Isuzu Trooper: NHTSA Clears Isuzu Trooper

24 July 1997

NHTSA Clears Isuzu Trooper:

    WHITTIER, Calif. July 24 -- Isuzu Motors America, Inc. and
American Isuzu Motors Inc. (ISUZU) today confirmed they have been advised by
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of its decision to
deny Consumer Union's (CU) defect petition and recall request.  No further
action will be taken in regards to NHTSA's defect investigation of 1995-96
Isuzu Trooper models, as petitioned by Consumers Union, December 23, 1996.
    "NHTSA made this decision because its own testing of the Trooper failed to
show the same results alleged by CU... and more importantly... because it
again judged the CU test to be unscientific," said AIMI Senior Vice President,
General Manager, Terry Maloney.  By denying the Petition for a Defect
Investigation, NHTSA has soundly rejected Consumer Union's broad criticism of
the Trooper.
    "The Isuzu Trooper has been vindicated.  It is perhaps now the most
thoroughly scrutinized and tested SUV sold in the United States.  Trooper's
real-world performance record has also been validated by virtue of NHTSA's
recent engineering analysis and review.  NHTSA's decision is a victory for
Isuzu and Trooper owners and dealers everywhere," he continued.
    NHTSA's overall decision again calls into question the testing methodology
used by Consumers Union and Consumer Reports to evaluate SUVs and other
vehicle types.  Its "short course" avoidance test has been soundly and
repeatedly criticized by many respected automotive authorities as
unscientific.
    "In making its announcement, NHTSA and its staff of engineering
consultants have concluded that the Isuzu Trooper is a safe and thoroughly
tested vehicle.  It has been Isuzu's position from the outset that Consumer
Union's short-course avoidance test is the real issue in this matter... not
the Trooper's handling performance," Maloney added.

    KEY FACTS: Isuzu has submitted exhaustive engineering data and other
product information to NHTSA.  Drawn from these materials are the following
observations...
    -- Isuzu had no reports of accidents before the Consumers Union press
conference.  Even today, eleven months later, there is not a single confirmed
injury caused by a 1995-96 Trooper rolling over in the manner predicted by CU.
    -- The CU test method is not fair, because it is too easily influenced by
drivers, allowing them to knowingly or unknowingly tip-up a vehicle.
    -- The Isuzu Trooper is a thoroughly tested and safe vehicle.  These facts
are borne out in Isuzu's response to the NHTSA.  A three-part document which
includes specific answers to NHTSA questions, an Engineering Analysis by Carr
Engineering, Inc., an Engineering Analysis by S.E.A. Inc. and Dr. Gary
Heydinger.  The Isuzu response ran hundreds of pages.  It was based on
hundreds of hours of engineering analyses and testing.  The testing was
thoroughly documented using precision instruments and multiple video cameras.

SOURCE  Isuzu Motors America, Inc.



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