Saab Automobile’s Head of Crash Safety Development, Per Lenhoff, says: "These Euro NCAP excellent results are very gratifying. Euro NCAP is an independent organisation, completely separate from car manufacturers, whose evaluations contain accessible and objective information for car buyers. That is why our goal was to finish at the top of the rankings. However, our Real Life Safety concept is, as always, the controlling factor which guides crash safety development at Saab."
In plain English, Real Life Safety means that Saab’s aim is to develop cars that provide the best possible safety in real-world accidents, not just laboratory simulations. This is why Saab’s technicians continually examine Saab cars that have actually been involved in real accidents. The results of these studies form the basis for improvements in construction and safety solutions, in addition to Saab’s own collision testing programme methods. These methods comprise of a total of 75 different test configurations, over 50 more than are legally required.
"Real-life situations are difficult to predict and no two collisions are alike. That is why the lessons learned from real accidents contribute invaluable information, and why Saab performs tests which are considerably tougher and more comprehensive than those required by law," says Per Lenhoff.
Euro NCAP conducts tests using three types of collision: a frontal impact and two different types of side impact. The test results are then evaluated according to a large number of parameters relating to driver and passenger safety. These are the tests for which the New Saab 9-3 has now been awarded five stars; a follow-up to the Saab 9-5’s success in 2000, when it was judged to be the safest car tested to date by Euro NCAP.
During the past year, Saab’s outstanding safety record has attracted a great deal of recognition through some impressive results in several field studies involving SAHR (Saab Active Head Restraint), which has been standard equipment on all Saab models since 1998. In November 2001, The Journal of Trauma in the United States published a study based on actual collisions and showed that SAHR reduces the risk of serious whiplash injuries as a result of rear-end impacts by 75 per cent.
More recently, Thatcham’s NCWR and the American research institute Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have also published reports stating that SAHR provides very effective protection against whiplash injuries, now the most common cause of vehicle passenger injury in the UK. The Saab 9-5 has also recently been awarded the highest marks in the American IIHS and USNCAP consumer laboratory collision tests.
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