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DaimlerChrysler's Integrated Child Safety Seats Eliminate Installation

28 September 1999

DaimlerChrysler's Integrated Child Safety Seats Eliminate Installation, Compatibility Issues for Minivan Buyers
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 28 -- Eight out of every 10
portable child seats are installed incorrectly into vehicles according to the
National Safety Council (NSC) -- placing children at risk of death or injury.
DaimlerChrysler's best-selling minivans continue to offer a
solution with its integrated child safety seats.
    "Integrated child safety seats eliminate common compatibility and
installation issues that customers frequently experience with portable child
seats," said James P. Holden, DaimlerChrysler's Executive Vice President of
Sales and Marketing and General Manager of Minivan Operations.  "Our system
eliminates installation errors because the system is built directly into the
seat.  This is the perfect feature for minivan buyers who want to avoid
installation issues that could put their kids at risk."
    DaimlerChrysler was first to introduce integrated child safety seats to
the minivan segment in 1992.  The system folds, reclines and features a five-
point seat belt harness for children who are at least one year of age, weigh
between 22 and 50 pounds and are no more than 47 inches tall.  The option
costs $125 on a single passenger seat or $225 on a bench seat with two
integrated child seats.  The feature is offered on Plymouth Voyager, Dodge
Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans.
    The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believes integrated child
seats offer significant additional safety benefits.  They eliminate the need
for supplemental hardware, eliminate incompatibility and availability
problems, encourage the use of the back seat for transporting children, and
provide a restraint system that -- unlike seat belts -- are designed for
children.
    "Our research shows that integrated child safety seats are, without
question, part of the solution to child safety seat misuse and non-use," said
NTSB Chairman Jim Hall.  "DaimlerChrysler has been a leader in the development
of integrated seats."
    In addition to being first to offer integrated child seats,
DaimlerChrysler is the first automaker in the world to offer free child seat
inspections and fittings to customers who prefer to use portable child seats.
The program, called Fit for a Kid, begins this month in 52 dealerships in four
pilot markets (Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sacramento, Calif., and
Washington, D.C.) and will expand nationwide to more than 1,000 Chrysler,
Dodge, Jeep(R) and Plymouth dealerships by the end of 2000.
    "By offering safety programs like Fit for a Kid and safety features such
as our integrated child seat, we hope to further improve child seat safety on
two fronts," said Holden.  "And with close to eight million minivans sold, we
want to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our drivers and their
passengers."
    DaimlerChrysler sells over 600,000 minivans worldwide every year and owns
approximately 40 percent of the North American minivan market.  Since
introducing the minivan in November of 1983, DaimlerChrysler has sold nearly
eight million minivans and received more than 130 awards.
    After nearly 16 years, the minivan market remains strong.  Industrywide,
minivan sales account for approximately eight percent of all new vehicles sold
in North America.  For the past five years, annual industrywide minivan sales
have averaged 1.2 million a year.