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GENERAL MOTORS A LEADER IN AUTOMOTIVE SAFETY

 DALLAS, Nov. 16 ~PRNewswire~ -- The following statement deals with allegations that GM's 1973 through '87 light-duty pickup trucks are unsafe and may be attributed to a GM spokesperson.
 Research and design engineering, on-site testing, field analysis of accident and fatality statistics -- these have been an integral part of General Motors operations since the company began building cars. Safety technology developed by GM -- high-tech crash test dummies, enclosed crash facilities and the first vehicle crash simulation computer model for testing front structure crash performance -- is used by car and truck makers around the world.
 Indeed, GM is the acknowledged world leader in automotive safety research. GM regularly and routinely tests all its vehicles to ensure that they not only meet all federally mandated safety and crash standards, but also more extensive, self-imposed standards.
 The C~K light-duty pickups from 1973 through 1987 conform to applicable government standards for fuel system integrity in front, rear and side impacts. The documents that have been made public show GM's efforts in the early 1980s to improve the performance of the fuel systems in GM pickups to levels much higher than those required by the then-applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for fuel systems.
 In fact, the severity of GM's testing far exceeded that of the government standard which the NHTSA had already promulgated to protect the public against unreasonable risk of accidents, injury or death. GM's efforts were not required by the government or anyone else outside GM. Instead, they represented a responsible corporate effort to improve the performance of GM vehicles far above the level required by the government standard.
 For that reason, videos depicting crash results at 50 mph -- an energy level more than five times greater than that of the federally mandated standard -- are highly misleading when used to try to impugn GM's safety performance. Vehicles of the basic type shown in the test had already met applicable government standards. These were experimental vehicles in development to be evaluated against GM's much tougher internal safety performance objectives.
 For that reason, videos by those with vested financial interests in products liability litigation purport to show production vehicles. In reality, they show footage of developmental testing GM was conducting on experimental fuel system designs at 50 mph, more than five times the energy of the federal standard.
 While the videos purport to show the results of a side impact collision on a production truck, the reality is that these experimental fuel systems never were installed on trucks sold to the public.
 Those with a vested interest in litigation against GM provided selected experimental tests from a series of 22 car-to-truck tests at 50 mph, tests that GM conducted on trucks with experimental fuel systems to evaluate a variety of potential design improvements.
 As in all testing, not all experimental systems immediately satisfy goals, and necessary modifications are made. If the entire sequence had been shown, it would have revealed a successful conclusion to the development program that led to the introduction in the 1984 model year of a package of fuel system modifications which substantially improved the performance of the full-size pickup in extremely high-speed collisions.
 The showing of these videos out of context is part of a carefully orchestrated "disinformation" campaign that seeks to distort GM's leadership role in seeking continual improvements in all of its vehicles and vehicle systems.
 -0- 11~16~92
 ~CONTACT: Bill O'Neill or Ed Lechtzin of GM Public Relations, 214-651-4300 (in Dallas Nov. 16) or 313-986-5715 (at Warren Tech Center, beginning Nov. 17)~
 (GM)


CO: General Motors Corporation ST: Texas, Michigan IN: AUT SU:

DH -- DE027 -- 1424 11~16~92 15:41 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 16, 1992
Words:606
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