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Automakers Urge Caution Regarding NHTSA Rollover Rating System

25 May 2000

Automakers Urge Caution Regarding NHTSA Rollover Rating System
    WASHINGTON, May 25 The following is a statement by Robert
Strassburger, Vice President, Vehicle Safety and Harmonization, Alliance of
Automobile Manufacturers, in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration's (NHTSA) Proposed Vehicle Rollover Rating System:

    "While we fully support efforts to reduce the incidence of rollovers, the
Alliance believes that NHTSA's proposed rollover rating is much too simplistic
to contribute to this goal.  Real-world rollover crashes involve many complex
factors-the driver, road conditions, environmental conditions, and vehicle
occupants-in addition to vehicle design considerations.  In fact, vehicle
characteristics are by far the smallest contributing factor in rollover
crashes involving injury and death.
    "The Alliance is surprised that NHTSA proposed this particular measure for
rating rollover propensity, since this same measure was rejected by the agency
as inappropriate for a safety standard or as a consumer information rating
more than 10 years ago.
    "Automakers are working to minimize the incidence of rollovers, through
consumer education and through the development of advanced technologies-
especially those designed to warn a driver to modify his or her behavior so as
to avoid the conditions that lead to a crash.  Manufacturers are also working
to reduce the risks from rollovers when they do occur through new occupant
protection safety measures."

    The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is a coalition of 13 car and
light truck manufacturers, representing BMW Group, DaimlerChrysler
Corporation, Fiat Auto SpA, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation,
Isuzu Motors America, Inc., Mazda North American Operations, Mitsubishi Motor
Sales of America, Inc., Nissan North America, Inc., Porsche Cars North
America, Inc., Toyota Motor North America, Inc., Volkswagen of America, Inc.,
and Volvo Cars of North America, Inc.  It was formed in January 1999 and
serves as a leading advocacy group for the automobile industry on public
policy matters.  Alliance member companies have approximately 600,000
employees in the United States, with more than 250 facilities in 35 states.
Alliance members represent more than 90 percent of U.S. vehicle sales.  For
more information, visit the Alliance website at http://www.autoalliance.org.