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Top Score for Reactive Head Restraint in the new Opel Astra

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BURSCHEID, Germany, February 10, 2010; The Opel Astra is positioned to rank top in the compact segment as indicated by a review of experts. The independent testing authority Euro NCAP and Germany's largest automobile club, the ADAC (Allgemeine Deutsche Automobilclub e.V.), recently gave the reactive head restraint - which reduces the risk of whiplash in the event of a crash - the highest rating to date. Auto testers have also given high marks to the well-designed interior. The materials, look and feel, and design of the interior appear to form a unified whole. Cleverly placed and designed package trays and a newly developed drawer under the passenger seat ensure a clutter-free interior. Johnson Controls has contributed its expertise in this vehicle segment by supplying the reactive head restraints, seats, instrument panel, displays, floor console, door panel, headliner, and batteries.

After receiving the "Golden Steering Wheel" award, the Opel Astra also had to further differentiate itself in the crash test of the independent consumer protection organization Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Program). The result: the highest rating with five stars. The head restraint achieved an absolute top value of 3.74 out of a possible 4.00 points in the simulated rear impact test, which assesses the risk of whiplash. This is the best rating Euro NCAP has ever given in this test.

Safety devices rated best in crash test

The head restraint is effectively constructed: once activated, it automatically returns to its initial position, making it fully functional again - without the need for a costly trip to the dealers' garage. A major benefit is that the actuator is integrated into the lower backrest, meaning in the event of a rear impact collision, it is activated by the passenger's pelvis. The advantage of integrating it here is that the body has maximum contact with this part of the backrest. Normally, most conventional systems integrate the actuator into the upper backrest. This can be a problem for small or petite passengers, as they cannot always activate the head restraint. "The head restraint shoots forward in just 25 milliseconds," explained Holger Jetses, vice president and general manager of GM/Opel business unit at Johnson Controls. "This prevents rearward displacement of the head - otherwise known as whiplash." This head restraint system is standard in the Opel Astra in almost all countries throughout Europe.

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