The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety came out with its annual list of safest cars. Ford (NYSE:F) and its Volvo unit got six awards, VW and Subaru each got five.
Chrysler had four cars on the list and Honda (NYSE:HMC) and GM each had two
Toyota (NYSE:TM), BMW, Mazda Motor and Mitsubishi ended up with nothing.
The extraordinary thing about the list is that VW has less than 1% of the US car market. All of the other winners have major domestic market share led by GM, Toyota, and Ford.
VW had a chance to be a dominant small car company in the US when its popular Beetle was a best seller in the early 1970s. It did not follow that success up with more models and Japanese companies took the market role of low-cost, high-quality vehicle providers. VW/Porsche is now the largest car company in the world ahead of Toyota and GM.
VW had a chance to become a real force in the American market again. It could have made an aggressive bid for Chrysler and instantly had an 8% share of domestic auto sales. It let Fiat take that prize, which was a risky gamble. Chrysler may not make it because of sharply falling sales.
No guts, no glory, no US market share for VW.
Chevrolet Malibu built after October 2009
Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional electronic stability control
Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control
Mercedes C class
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Douglas A. McIntyre