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SERIAL OFFENDER; Top car bumpers shatter at 6mph.

Byline: By ANDREW BAXTER and RICHARD COOPER

MOTORISTS are facing repair bills running into thousands of pounds after fender benders at speeds as low as 6mph - because their cars are fitted with bumpers that are too flimsy.

Drivers are paying out pounds 2billion in avoidable garage bills each year because manufacturers are not fitting their cars with reinforced bumper beams, which cost as little as pounds 10. As our table shows, tests by the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre reveal that 10 cars - including the popular Vauxhall Corsa - sustained damage of up to pounds 4,600 in 6mph crashes.

Seven were rated "poor" and the MIRRC - an independent body funded by insurance companies - accused manufacturers of cutting corners.

Research manager Matthew Avery said: "Some designs like Nissan's Qashqai don't have a bumper beam at all - just a flimsy plastic covering that looks like a bumper."

The Suzuki Swift was the worst performer in a combined front and rear shunt which caused pounds 4,603 damage - equivalent to 61 per cent of its pounds 7,549 purchase price - enough for most insurance companies to write it off.

Last night the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said bumpers are not designed with repair costs in mind.

"A bumper is not just a bumper - it is an integral part of the crumple zone designed to minimise injuries in the event of a collision," a spokesman said:.

news@sundaymirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Flimsy... Qashqai
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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 16, 2007
Words:242
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