Saab safety in China too

Pictures at the end…..

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China’s one of those countries that we don’t know much about in terms of Saab’s popularity. The word coming through to me, though, is that there’s a definite brand of enthusiasm there, and I hope to be bringing some images and stories from club events there in the near future.

Until, then, we have this story, which was sent to me a few weeks ago by Ying. It appeared on a Chinese motoring forum and Ying was kind enough to provide a translation. It doesn’t matter what country we’re in what language we speak, “Saab” still means “safe”.

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SAAB 9-5 Serious accident, car written off, 2 occupants aboard

This morning I was at a Shanghai SAAB service station, and happened to see a tow truck bring in a 9-5 ARC that was involved in a serious accident.

From what I heard, the accident happened this morning on a Shanghai suburb express way. Due to the poor night time visibility, plus the tail light of the truck (that the 9-5 hit) ahead of the SAAB is faulty and non-lit, the 9-5 driver hit that truck almost blindly tail on, while doing 120KPH.

The frontal damage is heavy, from what I can see under the bonnet, the mechanical parts are almost un-recognisable. The engine has moved from its mounting position, and I was surprised to see some signs of burning or charring. Heavy damage to the front quarter panels and very light deformation to the A pillar, a sign of energy absorbing design working. The front doors are both operable. The windscreen is shattered but almost no pieces projected into the cabin. Both front airbags had been deployed. The speedo needle got stuck at around 110KPH. Probably indicating the impact speed.

The heavy truck didn’t suffer much damage, but strangely it’s front windscreen is broken – the driver said it could have been broken by objects in the cabin hit the window after impact. I’ve not sent the accident scene, but I guess it’d be a pretty shocking accident to all involved.

The 9-5’s driver and front seat passenger both survived without a scratch, very fortunate indeed. And I’ve noticed the passenger didn’t even use his seat belt (Ying’s comment: This is a BAD BAD habit in China – most passengers and some drivers don’t use the belt, it’s as if they have a death wish. I was in Beijing for a business trip and none of the Taxis have back seat belt, and some don’t even have front belt! I refused to ride in a few of them because of this). SAAB’s design incorporated a belt warning with beeping noise, some people would even stick the belt into the catch then sit ON TOP of the belt to cancel the warning noise – total stupidity and completely negated the designer’s attempt for adding this safety feature.

Some of the people from the service station commented the outcome might be very different if this weren’t a SAAB but a Japanese or Chinese car. I jokingly suggested they should purchase this 9-5 as is and use it as an advert for its safety features.

What is lucky? I think it’s when you meet the most bad fortune but don’t loose what’s most important, that could have been easily lost. For example in this accident, the driver and passenger is able to came out alive, not even suffering from any scratches. That’s luck. What brings that luck to him, is the proud safety culture and design of SAAB vehicles.

That last paragraph almost reads like it was written by a Saab employee! I’ll assume that the guys and girls at Saab China are doing more with their time than posting things on the internet (I mean, who’d waste their time doing that???).

I hope the passenger’s learned a lesson and will wear their belt from now on. No matter how safe the engineers make these puppies, your seat belt is still your first defence.

Thanks to Ying for providing the translation!

Saab Smash China

Saab Smash China

Saab Smash China

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12 Comments

  1. This performance is far more impressive than meets the eye – because the impact is high and therefore the crucial inner wing and lower impact beams have been missed completely. These normally channel the impact downwards into the firewall and floor pan – and dissapate energy through the wheel arches and sills.

    When the impact overrides the these areas, as it has here, the upper wing longerons tend to push everything into the dashboard and A posts – which usually pushes them and the roof upwards- bending the floor pan.

    So to see a heavy impact that has not put the dashboard and A posts and steering wheel up into the drivers chest/face is truly impressive.

    This is a MASSIVE testament to Saab safety engineering. Imagine this impact in a China Brilliance or a 1990s Honda. …

    And it’s why I drive a Saab.

  2. One thing thats not mentioned is the speed of the truck. If the Saab does 110 km/h at impact and the truck does 80 or 90 km/h it’s only equal to an impact at 20 – 30 km/h. That would most modern cars handle without problem.

  3. Good catch, Psycho Dave. That looks more like a 30 kmph crash than a 120 kmph crash. It looks like the sheet metal just sheared off and the engine took some of the energy.

  4. Dave- sorry but surely you are assuming the relative speed of the truck?

    Not a reliable way to assess the situation.

    The truck could have been doing 80 or 90 kmh -or even less, or more. The assumed forwards speed of the truck – whatever it was – does not directly correlate to the impact damage of the Saab -not least because the truck has no crush zone and no soft imapct area- as does the nose of the Saab.

    Its all about dynamics and dissapation.

    Looking at the photos again- in real depth, you can see that the boonnet/hoot has caught the impact and peeled up and back – so the impact may be less severe than first thought – as the bonnet should collapse at even low speeds.

    But, look at the inner wing area that is exposed as grey primer above the wheel arch liner. It is clearly heavily deformed along the top rail – thus this was a bigger impact than assumptions about the unknown, undocumented relative forward speed of the truck could suggest if you just look at a peeled bonnet lid.

    First thing you are taught at crash investigation school- look for the signs not the speculation….

  5. I guess too, that the broken windshield on the truck speculated to be from flying objects indicates it received a substantial jolt which mere sheet metal shearing back wouldn’t do. Still, it would be nice to know the truck’s speed, weight, and rear design.

  6. this is clearly a very bad crash when two cars crash head on or car to truck you have to take the speed of the car in this example 110 KPH plus the speed off the truck for example 60 KPH than you have the real impact speed in this crash 170KPH This is a verry impressiv result off how safe saab cars are

  7. Message to Lance: I has a feeling you were going to write in on this one… Like you said, good thing I got out of the Acura… Saab’s new ad agency should use this on the next tv spot. TELL US MORE ABOUT THE SAFETY. These posted pictures would stay in any Mom’s or Dad’s head. Show the pictures, and then state that the owners walked away, show the Saab sign and end the take. Thats a 30 sec. spot with no music and minimal narration. It tells me a lot about the product.

  8. “Some of the people from the service station commented the outcome might be very different if this weren’t a SAAB but a Japanese or Chinese car.”

    Who says Chinese cars are not safe?

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