IIHS Prepares New Crash Tests Due To Equipment Issues On Ford F-150
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is currently investigating the presence of extra safety equipment fitted to the CrewCab version of Ford’s hot-selling 2015 Ford F-150 and why the particular structural enhancements are not found on Regular and SuperCrew body styles.
The CrewCab reportedly makes up 70 percent of F-150 sales, and the IIHS typically conducts the majority of its crash testing on a vehicle’s highest-selling variant. The investigation, according to Automotive News, is to determine if Ford is beefing up its SuperCrew to withstand the IIHS’ testing while leaving the less-popular cab configurations less protected.
The issues stems from metal structural beams both in front of and behind the F-150’s front tires. The beams are bolted to the truck’s frame and are designed to divert the tire away from the passenger compartment in the event of a small overlap front crash. No such beams are present on Regular or SuperCab models.
Granted, all cab variations have been tested by the U.S. government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in moderate overlap crash tests. All three cab configurations earned the NHTSA’s highest ranking of five stars. The IIHS, however, is the only organization that tests for the small overlap crashworthiness – a test that only began in 2012.
The IIHS will be conduction small overlap testing on both Regular and SuperCrew cab F-150s to determine if the missing structural pieces effect the truck’s crash rating. When contacted by AN, Ford responded with, “…supplementary material [was added] to our SuperCrew configuration to reinforce cab strength.” The automaker continues saying, “We optimize each cab structure based on many factors, including cab style, mass, wheelbase, powertrain, and driveline to meet regulatory requirements and achieve public domain ratings.”
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Why it matters
Ford may have found itself in hot water over the design in crash structures on the Regular and SuperCab models. These missing brackets reportedly cost between $50 and $58 dollars to install on the trucks, yet protect the cab structure from penetration of the wheel and tire during a small overlap crash situation.
Conversely, Ford may have included the bars into the SuperCrew’s design only because the larger truck needed the extra supports whereas the smaller cab configurations didn’t. This would be the ideal case for the automaker and prove the IIHS’ concerns were unwarranted.
Only time and additional crash testing will reveal answers. Stay tuned as we wait on findings from the IIHS.
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Source: Automotive News