has stopped putting federal rollover warning labels on midsize sport-utility
vehicles that it has just launched, according to USA Today. The newspaper reports
that the step has been taken to make GM’s SUVs ‘seem safer and sell faster’.
GM argues that its 2002 model SUVs are long enough to escape the warning requirement.
On the letter of the law that is true, but GM’s policy departs from the line
that other makers are adopting.
The rollover warning label regulation, enforced by the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA), says that labels aren’t required on SUVs with
wheelbases over 110 inches or SUVs based on car platforms, or chassis. The 2002
GM SUVs – Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada – have 113-inch
wheelbases, 6 inches longer than their predecessors. Several other makers are
acting cautiously and continuing to put labels on SUVs even where they don’t
have to. For example, Ford will continue putting the stickers on the redesigned
2002 Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer. They have 113.7-inch wheelbases.
The USA Today report adds that: ‘GM salespeople are being encouraged to point
out that their SUVs don’t need stickers – implying that they are safer than
SUVs that display the stickers.’ If true, that could irk GM’s competitors a
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