Cars increase safety, says Insurance Institute

December 29, 2010 12:00 AM

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its list of Top Safety Pick award winners for 2011.

Cars were the biggest winners, taking 40 spots in the top 66, while 25 SUVs also claimed the title. One minivan also received the award.

"In just a year, automakers have more than doubled the number of vehicles that meet the criteria for Top Safety Pick," said Adrian Lund, IIHS' president. "In fact, every major automaker has at least one winning model this year."

Adding new criteria to qualify for the award appears to have encouraged manufacturers to strengthen their vehicles in quick fashion. Only 27 2010 models qualified for the award.

Hyundai/Kia, the company behind those really annoying holiday car commercials, and Volkswagen/Audi had nine cars each that won the Top Safety Pick.

Ford/Lincoln, General Motors and Toyota/Lexus/Scion won eight awards each while Subaru only won five. Subaru, however, was the only automaker that won in all the vehicle classes it competes in.

Vehicles are evaluated by performing multiple crash tests using dummies and then analyzing injury measurement results.

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