Vehicle Safety and Driver-Assist Technologies

2010 Highlights...

Achieved IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2011 Fiesta – first vehicle in its class to do so

Invested $1 million to expand Ford Driving Skills for Life to 15 states

Launched research to create digital human body model of a child

Expanded our investment in “intelligent vehicles”

Ford is a global leader in vehicle safety, and vehicle safety is a critical part of our company identity and reputation. We work to develop innovative technologies and to build in safety from the very beginning of each product development process. Indeed, safety is one of four principles that guide our every design and engineering effort.1

In 2010, the three major public domain ratings systems were revised – and made much tougher. Vehicle safety has continued to improve over the years, and the ratings agencies wanted to make it harder to achieve top ratings. The systems that changed include the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) implemented by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Top Safety Pick program run by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the EuroNCAP system sponsored by seven European governments as well as motoring and consumer organizations. (See How We Manage Vehicle Safety for an overview of the changes.)

Because of these changes, our ratings results this year cannot be meaningfully compared to previous years, although our vehicles are safer than ever. A comparison to other automotive companies’ results reveals that we remain an industry leader in motor vehicle safety.

In fact, Ford has the most top U.S. safety ratings of any automaker ever. This includes more IIHS “Top Safety Picks” than any other manufacturer in the six-year history of this crash testing program and more NHTSA five-star ratings than any other manufacturer during 30 years of government testing. (To earn a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must receive a rating of “good” in offset frontal impact, side impact and rear impact evaluations, and offer electronic stability control. Under the new testing scheme, Top Safety Picks also must earn a “good” rating in roof strength tests.)

Our recent safety highlights include the following:

  • The 2011 Ford Taurus is one of the safest-rated large sedans sold in America, with NCAP ratings among the industry leaders for front impact and five-star NCAP crash ratings for side impact. The Taurus also earned a Top Safety Pick designation from IIHS and boasts a comprehensive list of segment-leading safety features.
  • The all-new 2011 Ford Explorer, Edge and F-150 as well as the 2011 Lincoln MKX also earned Top Safety Pick designations.
  • The 2011 Fiesta is the first vehicle in its class to achieve a Top Safety Pick, and also leads its segment for NCAP ratings. The Fiesta also was the first car in its segment to earn top crash test ratings in each of the world’s largest auto markets that perform safety testing – the U.S., China and Europe.
  • For the 2011 model year, the IIHS awarded 18 Ford vehicles with “good” ratings for frontal offset performance and 15 Ford vehicles with “good” ratings for side impact performance.
  • In Ford’s most recent EuroNCAP assessments, using their new testing and rating system, the 2010 Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX earned five-star safety ratings.
  • Under the previous EuroNCAP system, the Ford Kuga and Fiesta achieved Ford’s first three-star ratings for pedestrian protection. These cars also joined the Focus, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy in having best-in-class, five-star adult protection and four-star child protection ratings.
  • The Ford Fiesta and Mondeo were the second and third Ford cars (after the Focus) to be awarded five-star ratings in the Chinese NCAP.
  • The Ford Falcon was the first Australian-built car to be awarded five stars in the Australasian NCAP.

This section outlines our vehicle safety performance over the past year. It includes a discussion of current vehicle safety challenges and opportunities globally, how we manage vehicle safety within the Company, and our efforts to support and promote driver education. The section then discusses the advanced technologies that can be found on our vehicles. These technologies are organized into four categories: accident avoidance technologies, driver-assist technologies, occupant protection technologies and post-crash/injury mitigation technologies. We then discuss the various collaborative efforts we are undertaking with other organizations related to vehicle safety. The section concludes with two case studies: one looks in depth at the issue of driver distraction, while the other discusses developments in the realm of “intelligent vehicles.”

For a discussion of Ford’s positions on U.S. public policy issues relating to vehicle safety, please see the Governance section.

  1. The other principles are quality, fuel efficiency and smart technologies.