DEATH TRAP DEBUT: Don't buy the 2017 Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang has been independently verified as a safety shitbox. Perhaps the term 'disgrace' is more appropriate. Flipsides of the same unacceptable, death-trap coin...

Check out my follow-up response video >>

Mustang scored just two stars, and failed to achieve the minimum requirement for five stars in three out of four critical categories

Mustang scored just two stars, and failed to achieve the minimum requirement for five stars in three out of four critical categories

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

ANCAP - the Aussie crash testing dudes - recently gave the mighty Mustang just two stars for safety under its new protocols. Out of five.

The term ‘death trap’ just leaps off the tongue. 

James Goodwin - the big cheese at ANCAP - described the result as (quote) “simply shocking”. This is CEO shorthand for: ‘holy shit, batman - I’m surprised even the blue oval bozos could get it this horribly wrong'.

Predictably of course, the bullshit factory, went into overdrive. And, by ‘bullshit factory’ I mean ‘spin central’ at Ford. Unbelievable. You know when those intrepid nuclear physicists investigate the sarcophagus at Chernobyl, and their geiger counters go off...

...this is going to sound like that, only with bullshit, instead of radiation. And you know how I feel about corporate bullshit. (We’re already stocked up on that.)

Ford's Stated Position

In this very standard crash, both front airbags failed to work properly

In this very standard crash, both front airbags failed to work properly

Here’s what Ford Australia said:

“We are disappointed by the Ford Mustang EuroNCAP rating.” - Ford

This is how insidious bullshit really is. Did you pick that up? They’re disappointed by the rating - not by the shithouse crash performance of their dog of a pony car, not by its woeful lack of advanced safety features. Not by the way it crashed so unacceptably, twice. They’re disappointed by the rating.

What a neat magic trick with bullshit - be disappointed and at the same time implicitly cast aspersions on the ratings themselves. Incredibly enough, Ford’s spin doctoring dicks - personal opinion - are reported to have said (barf bags at the ready):

“Mustang is a safe vehicle meeting, or exceeding, all applicable safety standards globally.” - Ford

Well, d’oh. I think they mean ‘compulsory, mandated standards’, not all standards. But thanks for the vital compliance update, arseholes. If it didn’t comply with the woefully inadequate mandated safety standards, it wouldn’t be on sale. If mandated safety standards were even halfway adequate, we would not need a global network of independent NCAP organisations to keep bastards like these honest.

This is the fairly mundane crash that almost certainly kills the rear seat passenger...

This is the fairly mundane crash that almost certainly kills the rear seat passenger...

ANCAP's Position

According to ANCAP:

“The full width frontal test showed a risk of serious head, chest and leg injury for the rear passenger.” - ANCAP

They’re talking about a test that takes place at just 50km/h - that’s about 30 miles per hour. You know how slow that feels in a Mustang…

ANCAP says: “Serious head, chest and leg injury”. This means: ‘will kill you quickly at the roadside, usually from blood loss, significant vascular damage, subdural hematoma, or you might just drown in your own blood or suffocate from collapsed lungs’. Does any of that sound especially like fun to you?

ANCAP says:

“There was also insufficient inflation of both the driver and front passenger airbags in the frontal offset test.” - ANCAP

They’re talking about a test that takes place at just 64 kilometres per hour.

ANCAP says, of this “insufficient” airbag inflation:

“...which allowed the driver’s head to contact the steering wheel and the passenger’s head to contact the dashboard.” - ANCAP

What Crash Tests Represent

So - let’s get this straight: Ford says the Mustang is (quote unquote) “a safe vehicle”. The facts are, the human brain is in a rigid box made of bone, with a significant blood supply. That blood supply through arteries, veins and capillaries, has structural load limits. If you exceed them by - I dunno - hitting your head on the steering wheel or the dashboard - the blood vessels rupture. You start bleeding into, and pumping up, a space with no capacity for expansion.

