Toyota Calls IIHS Safety Report 'Misleading'
Carmaker says survey should note not all Toyota vehicles were tested
After being shut out of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety -- not a single Toyota vehicle earned a Top Safety Pick nod -- the company is striking back, calling the report "misleading."
Toyota's argument, in a nutshell, is that the report implies that all Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicles were tested (around 38 models in all), when in fact only five were part of the survey -- its point being that zero-for-five is much different than zero-for-38.
The IIHS responds that automakers need to nominate vehicles for testing if they are released outside of the normal testing time frame at the start of the model year, in January. (The Institute tests early to give consumers looking to buy 2010 models the pertinent information.) Toyota did not nominate any additional vehicles, hence none but the five chosen by the institute were tested. A representative for the IIHS further commented that Toyota should be well-aware of the process, as it has been unchanged for several years.
The IIHS buys test models for the survey, but for those models nominated outside the testing period, the IIHS requires reimbursement from the automakers. Brian Lyons, safety and communications manager for Toyota, said the company chose not to nominate additional vehicles because of that expense amid the poor economic climate, though that statement has yet to be confirmed from Japan.
Toyota has put the following statement up on its Web site: "On November 18, 2009, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a news release headlined: '27 Winners of 2010 Top Safety Pick Award.' Within the release, IIHS states: 'Missing the mark: Not a single model from the world’s biggest automaker by sales is represented among this year’s winners. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners but were shut out for 2010.'"
The statement continues: "IIHS’ statement that Toyota was shut out for 2010 is extreme and misleading, considering there are 38 Toyota, Lexus and Scion models, and only three were tested for roof strength by IIHS: Camry, RAV4 and Yaris.
You can read Toyota's statement in its entirety here.
And, for more information, read Eric Sofge's in-depth take on the list for MSN Autos here.
(Source: The New York Times' Wheels blog)
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