WASHINGTON (AP) — South Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia and German car maker Volkswagen lead the insurance industry’s annual list of the safest new vehicles, used by safety-minded consumers looking to buy a new car.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognized 66 vehicles on Wednesday with its “top safety pick award” for the 2011 model year, the most-ever awarded by the Virginia-based group (see full list below).
The number was more than double the 27 vehicles selected last year.
WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports
Hyundai Motor Corp. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp., and Volkswagen AG and its Audi brand received the most awards with nine, followed by eight awards apiece by General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. The awards, used in advertising to attract car buyers, bolster Hyundai and Volkswagen as they attempt to build a larger foothold in the United States.
The vehicles were chosen for protection in front, side and rear crash tests. To qualify for the award, the insurance industry group also requires the vehicles to have anti-rollover electronic stability control, or ESC, and receive top scores in roof strength tests.
Institute president Adrian Lund credited automakers for “quickly rising to meet the more-challenging criteria for `Top Safety Pick.”‘ He said several automakers have requested tests for new models coming out early next year and Lund predicted more winners would be added.
IIHS 2011 Model Top Safety Picks:
BMW 5 Series
Mercedes E Class sedan
Mercedes E Class coupe
Mercedes C Class
Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Associated Press’s Ken Thomas contributed to this report
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