Posts Tagged ‘FHA’

SUV and small truck sales are booming again, and Detroit automakers have returned to their bad old ways. But when prices surpass the $4/gallon mark again, what plan do they have for the next gas crisis?

One simple answer: re-brand fuel-efficient cars they already sell in Europe. Believe it or not, both Ford and GM do quite well selling gas-sipping cars in Europe, where the price per gallon can easily double US prices.

But alas, it is not so simple. Under Federal “safety” regulations, it is illegal to sell European automobiles in the US market.

Back in 2008, an AP article went into all the difficulties:

But introducing the cars to the U.S. market isn’t as simple as changing the speedometer from kilometers to miles. Ford has to reconcile American and European safety regulations — everything from the color of rear turn signals to the positioning of crash test dummies — that will keep the cars from hitting U.S. highways anytime soon. Competing interests among automakers, governments and the insurance industry are hampering efforts to standardize safety requirements worldwide. That means extra engineering to make different versions of vehicles for different markets.

As noted in the article, there are dozens of minor differences in safety regulations. And those differences don’t necessary make vehicles any safer for the American consumer:

Medford said NHTSA’s test to make sure cars are safe for unbelted occupants is important in the U.S. market, where people who weren’t wearing seat belts make up 45 percent of all traffic fatalities. “The data that we have really drives the direction and the nature of the standards we develop,” he said. But car makers grumble that NHTSA’s requirement makes cars less safe for belted occupants, since protecting people without seat belts requires more powerful air bags and other changes.

Another major shortcoming in the American regulatory framework is in the design of bumpers. American bumpers only have to protect the car; whereas Europe bumper tests simulate crashes against pedestrians.

Smart car sold overseas for 9 years before reaching the US market

Read Full Post »