By Jeffery Gilbert, CBS Detroit
WASHINGTON, DC (WWJ) - The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have become the first pickup trucks to get five star rankings in the new, tougher crash tests done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The government increased the severity of the crash tests in 2011, saying that it had become too easy to get five star ratings. Since then, no pickup truck had received more than four stars.
“Safety is as important to truck buyers as it is to car buyers,” said Gay Kent, GM general director of Vehicle Safety and Crashworthiness. “Silverado and Sierra set a benchmark for pickup truck safety by offering a full array of advanced features designed to protect occupants before, during and after a collision.”
Only the larger crew cab versions were tested. But, GM says those models will make up more than sixty percent of sales.
Analyst Alec Gutierrez of Kelly Blue Book say this is a significant achievement.
“The fact that they’ve been able to pass, with five stars, these more stringent standards really shows that GM is willing to do what it takes to engineer a top quality truck that consumers can rely on to be both safe and fuel-efficient.”
But Gutierrez isn’t sure if this will translate into improved sales for the truck, saying pickup buyers are intensely loyal.
“For those buyers who were on the fence and indecisive, yea they are going to a few more customers,” he said. “But, you’re not going to win a long time F-Series household based on a five star crash test rating.”
Ford hasn’t confirmed it, but analysts expect it to come out with a new version of the F-150 pickup in the next year or so. It would be very unlikely to see them not match General Motors five star crash ratings.
The government has not yet tested a new Toyota Tundra pickup that’s just hitting the market. Nissan is expected to update its Titan pickup in the next few years. Nissan announcing today that the next generation Titan will have an optional diesel engine.