DETROIT - The all-new Buick LaCrosse and the Chevrolet Malibu were among the recipients of this year's Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
"Institute tests represent the four most common kinds of crashes," said IIHS president Adrian Lund. "Getting through these tough tests and earning the Institute's highest award means the Malibu and LaCrosse are in the top tier for safety."
The Top Safety Pick for LaCrosse and Malibu are significant because their principal competitors from Lexus, Acura, Toyota, and Honda respectively were dropped from the list, which for the first time required a "good" rating in a roof strength test. This test is a measure to help determine protection in rollover crashes, which are responsible for 9,000 highway deaths a year.
"Customers continue to tell us that safety is a top consideration in a new vehicle purchase and we are listening," said Susan Docherty, GM vice president of U.S. Sales.
In the roof strength test, a metal plate is pushed against one side of a roof at a constant speed. To earn a good rating for rollover protection, the roof must withstand a force of four times the vehicle's weight before reaching five inches of crush. This is called a strength-to-weight ratio.
"This recognition is important because customers are increasingly placing trust in credible third-party reports," Docherty said. "That's why the roof strength of the 2010 LaCrosse and Malibu were important to get right. We think this is one more reason for consumers to consider these cars."
Achieving a "good" rating in front and side crash tests and rear impact as well as electronic stability control were the other criteria used to select the 27 vehicles that received Top Safety Pick for 2010 compared with 94 in 2009. The Institute told automakers in January that it was adding the rollover test.