GM’s 2014 trucks first to win NHTSA five-star rating

GM’s 2014 trucks first to win NHTSA five-star rating
Tue, Aug 20 detroitnews.com

‘GM’s latest crop of pickups are … now officially the safest trucks available on the road today,’ said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.’GM’s latest crop of pickups are … now officially the safest trucks available on the road today,’ said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book. (GM)

Washington — General Motors Co.’s 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and High Country, and the GMC Sierra and Sierra Denali 1500 are the first pickups to receive a five-star overall vehicle score for safety since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration toughened its New Car Assessment Program starting in the 2011 model year.

NHTSA only tested the crew cab models of Silverado and Sierra. GM said it expects crew cab models to account for 60 percent of its 2014 light duty full-size pickup sales.

“Safety is as important to truck buyers as it is to car buyers,” said Gay Kent, GM general director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. “Silverado and Sierra set a benchmark for pickup truck safety by offering a full array of advanced features designed to protect occupants before, during and after a collision.”

Ford Motor Co.’s F-150, Chrysler’s Dodge Ram 1500 and the 2013 Toyota Tundra all received four-star overall ratings. NHTSA hasn’t yet rated Toyota’s new 2014 Tundra, which goes on sale this month.

GM’s trucks received four stars in the 2013 model-year NHTSA crash tests, before the automaker completed its upgraded trucks.

“GM’s latest crop of pickups are not only more fuel-efficient than the generation they are replacing, they’re now officially the safest trucks available on the road today,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

“While Ford’s F-Series still wears the crown as the top-selling pickup truck in the U.S., the 2014 Silverado and Sierra are now better positioned to challenge Ford in the highly competitive, not to mention profitable, full-size pickup truck segment,” he said. “Although a five-star NHTSA rating will certainly help to sway those that remain on the fence, the majority of truck buyers are fiercely brand loyal and prioritize towing capacity and power over safety, so don’t expect to see the Silverado and Sierra leapfrog the F-Series based on safety alone.”

Prior to the tougher tests unveiled for the 2011 model year, 87 percent of models received four or five stars (out of five possible) for side-impact crashes, and 95 percent earned top marks for frontal crashes. In the 2013 model year, less than 20 percent of models tested received five stars in rollover tests.

The new trucks — which account for much of GM’s North American profits — include many safety upgrades including backup rear cameras, additional air bags and more collision-avoidance systems. The trucks have new standard lap belt pretensions in the front-seat safety belts. The trucks now have six standard air bags, including dual-stage frontal air bags, head-curtain side-impact air bags with rollover protection, and seat-mounted side-impact air bags.

Silverado and Sierra will offer fully boxed frames, extensive use of high-strength steel, and several optional safety features, including forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and safety-alert seat.

Safety hasn’t always been a top priority for automakers in pickups. Automakers were slower to add electronic stability control — an anti-rollover technology — to pickups than other larger vehicles like SUVs that were more often used by families. And optional air bags in trucks lagged other vehicles.

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