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Ford tops safe-car list with 16 models

Antiroll technology key for all vehicles

The 2009 Honda Fit with electronic stability control was the first minicar to make the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of safest cars in front, side, and rear crashes. The 2009 Honda Fit with electronic stability control was the first minicar to make the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of safest cars in front, side, and rear crashes. (Associated Press)
Associated Press / November 25, 2008
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WASHINGTON - Dozens of new cars and trucks, led by models from Ford Motor Co. and its Volvo subsidiary, made the insurance industry's annual list of the safest vehicles, helped by the growing adoption of antirollover technology.

For the 2009 model year, Ford and Volvo have 16 vehicles on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of the safest cars, followed by Honda Motor Co., with 13 vehicles, the institute said today.

Seventy-two cars, trucks, and SUVs received the top safety pick designation for the 2009 model year, more than double the number in 2008 and three times the number in 2007.

"No matter what kind of vehicle buyers may be considering, now they can . . . find one that affords the best overall protection in serious crashes," said institute president Adrian Lund.

The vehicles are tops in protecting people in front, side, and rear crash tests based on institute evaluations. The vehicles are required to have electronic stability control to qualify.

Ford's top performers include the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan midsize cars with optional ESC; the Ford F-150 pickup, Ford Edge, and Ford Flex mid-size sport utility vehicles; and the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner small SUV.

It also includes the Mazda Tribute, which has the same underpinnings as the Escape and Mariner.

The awards bolster the case made by Ford chief executive Alan Mulally in Washington last week when he argued that Ford had made significant strides.

Honda and its Acura unit had vehicles in nearly every category, including top sellers such as the Honda Accord, Honda Civic 4-door with optional ESC, and Acura MDX and RDX mid-size SUVs, and Honda Fit with optional ESC. The Fit is the first minicar to earn the safety award.

Volkswagen AG and its Audi brand had nine vehicles on the list, including the VW Jetta and Passat and the Audi A3, A4, and A6.

General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. each had eight vehicles on the list. GM's included the Cadillac CTS and the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, and Saturn Outlook large SUVs.

Toyota had the Corolla with optional ESC, RAV4, Tacoma, Tundra, and Scion xB.

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