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15 Most Dangerous Car Brands

Friday, February 12, 2016

 

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As a buyer, a vehicle’s safety rating is a crucial and complex component to consider. It concerns not only physical equipment, but also a car’s performance in challenging environments. With this in mind, AxleGeeks sought to identify the most dangerous car brands by studying the percentage of model lines within each brand that earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick or the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ awards.

The IIHS awards its Top Safety Pick accolades to vehicles based on a crashworthiness rating that considers small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. To be a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn a “good” rating in each category as well as a basic rating for front crash prevention. To receive the Top Safety Pick+ rating, a model must exceed the Top Safety Pick criteria and obtain an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

Using this information, AxleGeeks composed a list of the brands with the fewest model lines scoring Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards, and created a combined percentage based on each brand's performance in each category. Using that metric, we ranked each brand from least to most dangerous. Because high-end brands like Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati, and Land Rover often do not test their cars with IIHS and do not receive ratings, they are not included in the study.

#15. Hyundai

Percent of Vehicles with the IIHS Top Safety Pick Rating: 10.7 percent
Percent of Vehicles with the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Rating: 21.4 percent
Percent of Model Lines with IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+: 32.1 percent

Over 21 percent of Hyundai vehicles earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, placing it above Kia, which received the same honor across only 12 percent of its models. Though both are non-luxury brands, only 32.1 percent of Hyundai’s vehicles receive one honor from the IIHS, while Kia averages 36 percent.

#14. Chrysler

Top Safety Pick: None
Top Safety Pick+: 28.6 percent
Combined: 28.6 percent

The IIHS bestowed its Top Safety Pick+ honor to 28.6 percent of Chrysler's lineup, the greatest proportion of any brand featured in this list. Such a seemingly notable success fades when compared to the combined percentage of all non-luxury brands, which sits at 30.5 percent.

#13. Infiniti

Top Safety Pick: 7.1 percent
Top Safety Pick+: 21.4 percent
Combined: 28.5 percent

Nearly 29 percent of Infiniti models receive at least one IIHS Top Safety Pick selection, a stark contrast to other Japanese luxury brands, which average 39.4 percent.

#12. Nissan

Top Safety Pick: 15.8 percent
Top Safety Pick+: 10.5 percent
Combined: 26.3 percent

As a brand, Nissan truly falls short in safety performance: Only 26.3 percent of its models earned accolades from the IIHS, while Japanese non-luxury brands average 47.5 percent on the whole.

#11. Buick

Top Safety Pick: 25 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 25 percent

A mere 25 percent of Buick's vehicle line earn IIHS Top Safety Picks. While 25 percent is certainly a low score industry-wide, only 16 percent of all American non-luxury brand lineups receive IIHS honors, placing Buick at the top of its less-than-prestigious group.

#10. Ford

Top Safety Pick: 21.3 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 21.3 percent

Approximately 21 percent of Ford models received IIHS awards, a high for American brands, which average 13.9 percent. However, when compared to all non-luxury vehicles, of which 30.5 percent earn honors, Ford simply cannot compete.

#9. Chevrolet

Top Safety Pick: 20.5 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 20.5 percent

With 20.5 percent of its models receiving Top Safety Pick selections from the IIHS, Chevrolet scores higher than average against American competitors but, like Ford and Buick, falls short when compared to the 30.5 percent average of all non-luxury brands.

#8. FIAT

Top Safety Pick: None
Top Safety Pick+: 14.3 percent
Combined: 14.3 percent

The IIHS awarded 14.3 percent of Fiat's models with Safety Pick awards, making Fiat a standout competitor among other Italian brands, which average 3.8 percent. However, it falls greatly behind the 30.5 percent average of all non-luxury brands.

#7. Audi

Top Safety Pick: 2.1 percent
Top Safety Pick+: 10.6 percent
Combined: 12.7 percent

Over 10 percent of Audi models earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, giving it a sizable advantage over the 5.8 percent average of German luxury brands earning the same honors. Still, Audi fails to meet the 13.6 percent average of all luxury brands.

#6. GMC

Top Safety Pick: 11.1 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 11.1 percent

Only 11.1 percent of GMC's lineup earned any IIHS honors, making GMC a weak competitor even among its American counterparts, which average 16 percent per vehicle lineup.

#5. MINI

Top Safety Pick: 10 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 10 percent

Among the ten model lines considered in this study, only one received an IIHS Top Safety Pick selection. While 10 percent places MINI above the average of British brands, which sits at a low 2.4 percent, the brand still falls far behind the 30.5 percent average of all non-luxury brands.

#4. Mercedes-Benz

Top Safety Pick: 2.8 percent
Top Safety Pick+: 5.6 percent
Combined: 8.4 percent

Only 8.4 percent of Mercedes-Benz models earned awards from the IIHS, a low average given 11.5 percent of its German competitors earned the same award.

#3. Lincoln

Top Safety Pick: 8.3 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 8.3 percent

Like other American brands, Lincoln models fall short in safety performance, with only 8.3 percent of its models receiving IIHS honors. While Lincoln models handily defeat other American competitors, of which only 3 percent earn IIHS recognition, the brand fails to reach the 14.9 percent average among all luxury brands.

#2. Dodge

Top Safety Pick: 7.1 percent
Top Safety Pick+: None
Combined: 7.1 percent

According to IIHS ratings, Dodge is the most dangerous American car brand: Only 7.1 percent of its automobiles earning Safety Pick selections from the IIHS, a precipitous drop from the 16 percent average among all American non-luxury brands.

#1. BMW

Top Safety Pick: None
Top Safety Pick+: 3.4 percent
Combined: 3.4 percent

The IIHS awarded only 3.4 percent of BMW's model line with any recognition, a significant drop from the 14.9 percent average of all luxury brands.

Compare More Brands On AxleGeeks

 

Related Slideshow: The 10 Oregon Counties With the Most Car Theft

Be careful parking your car if you live in one of these Oregon counties. GoLocalPDX in partnership with FindtheBest found Oregon's top 10 counties with the highest rates of car theft. 

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10

Linn County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 78.2

Total population: 117,648

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9

Tillamook County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 79.1

Total population: 25,300

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8

Umatilla County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 83.9

Total population: 76,306

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7

Curry County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 89.4

Total population: 22,361

Prev Next

6

Marion County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 95.2

Total population: 318,441

Prev Next

5

Morrow County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 107

Total population: 11,218

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4

Josephine County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 111.1

Total population: 82,783

Prev Next

3

Clackamas County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 117.5

Total population: 380,532

Prev Next

2

Klamath County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 131.4

Total population: 66,211

Prev Next

1

Sherman County

Vehicle theft per 100,000 residents: 268.1

Total population: 1,865

 
 

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