Judge Orders Ford To Make Crash Tests On Crown Victoria

DETROIT March 17, 2004; Sharon Silke Carty writing for Dow Jones reported that Ford Motor Co. is being ordered to conduct crash tests on plastic safety packs the company has offered for Crown Victoria police cars to protect gas tanks from rupturing in high-speed rear-impact crashes.

Last Thursday Illinois Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto ordered the automaker to conduct a 75-mph crash test on the trunk pack by May 15, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said in a statement that the company is " confused" by the testing requirement, saying Ford has already tested the trunk pack in November at 75-mph speeds and with 200 pounds of police equipment in the trunk. Those tests showed the trunk pack prevented punctures of the gasoline tank, she said.

Cueto characterized some Ford brochures, which were distributed last year denouncing testing done in Dallas, as deceptive. The brochure was mailed to police departments natiowide.

Vokes said the Dallas tests "involved sharp steel objects welded together and aimed at the fuel tank, conditions that Dallas failed to disclose."

"Ford never intended to include Illinois law enforcement customers in the national mailing of Ford's 'Setting the Record Straight on Dallas' brochure, a brochure that was widely publicized and available on the Internet," the Ford statement said. "Doing so was an honest mistake."

The plastic trunk packs offered by Ford are one of several solutions the company has put forth. The automaker is also developing a fire-suppression system for future models of the Crown Victoria.

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