The human brain feels no pain. None. So I guess that’s a plus. But the treatment options for these subdural hematomas are just this side of medieval. If you are lucky enough to survive for 15 minutes until world-class paramedical intervention arrives at the roadside, they’ll sedate and paralyse you on the spot - pump you full of drugs you’re really not supposed to be familiar with - like fentanyl, maybe suxamethonium, drugs like that.

You won’t be able to breathe for yourself in that state - they’ll intubate you and handle that. They’ll pump your lungs full of pure oxygen gas - it’s a vasoconstrictor. That’s an attempt to narrow the blood vessels delivering blood to your brain.

If you’re really lucky and they dust you off in a rescue helicopter, the pilot might need to request special dispensation for low-level flight - putting him and the crew at significant additional risk (because it’s harder to pull off an emergency landing in a low-level helicopter).

Without a moment’s hesitation, these people will risk their lives to save yours. They’ll shoulder that risk so the altitude doesn’t start to undo to the vaso-constricting benefits of the O2 that’s keeping you going. At the trauma centre, they’ll keep you in that medically induced coma - in fact, even that’s a euphemism.

Whenever you hear ‘medically induced coma’, it means ‘profound brain injury’. Grim reaper in the next room, ready to chalk your silhouette up on the pavement.

Basically, what they’re going to do from here on in, is just wait and see if you get better. If the damage is serious, and if you are really lucky, you will die. Trust me on this. It’s the preferred option. I mean, you see people who’ve recovered from brain injuries. Their lives are tough, but manageable. You don’t really see the ones who don’t recover, but live.

They’re the ones in their 20s or 30s, who spend the next 30 to 50 years lying flat on a bed in a nursing home, unable to speak, unable to move, eat, read, change the friggin’ TV channel. Whatever. But their intellects survive. This is a living hell. It’s worse than anything Dante wrote about in Inferno.

It’s why I hold arsehole spin doctors who say (quote) “the Mustang is safe” in utter contempt. When clearly this vehicle holds the door open to these kinds of terrible outcomes. It’s why my jihad on bullshit matters, at least to me. A Ford arsehole spin doctor (personal opinion) said:

“Customers can continue to enjoy their Mustang knowing that it features advanced safety features and a structure designed to manage crash energy under a variety of crash modes.” - Ford

Disgraceful bullshit. Epic. They can continue to enjoy it until they crash and discover a Subaru would have protected them a lot better. But let’s detain ourselves briefly with the notion of being a Mustang owner. The anticipation...

Owning a Mustang Now

In March last year the Mustang waiting list was widely reported.

The backlog - almost two years. Six thousand Aussie punters in the queue. This is before the car went on sale last May. Gagging for it. Dry-humping - I dunno - the mailman - in anticipation. Light at the end of the factory-closing tunnel, perhaps.

How would you feel now? Either with that safety shitbox in the driveway, or awaiting its delivery? It’s a second-rate safety disgrace. Surely this takes some of the gloss off? It certainly would for me. It looks great - but it has the same star rating as a first-generation Great Wall ute. Kinda puts it in perspective - even though less stringent protocols were used in earlier ANCAP tests on the Great Wall.

ANCAP's New Protocols

ANCAP's 2017 minimum requirements for the various star ratings are broadly in line with the Euro NCAP requirements (click to enlarge). Mustang failed to achieve the minimum requirement for five stars in three of the four categories

Even if tested to those earlier protocols the Mustang would not have achieved five stars. It would join a distinguished list of former outstanding safety shitboxes like the previous Audi Q7, the previous Grand Cherokee and the current Range Rover Evoque - elite death traps, all of them. Premium death traps.

Can you imagine the outcry if a Hyundai or a Kia scored two stars - perhaps with the Genesis, or the upcoming Stinger. It would be a friggin’ feeding frenzy. So you have to ask yourself: Why is Ford apparently a protected species on this? Why is the criticism surrounding this result diluted apparently, to the point of homeopathy? We’ll get to that.

