Smart car aces U.S. crash test despite door opening
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daimler AG's new Smart minicar got top marks for handling side crashes in a U.S. government crash test even though the driver's-side door opened during the simulation, the U.S. agency said.
The German automaker put the two-door Smart ForTwo model on sale in the United States this year, eager to tap demand for fuel-efficient cars at a time of near-record prices at the pump.
On its website, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the driver's door unlatched and opened during a side-impact crash test of the model.
"A door opening during a side impact crash increases the likelihood of occupant ejection," it noted.
Still, the Smart car got five out of five stars for its ability to protect occupants during side crashes. It won four stars for sheltering drivers and three stars for passengers during head-on crashes.
Penske Automotive Group, which is distributing the car in North America, has said it expects to sell up to 25,000 two-seat Smart cars in the United States this year.
Daimler was not immediately available for comment on Friday.
(Reporting by Michael Shields)
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