When the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released its list of 61 safest 2016 model year vehicles Thursday morning, neither Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) nor General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) placed a vehicle on the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list. GM did list six vehicles on the Top Safety Pick list: the Chevy Sonic, Malibu Limited (fleet version), Buick Encore, Chevy Equinox, and GMC Terrain
The Ford F-150 SuperCrew was rated as a Top Safety Pick, along with the 6 GM and 6 vehicles from other makers, but no Ford vehicle was included among the 48 vehicles on IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list. The only vehicle manufactured by one of the Detroit Three to make the “plus” list was the Chrysler 200 from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (NYSE: FCAU).
The manufacturer with the most safety picks is Toyota Motor Corp. (NYSE: TM) with nine models on the Top Safety Pick+ list, including its Scion and Lexus brands. Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) placed eight vehicles on the “plus” list and one on the Top Pick list.
Top Safety Pick-rated vehicles were required for the first time this year to achieve a good rating on the small overlap front crash test that simulates a left-front collision with a stationary object like a tree or telephone pole. This test has been a stumbling block since IIHS introduced it in 2012.
According to the IIHS, the base requirements to be named a Top Safety Pick are good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, and a standard or optional front crash prevention system:
The 48 winners of the “plus” award have a superior- or advanced-rated front crash prevention system with automatic braking capabilities. These vehicles must stop or slow down without driver intervention before hitting a target in tests at 12 mph, 25 mph or both. Models with a basic-rated front crash prevention system, which typically only issues a warning and doesn’t brake, qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK.
The Top Safety Pick+ list includes 48 vehicles, and the Top Safety Pick list includes an additional 13 vehicles. Last year, 71 vehicles made the initial versions of the lists, and by the end of the year the total for both lists grew to 99, as IIHS adds top performers to the lists as test results are released throughout the year.