Interesting factoid: ANCAP says Ford Australia actively didn’t help them with cars for local crash tests, which is why EuroNCAP crash-test data was used in determining the ANCAP rating for our region. In hindsight, it’s pretty easy to speculate about why - because it’s inconceivable Ford did not know, internally, that assisting ANCAP would only oxygenate Mustang’s ‘safety shitbox’ determination earlier.

And if that is true, they pre-sold all those cars knowing they were death traps, comparatively.

Media Reports

One final criticism: The motoring media. I’m talking about Drive, Carsguide, CarAdvice, etc. I get that Ford’s an advertiser. I do. But the reports in these outlets are simply disgraceful. Presenting ANCAP’s side of this story alongside Ford’s - giving the opposing comments equal weight: like, here’s what ANCAP said. Here’s what Ford said. We take no position on it: Unbelievable.

Stories don’t generally have two equal sides. At the risk of sounding like friggin’ Yoda, there is no balance. The best stories are not equal, opposing opinion. They’re about right and wrong. This presentation of apparent equality of both sides in relation to this issue is not balanced reporting. It’s asymmetric advertiser fellatio.

It’s like: ‘Hey, sorry, we just have to report this … but we’ll tell your side too, and we’ll be gentle. Please don’t hate us.’ This is why people detest the media - when it becomes nothing more than a corporate bullshit support and delivery system.

As for locating independent critical comment in the press - that’s needle in a haystack stuff for you. Actually it’s harder than that - because at least the needle is in the haystack - allegedly. It’s hard to be highly critical of any company when you’re also in a competition to secure its advertising revenue.

Conclusion

Graham Whickman is the president and CEO of Ford Australia, and in my view the buck for all corporate calls by Ford in this country stops with him. In some senses I assume he’s just Dearborn’s errand boy, but - personal opinion - the responsibility for choosing to release that safety shitbox on Australian roads rests with Mr Whickman.

In a moral universe, and this may not be one - and I stress this is just my opinion - the responsibility for the consequences of Mustang’s release also rests with Mr Whickman.

So kindly don’t tell me, or the public generally how safe the Mustang is. Tell it to the first grieving relative. That’s the acid test. Because that’s what a five-star safety rating is really all about preventing. And it simply should not be optional on a $50-$70,000 brand halo car.

I don’t know Mr Whickman’s direct e-mail address, but Ford has a fairly rigid protocol for e-mail addresses. It’s probably this: gwhickma@ford.com. But that might instead connect you to Greg Whickmassino in janitorial services. (You never know.) You could CC Wes Sherwood - the Ford Oz Communications and Public Affairs Director here: wsherwoo@ford.com

Please do personally tell these chaps exactly what you think of the Mustang’s safety performance, and whether or not this is acceptable to you. Senior management is always keen to receive honest feedback. I’m sure yours would be appreciated by both these chaps, who I’m certain are highly motivated to do the right thing. I’m keen to receive your feedback too. (Especially if you’re a nut.) Looking forward to the vitriol from Mustang fan-boys everywhere. Can’t wait for that. 

FOLLOW-UP VIDEO REPORT

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Frankly I’m a bit disappointed in my ‘Mustang Don’t Buy’ video - which highlighted that shitbox’s appallingly unacceptable crash performance. The disappointing bit is: Likes are outnumbering Dislikes more than seven to one. I had hoped I’d get many more haters than that.

MUSTANG FAN-BOYS UNITE!

The one consolation about my Mustang Don’t Buy report was that at least the epically ignorant dipshits it did attract were top-shelf wombats - like this guy: 

“...you only highlight the fact that it got a two-star rating, not that it got the highest possible rating on pedestrian safety, and only fell down on the numbers due to lack of nanny features??? maybe if you had've checked the facts before jumping on the hate wagon, it wouldn't sound like a paid commercial. if the only reason you call it a "death trap" is because it doesn't feature automatic braking and lane assist, then you shouldn't have a licence, if you need those ‘features’. - Azairious

JUST SAFETY ASSIST? YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT?

