Honda Motor Co. said yesterday it would publish government crash test data on window stickers in all 2006 model year Honda and Acura vehicles, providing a lift to lawmakers hoping to bring the information to consumers when they shop at dealerships.
The automaker would be the first to provide the data on the stickers that also list price information, fuel economy and other vehicle details. The crash test data would be required on the stickers under the Senate version of the federal highway bill pending in Congress.
"This is a very simple concept, and frankly we would urge all automakers to do the same thing that Honda is doing," said Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), who has pushed the legislation, dubbed "Stars on Cars."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducts crash tests on vehicles and rates them on a scale of one to five stars -- with five stars as the highest score -- to help consumers evaluate a vehicle's ability to withstand a crash and its likelihood of rolling over.
Consumers can find the information on the Internet, but DeWine wants prospective buyers to be able to see the safety information on the dealership lot.
"They really want to know how the government rates the car that they are looking at. They want to be able to go from dealer to dealer . . . from vehicle to vehicle in the same showroom and see how one car, one vehicle, compares to another vehicle," DeWine said. "They can't do that today."
DeWine's provision was not included in the House version of the highway bill that won approval. However, the legislation is being considered by Senate and House negotiators. DeWine said he was optimistic his bill would prevail.
Honda said the information would be on its stickers in the next 60 days, providing consumers with valuable data when choosing a new vehicle.
"We're not going to wait until it becomes law. We're going to put it on now," said John W. Mendel, Honda's senior vice president for automobile operations.
General Motors Corp. is considering putting the safety information on its stickers, said spokesman Alan Adler. DaimlerChrysler AG will work with NHTSA if the legislation is approved to provide the information to consumers, spokesman Max Gates said.
Industry officials are working to provide safety information to consumers, but there is concern that the label already contains a lot of information, said Eron Shosteck, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.
"If you add more information there is the potential for information overload, which could lead to consumers not reading any of it, and nobody wants that," Shosteck said.
The legislation also would include $6 million for NHTSA to move up its testing schedule. Many new models hit showrooms in the end of the summer and early fall, but some crash test data are not available until the following spring.
NHTSA conducted 85 crash tests and 36 rollover tests in the 2004 budget year at a cost of $7.7 million.