Toyota Calls IIHS Top Safety Pick Results "Extreme And Misleading"S

Irv Miller, public affairs head of Toyota USA, just posted the automaker's official response to not receiving any 2010 IIHS Top Safety Pick awards. What's it say? The IIHS didn't test every Toyota and the new test is really hard.

Toyota's claiming the roof crush test — only applied to three Toyotas — the RAV4, Camry and Yaris — is harder than federal standards:

"This is the first year IIHS has included its own roof strength tests, which exceed federal standards, for TSP consideration. All Toyota vehicles meet or exceed Federal Safety Standards for frontal and side impact, roof crush resistance and rollover protection."

So, let's get this straight: you're upset because your cars don't meet a tougher standard than the federal guidelines — a standard other automakers are capable of meeting — and you expect the consumer to accept that argument? Really? Seriously?

But wait, there's also the fact that the Camry actually passed this much more difficult roof crash test. So why didn't the mid-size get a Top Safety Pick? Well, because, as the IIHS said in their press release late last night,

"The midsize Toyota Camry would have qualified with good ratings, except for its rear crash evaluation. This car's seats and head restraints are rated marginal for protection against whiplash injury. A change to good would have earned the Camry a Top Safety Pick for 2010."

Where's Toyota's explanation for why the Camry failed to garner a Top Safety Pick this year? It certainly wasn't the more-stringent roof crush test.

Full response from Toyota below:

2010 IIHS Top Safety Pick Awards Tells Just Part of the Story

On November 18, 2009, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a news release headlined: "27 Winners of 2010 Top Safety Pick Award." Within the release, IIHS states: "Missing the mark: Not a single model from the world's biggest automaker by sales is represented among this year's winners. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners but were shut out for 2010."

Toyota is confident its vehicles are among the safest on the road today and is committed to the highest levels of vehicle safety and quality.

In 2009, Toyota won more IIHS Top Safety Pick (TSP) awards than any other manufacturer. Toyota continues to improve vehicle passive and active safety, including improvement of past winners of IIHS TSP.

IIHS' statement that Toyota was shut out for 2010 is extreme and misleading, considering there are 38 Toyota, Lexus and Scion models, and only three were tested for roof strength by IIHS: Camry, RAV4 and Yaris.

This is the first year IIHS has included its own roof strength tests, which exceed federal standards, for TSP consideration. All Toyota vehicles meet or exceed Federal Safety Standards for frontal and side impact, roof crush resistance and rollover protection.

While passive collision protection is very important, Toyota also provides an array of active, passive, pre-collision and collision avoidance features. The "Star Safety System" is standard equipment on all Toyota and Lexus models.

The Insurance Institute's ratings are one of many vehicle safety and quality metrics.

Irv Miller
Group Vice President, Environmental and Public Affairs
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.