US: Honda makes last minute changes to enhance safety and crash-test score image

The Japanese automaker has been hit by a sales dip and aims to recuperate the distance in the final months of the year. One of the necessary moves – upgrade the new Fit hatchback.

The car, the smallest of Honda’s US line-up, has been redesigned to incorporate a new front bumper, designed to increase the model’s score in a very important crash test. Honda said that all cars produced before the upgrade would be retrofitted with the new bumper design.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the “Good” rating in four of its crash categories, while the 2015 Fit (also known as Jazz in other markets) received a better, “Acceptable,” score in the Arlington, Virginia-based safety group’s “small-overlap” category. Last tested in March, the model then received a “Marginal” score in that test.

“We’d targeted a top safety pick for our customers in the subcompact segment and we really just weren’t satisfied with not achieving that,” said Chuck Thomas, Honda’s chief engineer for US vehicle safety. “We studied the results of that test and we were able to quickly respond with a modification to the Fit’s front bumper.”

The automaker, which always boasted its crash top test ratings from the IIHS, needs to recoup a 1.3% slide in US deliveries of its Honda and Acura brand vehicles in the first seven months of the year, while the overall sales advanced 5% across the US market.

Via Bloomberg