NHTSA Releases Chrysler and Dodge Minivan Crash Test Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released rollover resistance ratings and crash test results for model year 2001 Dodge and Chrysler minivans. The ratings are now available on the agency's World Wide Web site:www.nhtsa.dot.gov

For rollover resistance, the Chrysler Town and Country van, Chrysler Voyager van, Dodge Caravan van, and the Dodge Grand Caravan van are rated. All vehicles received three stars.

For frontal impact, the Chrysler Town and Country van, Chrysler Voyager van, Dodge Caravan van, and the Dodge Grand Caravan van are rated. All vehicles received four stars for both the driver and passenger.

For side impact, NHTSA rated the Chrysler Town and Country van, Chrysler Town and Country van with side air bags, Chrysler Voyager van, Dodge Caravan van, Dodge Grand Caravan van with side air bags, and the Dodge Grand Caravan van. The Chrysler Town and Country and the Dodge Grand Caravan received five stars for both the driver and rear passenger. The Chrysler Voyager and the Dodge Caravan received four stars for the driver and five stars for the rear passenger. The agency noted that there was an unusual occurrence for the rear sliding door in these tests. The left-side sliding door unlatched during the crash tests and partially opened. NHTSA's side impact crash test is designed to measure impact forces on the test dummy. Though the measured forces on the test dummy were low, resulting in the five- star rating, the unlatching and partial opening of the door raised a concern.

NHTSA has shared these crash test results with DaimlerChrysler and worked with the company to identify and understand the cause. During the crash event, the lock linkage mechanism from the key cylinder on the manual locking sliding doors triggered the latch release. DaimlerChrysler has informed NHTSA that it has already incorporated changes in the manufacture of these vehicles to address the problem. DaimlerChrysler also plans to contact current owners of the affected 2001 model year vehicles and recommend that they bring their vehicles in to the dealer to have this change made. There will be no charge to the consumer.

"This is an excellent example of how the government's crash test ratings program helps the American public," said NHTSA's Executive Director, L. Robert Shelton. "Our tests identified a problem and we worked together effectively with DaimlerChrysler to resolve it."

For both frontal and side impact, the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) reports crash test results in a range of one to five stars, with five stars showing the best crash protection for vehicles. Frontal tests should be compared only within the same weight class.

The Rollover Resistance Rating is an estimate of the risk of rolling over in a single vehicle crash. It does not predict the likelihood of that crash. The lowest rated vehicles with one star are at least four times more likely to roll over than the highest rated vehicles with five stars.

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