Ford Fusion's crash scores lag rivals
Company wants car to be retested
BY JUSTIN HYDE
DETROIT FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF
(Global Auto Index)
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Ford Fusion an "acceptable" grade for frontal crashes and a "poor" score for side impact. Ford asked the group to redo both tests; it expects better scores next time.
WASHINGTON -- Sedans from BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus division earned top scores in new crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the group flagged subpar grades for the Ford Fusion sedan.
Ford Motor Co. said it was asking the institute to retest the Fusion, and would make side air bags standard equipment for 2007 models this year.
The institute, in its latest test of selected models, said it gave the BMW 3 Series and the Lexus IS a "silver Top Safety Pick" designation for good performance in its front and side crash tests, plus acceptable ratings for their seat/head restraint designs in rear tests.
Two other models, the Hyundai Sonata and the Pontiac G6 with optional side air bags, also received good scores in frontal offset tests and "acceptable" scores for side-impact crashes. The G6 received a "poor" score for side impact when tested without the optional air bags.
But the Fusion earned only an "acceptable" grade for frontal crashes, and a "poor" score for side impact. Most new models earn good scores for the IIHS's front-impact test. IIHS President Adrian Lund said the Fusion's scores were "not competitive with other cars in its class."
"The Fusion is a disappointment because it's a brand-new design," he said in a statement. "Ford has done a good job with some other recent models, but the Fusion is at the back of the pack among midsize cars for overall safety performance."
Ford spokesman Dan Jarvis said the Fusion's score resulted from damage to a test dummy's ankle during the Fusion's crash test, and that Ford had not been able to repeat the results.
Jarvis also said Ford would make side air bags standard in the Fusion starting with vehicles built in October. The IIHS tests vehicles with optional side air bags only if automakers request it and pay for the testing.
Ford has asked IIHS to redo both tests later this year. "We do expect better scores on both of these measures," Jarvis said.