Fleet News

It's curtains for all of us!

A BREAKTHROUGH in rollover accident safety was claimed by Ford with the launch of a new curtain airbag system at the North American International Auto Show. But the company's move to make the injury-saving equipment optional on US-produced sport utility vehicles was soon eclipsed by an announcement by General Motors just a few hours later.

GM said it plans to install the curtain-style safety bags as standard on all its vehicles by 2003. 'Drivers of any cars are entitled to this protection. They also help reduce injuries in the event of a side impact,' said safety engineering director Bob Lange. 'We will fit these bags to the five million vehicles we sell each year, including sport utility models,' he added.

Earlier, Ford vice-president of environmental and safety engineering Helen Petrauskas announced that from September, the rollover equipment would be offered as an option on 2001 model-year SUVs. 'Eventually, we will most likely make the curtains standard and extend them to pick-up trucks, minivans and cars. But our first priority is to focus on SUVs, where rollover accidents more often result in fatalities,' she said.

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