The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 January 2006

No exploding steering wheel

The Cross Lander sport-utility vehicle, assembled in Romania, is being granted an exemption from the NHTSA airbag requirements until May 2008; the manufacturer had claimed economic hardship.

Since the government demands airbags only on vehicles weighing 5500 lb and under, look for the 2009 model Cross Lander to gain about 1100 lb of road-hugging weight. And no, this shouldn't be difficult; Kia's first Sedona minivan weighed 4700 lb or so, a direct result of corporate penury — at the time, they couldn't afford any of the usual automotive weight-saving techniques and still meet their price point.

In the meantime, US-bound Cross Landers will bear a government-inflicted warning label. When they'll actually get here, of course, remains to be seen.

Posted at 11:37 AM to Driver's Seat

I think GM may have that strategy in mind. Create an economic hardship and then reap the benfits from omitting saftey devices that are questionably cost effective and perhaps not even desired by a large number of consumers.

One of things I wish GM couldn't afford is the permenent placement of an air bag warning sticker on the visable side of the sun visors.

Posted by: MikeH at 5:41 PM on 5 January 2006

I'm not so sure. With other major automakers pushing things like crash-test results in advertising, deleting the airbags would give GM a black eye it can ill afford. (I have to assume that contrarians and Cheap SOBs will be the major market for the Cross Lander.)

Posted by: CGHill at 6:30 PM on 5 January 2006