VW Gets “Safest Car” Rating But Can’t Sell Autos In US

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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.


Large cars
Buick LaCrosse
Ford Taurus
Lincoln MKS
Volvo S80

Midsize cars
Audi A3
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
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Outback
Volkswagen Jetta sedan
Volkswagen Passat sedan
Volvo C30
Small cars
Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
Kia Soul
Nissan Cube
Subaru Impreza except WRX
Volkswagen Golf 4-door
Midsize SUVs
Dodge Journey
Subaru Tribeca
Volvo XC60
Volvo XC90

Small SUVs
Honda Element
Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
Subaru Forester
Volkswagen Tiguan

Douglas A. McIntyre