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DETROIT (AP) — Only two of nine midsize SUVs got the highest rating in crash tests done by an insurance industry group.
 
The Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain, both made by General Motors, received the highest "good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Toyota Highlander got the second-best "acceptable" rating in tests of 2014 models.
 
But the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Toyota 4Runner and Ford Explorer got "marginal" ratings, while the Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9 and Honda Pilot all were rated "poor."
 
The ratings are based on six crash test measurements done by the institute. Only the Equinox and Terrain got "good" ratings in a front overlap crash that mimics what happens when a car's front corner collides with another vehicle or an object like a utility pole. In the test, 25 percent of a vehicle's front end on the driver's side strikes a rigid barrier at 40 mph.
 
The test, instituted in 2012, is more difficult than the U.S. government's frontal crash test, in which a car strikes a rigid barrier head-on at 35 mph. IIHS says hitting only part of the front end makes it harder for cars to manage the energy from a crash. The test "continues to challenge manufacturers more than a year and a half after its introduction," the institute said in a statement.
 
The institute uses its crash test scores to prod automakers into adding safety devices or making their cars more crash-resistant.
 
The institute said the Equinox and Terrain, which are almost identical, were modified by GM in the new model year to strengthen their front structure and door-hinge pillars. In tests, the Equinox driver's space was well-maintained, and the crash dummy's movement was well-controlled, the institute said.
 
The institute changed its requirements for vehicles to get the "Top Safety Pick-Plus" designation this year. To earn that, vehicles must get "good" ratings in four crash tests, "good" or "acceptable" in the overlap test, and they must have available a front crash prevention system that either warns the driver of a crash or stops the vehicle with automatic braking.
 
Of the nine midsize SUVs, only the Equinox and Terrain and the Highlander qualified for "Top Safety Pick-Plus."
 
The Honda Pilot was the worst performer of the group, largely because the driver's space was seriously compromised in the overlap test, the institute said.
 
Honda said in a statement that with each redesign, the Pilot has been a leader in light-truck safety and driver-assist technologies "and we are committed that it will continue to do so in the future."
 
Published in National News
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 10:37

Senator McCaskill to grill GM CEO

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill will lead a Senate hearing on Wednesday to examine General Motors’ recent decision to recall 2.6 million vehicles for defective ignition switches that have been linked to at least 12 deaths.

McCaskill is Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.

The subcommittee has jurisdiction over several federal agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Senator McCaskill’s hearing will focus on GM’s decisions, over more than 10 years, to not issue a safety recall, and will consider whether the NHTSA has the capability, data, and resources to effectively monitor vehicle safety defects.

McCaskill’s panel will hear from GM’s CEO Mary Barra, NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman, and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General Calvin Scovel.

Published in Local News
   A second new mid-size pickup truck will begin rolling off the assembly line at General Motors' Wentzville plant later this year.  In November, GM had announced plans to build the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck at its Wentzville plant.  Sunday, GM unveiled the 2015 GMC Canyon at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  It too will built in Wentzville.
   Wentzville Mayor Nick Guccione says the city is already seeing some benefits from the new truck lines. "They started hiring some people and they brought back some people who were laid off or moved out of the state," he said.  
   Guccione says all the 1,400 to 1,800 new jobs at the GM plant is good for the entire community because those employees patronize other local businesses.  "They go out to eat in our local restaurants. They buy homes in here," he said. "They go to the local vendors to buy products and services. So it's helped us tremendously."
   Guccione says the city's tax incentives and it's educated workforce were key factors in GM investing in its Wentzville plant.  
   The current product, full-size vans, and the new mid-size trucks will be built concurrently on the same assembly line.
 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 12:48

GM Invests $133 Million at Wentzville Plant

The General Motors plant in Wentzville gets an infusion of money from Detroit to help in the building of two midsize pickups.

 

General Motors will invest $133 million to add a third stamping press to its Wentzville Assembly and Stamping plant. It's where the  Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana are built.  But it's undergoing construction for production of GM’s next-generation midsize pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

Dave Baldridge with G-M tells me the move has the  potential for creating or retaining approximately 55 jobs...

Baldridge says the new press will increase the plant’s capacity in stamping fenders, doors and other key components for the new pickups and full-size vans.

Construction will begin next month and GM expects the press to be operational by early 2015.  

Wentzville Assembly employs approximately 2,000 employees across two shifts. 

Published in Local News

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