- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
General Motors will be offering the industry’s first front center air bag in select vehicles. This inflatable restraint will help to protect drivers and front passengers in far-side impact crashes where the affected occupant is on the opposite, non-struck side of the vehicle.
You’re going to have to wait a bit for the new front center air bag – it will be introduced on the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse midsize crossovers (it will come standard on Acadia and Traverse with power seats and all Enclaves).
Here’s how it works: found in between the front row seats near the center of the vehicle, the tethered, tubular air bag deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat. It protects the driver when they are the only occupant in the event of a passenger-side crash. When there is a driver and a front passenger, it acts as energy absorbing cushion in both driver- and passenger-side crashes. As well, it will offer protection if your vehicle is involved in a rollover accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System database, far-side impact crashes account 11 percent of the belted front occupant fatalities in non-rollover impacts between 2004 and 2009 involving 1999 model year or newer vehicles. The stats go on to show that in these far-side fatalities, where the occupant is on the non-struck side of the vehicle, also represent 29 percent of all the belted front occupant fatalities in side impact crashes.
Partnering with technology supplier Takata, GM’s front center air bag took three years to develop. It went through a series of designs to address packaging, cushioning, and restraint issues that could occur in different crash and occupant position scenarios.
Even though the front center air bag is not required by federal regulation, it will add to the vehicles’ third-party crash test performance results. “The front center airbag has real potential to save lives in side crashes,” said Adrian Lund, president of the insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “GM and Takata are to be commended for taking the lead in this important area.”
Watch the video of the air bag in action after the jump.
Hitting the market back in 2007, the GMC, Buick and Chevy large crossover trio have continued with strong sales despite almost zero updates. That will change for the 2013 model year, with changes planned for all three of the Lambda machines, although you might not notice the changes at first glance.
A new compact crossover for GM’s Buick brand will be built on a version of the upcoming Chevy Aveo platform. News of this surprising development comes from an unnamed source familiar with GM’s Orion Township plant plans – which is where the unnamed Buick crossover will be built alongside the new Aveo.
General Motors is asking Tiger Woods for its cars back, after an agreement with the golf star ended two weeks ago. A contract between Woods and GM’s Buick brand expired in 2008, but the controversial golfer was allowed access to GM products, including the Cadillac Escalade SUV that he so famously crashed in his Florida neighborhood. A clause in the contract that allowed him access to those vehicles expired on December 31st.
Buick has just released a teaser image of a new entry-level luxury crossover that will slot in underneath the Enclave. Normally word of a new model is news enough, but GM has decided to increase our expectations of its new model by announcing that it will be offered with a version of the Volt’s Voltec plug-in hybrid system.
This will make the new crossover the first plug-in hybrid SUV on the market.
The new five-passenger crossover will go on sale next year with PHEV models on sale in 2011. The conventional gasoline models will be offered with a choice of two engines: a direct-injection 2.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four-cylinder or a direct-injection 3.0-liter V6. The Ecotec motor is expected to deliver 30 mpg on the highway.
The Buick PHEV will use a battery pack roughly half the size and power of the one found in the Volt and be mated to a 3.6-liter V6 FexFuel engine, indicating that the Buick hybrids will follow the Lexus philosophy of using the hybrid powertrain to deliver high-performance with reduced fuel-consumption. Similarly, it appears, Chevy models like the Volt will follow the Toyota model of delivering maximum fuel-efficiency.
The Buick PHEV will be able to be recharged fully in 4 to 5 hours through a conventional 110V household outlet and will be ale to travel up to 10 miles on pure electric power (at low speeds).
“Buick has always been at the forefront of new technology, so it is only fitting that the brand should debut our new plug-in hybrid technology in a beautiful new crossover,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman of product development. “This will firmly put Buick, and GM, front and center in the advanced technology game.”
Official release after the jump: