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Old 03-01-2007, 01:36 PM   #1
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They really don't build 'em like they used to!

WASHINGTON — Those minor fender benders might cost more than you think, according to new crash tests released Thursday by the insurance industry.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that most bumpers on midsize cars do little to prevent costly damage to vehicles, even in low-speed crashes of up to 6 miles per hour. The crashes frequently occur in parking lots and in commuter traffic.

Testing for the first time by the Virginia-based Institute found that only three midsize vehicles — the Mitsubishi Galant, Toyota Camry and Mazda 6 — sustained less than $1,500 in repairs from each of the four crash tests.

The tests were conducted to review damage from front, rear, front corner and rear corner crashes.

"The cars with the lowest repair bills after our new bumper tests still sustained much more damage than they should have in some of the tests," said Adrian Lund, the Institute's president. "We got crumpled grilles and headlights plus buckled fenders in impacts at speeds equivalent to an average person walking fast."

The Institute conducted tests on 17 midsize cars in low-speed tests. In one test of the front-end at 6 mph, four vehicles — the Nissan Maxima, Volkswagen Passat, Pontiac G6, and Hyundai Sonata — had damages of more than $4,000.

By comparison, the Institute conducted similar tests on a 1981 Ford Escort and found the front-end test only caused $86 in damages. They said it highlighted federal requirements that were in effect until 1982 that required bumpers to keep damage away from vehicle safety equipment and sheet metal parts in crashes of up to 5 mph.

Since 1982, the Institute said the required test speeds have been cut in half, leading to more damage.

Automakers said they work to design vehicles to resist low-speed collision damage. Nissan, for example, said it believes the Maxima "performs competitively in terms of cost of repair."

Volkswagen of America Inc. said that "while low-speed collision repairs are an element of the total cost of ownership, we're confident that Volkswagen products continue to provide exceptional customer value." <<Mmm Hmm... >>

General Motors Corp. said in a statement that the tests "have everything to do with damageability, but they are really not an occupant safety issue. These are new tests and we are assessing the results."

Serious injuries are uncommon in low-speed crashes, and the institute's bumper tests did not assess passenger safety.
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Old 03-01-2007, 02:27 PM   #2
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theclencher -

Integrated bumpers suck .... but they look so cool!!!!!

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Old 03-01-2007, 03:24 PM   #3
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in the past the front of a car was made of metal with a metal bar in front of that with sometimes rubber blocks on it.

now the bumpers have gone and the entire front if the car is made of plastic.


still pedestrian safety and aerodynamics are also considerations of course....
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:13 PM   #4
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My mid-80s Volvo was an absolute tank. One night a drunk driver in a newer Chrysler backed into it at maybe 10mph. The police showed up and asked me where the impact took place so I pointed to the scuff mark on the left rear corner. (I rubbed it off with my fingers the next day.) The other car, which I eventually saw in the daylight, was completely torn up and cracked by the impact. Stupid driver, solid technology! Funny thing is, that car had a curb weight almost identical to my Prius.
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:22 PM   #5
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I think designers are trying to make bumpers softer for pedestrian safety. People are better off being struck by a newer car with plastic bumpers than an old one with chrome.
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Old 03-01-2007, 04:46 PM   #6
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My mid-80s Volvo was an absolute tank. One night a drunk driver in a newer Chrysler backed into it at maybe 10mph. The police showed up and asked me where the impact took place so I pointed to the scuff mark on the left rear corner. (I rubbed it off with my fingers the next day.) The other car, which I eventually saw in the daylight, was completely torn up and cracked by the impact. Stupid driver, solid technology! Funny thing is, that car had a curb weight almost identical to my Prius.
My Dad had a 1971 Chevy Impala. One day in the 1970's, somewhere in Hollywood I think, me and my sister in the back seat feel a little "bump" while stopped in traffic. It turns out that we were at the front of a 3 car fender-bender. Our Chevy Impala at the front, a late 60's Chevy Impala at the back, and a Japanese compact car (Datsun?) in the middle. Both Chevy's were without a scratch. The Datsun was literally compacted .

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Old 03-01-2007, 05:01 PM   #7
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I think designers are trying to make bumpers softer for pedestrian safety. People are better off being struck by a newer car with plastic bumpers than an old one with chrome.
I do think that cars are much more complex than they used to be. If they sacrificed style and aerodynamics, they could come up with a safe bumper that looks "old school" but doesn't cost an arm and a leg to repair.

But ... maybe it wouldn't sell.

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Old 03-01-2007, 06:05 PM   #8
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In the days of detriot Iron, they were all made like the Queen Mary, but I think pound-for-pound, cars are much safer today.
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:22 PM   #9
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Check it out though: 6 mph impact => $4,000+ in damages
vs.
$86 in damages on '81 Escort!

This is why car insurance is so G*#&$%& D^%&$*&#@ expensive!!! Well, that and insurers are greedy bast$%@#s.

I believe the Tempo/Topaz was constructed with 5 mph bumpers too so you can have the styled plastic bumper covers and the cost effective durability if the manufacturer decides to make it a design objective.
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:34 PM   #10
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Here's the CTV News Article about the low-speed tests. (there's a video link about the story on the right side of the page)

Attachment 239

Looks like the bumpers are simply too low. The barrier just hits the headlights, hood, etc. According to the story, bumper standards are higher in Canada than the USA: "...which means that some cars available down south are not considered road worthy north of the border."

It would be nice to know which cars those are.
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