Over time, perceptions of a car’s strength have evolved. In the past, a car that appeared to be ‘strong’ was thought to be safe in an accident. Safety was perceived to be provided by large, heavy chrome bumpers, solid metal body panels and chassis that did not budge under impact. Numerous clients have complained to me over the past 25 years that ‘cars aren’t made like they used to be’ and ‘all these automobiles appear flimsy and fall apart in an accident’. This kind of thinking is false.
Modern cars are sophisticated pieces of equipment built to protect its occupants in the case of an accident. Cars are designed to deform and crumple in a controlled manner, absorbing and transferring the powerful forces of an impact away from the occupants. For instance, by slowing a cars deceleration time from 0.2 seconds to 0.8 seconds will result in a massive 75 per cent reduction in the total force involved in the accident. Energy is now absorbed, destroying specific parts of the car and not being exerted on the occupants, resulting in substantially less trauma on the human body and saving lives.
The quality of steel utilised throughout the vehicle is one area in the car industry where strength has a significant influence. There are more than 30 grades of steel available to the industry with multiple grades used in the one car, each one playing a crucial role in protecting the passenger. Over the past decade Advance High Strength Steel (AHSS) has become the fastest-growing material in the automotive industry and a key factor when it comes to vehicle weight reduction as well as more stringent crash test. These new grades of AHSS can be rolled thinner without losing strength, making vehicles lighter by 25 to 40 per cent compared to using regular steel. Using a lower amount of stronger steel also reduces the material cost of building a car and by saving weight, fuel consumption is improved, which is a benefit to the environment. There are constant improvements in the design and construction of new cars that aren’t well publicised. If you are looking to upgrade your car, my sales team are ready to show you through our ever-evolving range.
Christopher Makin is the General Sales Manager of Bundaberg Motor Group, featuring nine brands and a large range of quality used cars.