Take Two: Toyota Planning Mid-Cycle Vehicle Changes to Upgrade Safety

By Trevor Dorchies | September 01, 2013
After faring poorly in the Insurance Institute for Highway crash testing, Toyota has announced that it will be taking additional safety measures to help bolster its vehicles in the event of a crash. Toyota engineers have already been hard at work since last year to rework vehicle designs, according to Osamu Nagata, CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., speaking with Automotive News. These changes are slated to help Toyota's vehicles perform better in IIHS small overlap frontal crash tests. The small overlap test is supposed to simulate what happens when a driver hits a tree or a pole with the left front quarter of their vehicle. "We are now implementing some design countermeasures to improve our small overlap results," Nagata said to Automotive News. "Each vehicle has its own countermeasure schedule," Nagata said. "As soon as designs are ready and parts are fixed, we'll have running changes for any vehicle, not only the RAV4." These fixes are set to go into effect as soon as possible and will include vehicles like the Camry, Prius V, and the RAV4. All of these aforementioned vehicles performed poorly when tested by the IIHS. The IIHS ratings have become an important point when it comes to marketing vehicles for automakers. Nagata didn't reveal any more models to which would be receiving more safety measures. He did, however, say that the strengthening of structural parts would be something the engineers are fixated on.
Back in 2009, the IIHS began alerting automakers that these new testing procedures would be going into effect for 2012. Even with that heads-up though, some automakers were slower to the draw than others. The IIHS has already released its information on how the latest small car segment fared, but withheld the all-new Corollas as it is still in the process of being released to the public. Corolla testing is slated to take place later this month so expect the results to be released in a few weeks. Once those results are made public, we'll pass them along, so stay tuned. Source: Automotive News (subscription required)