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View Poll Results: Would you support lower safety standards to have more small cars in North America?
I already own a crash helmet - bring 'em on! 27 72.97%
Bad idea. Hummers don't need imported hood ornaments. 10 27.03%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-06-2007, 01:18 PM   #11
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If cars can get higher FE AND met US safety standards, more folks will buy them. Instead they'll shy away from them, especially seeing how ignoranuses in SUVs drive.
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Old 03-06-2007, 01:23 PM   #12
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I've heard from a number of sources that to pass a new vehicle to sell it in the USA, that it tends to cost $1,000,000 or more, just for all the testing, this would explane why relabling vehicles is so cheap, they already passed all the tests.
when looking at how safe a vehicle is, you have to look at how many people it's going to kill over all, not just passengers, this is part of why I don't have motorcycle insurance, the visability on a motorcycle is great, and if I hit someone else they will be fine, so all of the losses are mine.
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Old 03-06-2007, 01:28 PM   #13
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Before I vote

Before I vote, there are several factors at play that I can think of (with the exception of oil lobby, car makers not wanting to spend the money, etc.) that may require additional discussion. Personally, I would love to be able to import a Ford Ka, but would the American public be better-off in crashworthiness vs. economy?

The question isn't why, it's should these vehicles be imported...

North America Compared to Europe:
  • We have more major highways a with multi-lane, controlled-access design at higher speeds
  • With the exception of Sweden, we have safer guardrails, more break-away posts (light, sign, signal), and prevalent use of the "K-Rail"
  • Insurance plays a huge role in 5-MPH bumpers and the damage incurred at that speed (the IIHS has a large presence). If significant damage occurs in a < 5 mph test, would affording the insurance on these imported vehicles be a factor?
  • Pedestrian impact design safety is very important in Europe -- here we have more open-spaces, but also have major cities with high pesdestrian densities similar to Europe. The U.S. Gov't. hasn't mandated any changes with this regard, but will they or Transport Canada impose them soon?
  • The American public looks at a Mini and asks, "How safe is it?" Informed consumers check crash test results and find it's safer than an F-150 (vast minority understand this). Would they do the same for the new imports and would the media have a field day with scaring people like they love to do?
  • When up against the barrage of SUVs here, the occupant needs all they can get: curtain airbags, crumple zones, a safety cage, ABS, stability control, etc. Are these requirements going to be relaxed in this exercise (even though much of this isn't required -yet-)? Should all of this be rolled back for FE/emissions?
  • When seatbelts were mandated (and since), they have been controversial, are often considered an intrusion on individual rights, and aren't automatic. We know from study after study that they save lives in even the smallest crashes and most states have required their usage. If an inferior design (from a safety standpoint) is imported, does that seem like we're giving up on a lot of progress?

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Old 03-06-2007, 02:07 PM   #14
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One thing this conversation has me thinking: I'm convinced that if motorcycles were a recent invention, there's no way in hell they'd ever be permitted on North American roads.
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Old 03-06-2007, 02:54 PM   #15
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Unless the car was designed from the beginning for sale in the US, the cost of conversion is high. For comparison the current converted to US standard Smart car is selling for 26k in the states, a bit higher than even the Canadian price, the mid teens.
Actually the Smart Car is selling for far below 24k. Its starting somewhere near 11.-14k and maxing with all options near 20-22k. I could see 26k but that would be with either AMG or Brabus models(if AMG touched it and Brabus wasnt a British company.) My sources come from the website
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:20 PM   #16
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Yah, this poll needs more options, like should should hummers or other oversized vehicles be banned, or their drivers charged with more serious crimes if they get in an accident and someone dies (you knew it would do more damange in an accident, and accidents happen, therefore it is akin to firing bullets in the air, i.e. automatic manslaughter at a minimum).
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:43 PM   #17
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The premise of this poll is all wrong, as others have said.

The only reason that European cars (large AND small) that are not presently sold in the USA don't meet US crash standards is that the US standards require that an UNBELTED occupant be accommodated.

This accommodation takes the form of padding objects that a belted occupant would never hit, making so-called "passive knee restraints/bolsters" on dashboards, to ensure that the unbelted occupant in the front has their hips shattered in a bad collision as the bolster drives their thigh bones into the hips at high speed.

For example, G&K Automotive in LA has certified the present Model 450 smart car for sale in the USA. What they had to do in order to achieve this was pad all parts of the interior with foam, including the inside of the glass roof (!!), and reinforce the aluminium door frames against side intrusion (the smart was designed before side impact tests were mandatory). The basic body structure of the smart car was easily able to meet US standards, with no modification.

The version of the smart car sold in Canada also has reinforced door frames but none of the nonsensical padding for unbelted occupants.

Transport Canada said that the smart car was the ONLY vehicle - bar none - that has ever passed the (optional) rear impact test. This remains true over two years later.....

So yeah, European cars - small and large - are as safe as they need to be.
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Old 03-06-2007, 03:51 PM   #18
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SMART Safety

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Originally Posted by Mike T View Post
Transport Canada said that the smart car was the ONLY vehicle - bar none - that has ever passed the (optional) rear impact test. This remains true over two years later.....

So yeah, European cars - small and large - are as safe as they need to be.
I think the SMART was really engineered with safety in mind, and is probably the outlier in the import discussion.

We need to take a look at a list of vehicles, why they would/wouldn't pass, and take a look at it that way. Is the Citroen C1 safe? Ford Ka, Fiesta? Opel Astra (could easily be sold as a Chevy).

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Old 03-06-2007, 04:05 PM   #19
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Check those cars out on EuroNCAP.com; they're all four star cars. EuroNCAP is tougher than US test standards.
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Old 03-06-2007, 04:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by MetroMPG View Post
One thing this conversation has me thinking: I'm convinced that if motorcycles were a recent invention, there's no way in hell they'd ever be permitted on North American roads.
Ever since I realized the potential of EVs (back in the early '70s), I've been saying the same thing about ICE vehicles.

Imagine if Henry Ford had chosen electric instead of oil (and others followed with EVs), if motors, controllers, batteries (or other power sources) were ~100 odd years more mature, and EVs were as common as ICE cars today, there wouldn't be the gasoline infrastructure. What if someone proposed that we start using reciprocating internal combustion of petroleum distillates. What would the common wisdom say today? It's nearly imponderable.
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