The Tennessee-made Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat have both received the highest crash test rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Not appearing on the closely-watched list is the top-selling Toyota Camry, which performed poorly in a new part of the test.
The “small overlap front crash” is meant to show how a car would hold up if it hit a tree or telephone pole, but not squarely in the middle of the bumper.
Nissan’s director of product safety Bob Yakushi says this kind of crash has been a focus for the company’s design team.
“The all-new Altima, it was engineered specifically for this type of offset crash since this was a new mode IIHS was looking at.”
Nissan believes its Altima, which is assembled in Smyrna, now gains a competitive edge on the Camry. So does VW, which makes the Passat in Chattanooga. Both automakers have stated goals to take down the Camry as the best-selling sedan in the country.