General Motors Opens Crash Test Center to Outsiders

By: Evander Klum

In just a mere blink of an eye a 2008 Chevrolet Malibu is transformed from functional to trash. Witnessing a crash test is quite amazing especially if you take into account the cost that goes with the testing.

During a car crash test only dummies are made to ride the vehicle to absorb all the impact. And out from the damage the dummies obtained the car manufacturer would know whether to add some more safety features or whether they need to reinforce the overall structure of their vehicle. Usually crash tests are performed privately. However, General Motors has chosen to go against the norm -- opening the inner sanctum of its crash test center to outsiders particularly allowing a few journalists to witness the crashing of its new Malibu.

The Malibu after the impact was beat-up really bad but surprisingly its passenger compartment has remained intact. The front end took the beating and was crumpled to about a third of its previous length and yet was able to do what it was designed to do---to protect its occupants. The roof did not collapse leaving the glass sunroof intact. The doors which remained locked up shows a minor outward bend found at the top of the front side window surrounds.

The interior of the new Malibu has obtained some damage as well; the seats were twisted cause by the seatbelt which restrain only one side of the dummy/seat, the airbags end up hanging limp while the windshield cracked impacted by the door from the passenger's side airbag compartment. Despite the blows that the interior obtained the dummies survived without sustaining any injuries. The cushioning and crumpling of the airbags has protected them from the impact.

It's quite remarkable to note the level of advancement obtained in terms of car safety technology that automakers have been able to develop at present. It gives car buyers with a certain degree of confidence that they will be protected in case of accidents.

More than the new Malibu's stiff chassis and impact-absorbing qualities, features such as the dual-stage front airbags with a passenger-sensing system, force-limiting seatbelts with pretensioners, side seat-mounted airbags and drop-down side air curtains have amplified the safeness of the new 2008 Malibu.

The Malibu activates the OnStar which calls for help once it detected the deployment of an airbag. General Motors the producer of high quality is making use of the information stored by the car to assess the effectiveness of the structure as well as the safety features.

Just like the black box equipped on airplanes, the black box stored in the Malibu also stores information from direction to speed of travel up to the deployment of the airbags. All these information are to be used to compare with the injuries sustained by the occupants helping to create a picture of the accident that transpired.

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