06 November 2005

Why Don't People Buy American Cars?

It could have something to do with things like poor engineering when it comes to basic issues like safety:

The Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest earned IIHS's highest rating of "Good" for side impact protection and the added designation of "Best Pick," indicating that they performed particularly well. The Honda Odyssey also earned a rating of "Good" in the test.

The Ford Freestar and Mazda MPV, when tested without their optional side airbags, were rated "Poor," the Institute's worst score.

When the Freestar was tested with side airbags installed, it earned a rating of "Acceptable," the second-best of four possible ratings. . . .

The head of the dummy in the driver's seat of the Mazda MPV was struck by the barrier as it crashed into the minivan. While the impact was not hard, the Institute said, any impact should be prevented.

"Plus the MPV's structure was marginal, so there was more intrusion that contributed to high forces on other parts of the dummies," said Lund. "In a crash of similar severity in the real world, it's likely that a driver would suffer internal organ injuries as well as rib fractures. The rear passenger possibly would sustain a fractured pelvis." . . . .

The Chevrolet Uplander and Dodge Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country minivans were not tested because they are undergoing design changes to improve their side impact safety. They will be tested early next year, the Institute said, along with the Kia Sedona minivan.

Also, who is and is not domestic, is ambiguous in today's marketplace:

Headquartered in Hiroshima, Japan, and started in 1931, Mazda has made its mark in the automotive market through creating cars that are both affordable and fun to drive. While Mazda’s largest shareholder is Ford Motor Company, which owns 33.4 percent of the company, it is a publicly held and traded corporation on the Nikkei exchange.

In North America alone, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) directly and indirectly employs more than 30,000 people. With headquarters in Irvine, Calif., Mazda operates facilities in several states and provinces, including R&D and emissions facilities in Irvine and Flat Rock, Mich., and manufacturing in Flat Rock as well. Mazda’s port facilities include Port Hueneme, Calif., Tacoma, Wash., Midlothian, Texas, Jacksonville, Fla., Woodhaven, Mich., and Baltimore, Md.

Mazda also operates several U.S. facilities where its vehicles are built. All MAZDA 6 Sports Sedans, Sport Wagons, and 5-Doors are built at the AutoAlliance International facility in Flat Rock, Mich., a joint venture between Mazda Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company. In addition, the Tribute model line is built in Kansas City, Mo., and all B-Series trucks are built at Mazda’s Twin Cities facilities in Minneapolis, Minn.

You decide.

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