It turns out, not all Ford F-150s were created equal, and the insurance industry has some questions, concerns, and potential rate hikes because of it. When put to the test in a tough new crash test, one version of the truck met the challenge and held up remarkably. The other version? Not so much.
A Tougher Test
In recent years, auto experts and crash test designers have begun to conduct tests that are widely considered to be more stringent and rigorous than previous any previous trials. One such test that has been implemented in 2012 is the ‘small overlap front crash test’. While the name might sound innocuous, the test itself is brutal and can bring a vehicle to a screeching halt. The vehicle, traveling at 40 miles per hour, strikes a barrier with just one quarter of its front bumper. The impact is designed to occur on the driver side of the vehicle. The resulting crash can cause major destruction to a poorly designed car, and lead to significant injury or loss of life if it were to happen in the real world. According to the Insurance Institute, crashes that involve “small overlaps” such as those tested in the crash trials account for a quarter of all serious or fatal injuries in front impact accidents. In vehicles which lack the structural integrity or quality materials, the entire front cab of the vehicle and collapse under such an impact.
The Good News and the Bad News
Originally, the Insurance Institute had intended to test only the Ford F150 SuperCrew truck. The SuperCrew is widely considered the most popular version of the vehicle. In the small overlap front crash test, the all-aluminum Ford F150 SuperCrew performed well. The engineering of the cab as well as additional structural supports throughout the body of the vehicle created a safer crash experience and the SuperCrew was awarded a safety rating of “Good”, the Institute’s highest rating.
The SuperCab version of the Ford F150, however, was a different story all together. With a smaller passenger compartment and fewer of the structural supports present in the SuperCrew version of the vehicle, the results from the test crash were disconcerting. Upon impact, the entire cab of the SuperCab buckled and the body around the passengers collapsed entirely. The Insurance Institute awarded the vehicle with the safety rating of “Marginal”, the second to worst rating a vehicle could get.
Being Marginal Will Cost You
In addition to providing consumers with a more informed buying experience when purchasing a vehicle, the Insurance Industry has another reason for conducting these tests and showing concern for vehicles that do not pass the muster. While preventing serious injury and reducing fatal flaws in vehicles, the Insurance Industry conducts these tests to improve their bottom line. At the end of the day, their main concern is the Insurance Industry’s profitability, and vehicles that are more likely to result in serious injury or death can spell trouble for insurers.
Vehicles that have a higher occurrence of serious injury, death, or major repair are more likely to result in major claims and higher payouts. In other words: These vehicles cost the insurance companies money. What does this mean for the consumer? Generally, it means that vehicles such as the Ford F150 SuperCab could carry with them a premium on their insurance premiums. The riskier a vehicle is, the higher the insurance premium can be.
For its part, Ford has begun the process of redesigning and adjusting the marginal SuperCab. According to executives at Ford, the new small overlap front crash test was still too new when the all-aluminum truck had been created, and proper adjustments had not yet been implemented. Regardless, the Insurance Industry is watching and ready to pass the risk onto you.
CNNMoney (Jul 30, 2015) – “Watch the new aluminum Ford F-150’s crash test”