, Rolls Royce, Saab, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

The association’s web-site is www.aiada.org.

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