The fact is, it’s not just about those safety assist features. Not by a long shot. But let’s deal with them first. Mustang was tested to a new set of crash test and safety assessment protocols for 2017. Ford knew these protocols were coming, and yet it stripped vital, lifesaving technologies out of the Mustang for Europe and Australia - and if I were a European or Australian Mustang owner I would be intensely pissed off with Ford about that.

Do you want to know why Ford did that? Don’t take my word for it - here’s what Euro NCAP’s Secretary General said about that:

“Ford did not expect Euro NCAP to test the Mustang and chose not to fit safety technology in Europe which is available to its American consumers, and available on several other sports cars for that matter.  Such an attitude to safety should trouble Ford’s customers, whether they are buying a high-powered muscle car or a regular family car.”
- Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General

I second that. Ford basically lost its lunch with surprise - and not in a good way - after Euro NCAP tested the Mustang. And now, the big bad blue oval is attempting to wipe the egg off its face by bullshitting anyone who is dumb enough to swallow it that a face-lifted Mustang will be available later this year with Pre-Collision Assist and Lane Keep Assist as standard.

SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS ON SAFETY

That technology was available all along, and they knowingly compromised the safety of all early Mustang customers by stripping it out. And that makes them card-carrying arseholes - ideological sluts, at the very least. Personal opinion. But it would be a mistake to think pre-collision assist and lane keep assist is the universal safety spak filler for Mustang. Here’s what the Euro NCAP Secretary General said about that:

“We welcome any improvement, of course, and look forward to publishing a new rating for the updated model.  However, more fundamental updates may be needed if the Mustang is to get a significantly better result. We therefore hope Ford takes the opportunity to invest in the changes needed now for future Mustang generations.”
- Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General

He’s talking about how badly it crashed. And it crashed badly. But of course, some nuts don’t want to believe this. Like this YouTube Mustang apologising troll dickhead:

“So because you idiots require lane assist and auto brake cause you can't drive shit anymore then cars are unsafe?” - JavierCR25
Screen Shot 2017-02-08 at 7.40.31 pm.png

MUSTANG CRASH TESTED UNACCEPTABLY

The fact is, the Mustang crashed disgracefully poorly, at least four different ways. I mean, even the whiplash protection, front and rear, sucked. It’s in the report. The “fundamental updates” Euro NCAP referred to in that quote just moments ago related to Mustang’s shit crashworthiness. Here’s what they said about the offset frontal test, which has been used by ANCAP and Euro NCAP since Jesus was goallie for the Nazareth Under-15s:

“...the driver's head had 'bottomed out' the airbag i.e. there was insufficient pressure in the airbag to prevent the head from contacting the steering wheel through the deflated airbag material. The head of the passenger dummy also bottomed out the airbag against the dashboard, owing to insufficient inflation of the airbag and inadequate restraint for larger statures by the front passenger seatbelt load-limiter.” - Euro NCAP

So the front airbags did not work properly, and were calibrated poorly in respect of the range of body types of potential front-seat Mustang occupants. That’s strike one. Strike two was in the even slower full width barrier crash.

“...the rear seat passenger slipped under the lap portion of the seatbelt (a phenomenon known as 'submarining') and the score for the knee, femur and pelvis body region was penalised and protection was rated as poor. Protection of the chest was also rated as poor as the rear seatbelt (which has neither pre-tensioners nor load-limiters) showed an excessively high tensile force in the test. Dummy readings of head deceleration indicated weak protection of the head for the rear passenger.” - Euro NCAP

Technical jargon. I know. I’m an engineer. Let me translate: ‘Poor’ and ‘weak’ mean: ‘likely to kill you’. Those lazy Ford motherfuckers chose not to fit pretensioners or load limiters in the rear seat, more or less guaranteeing death by high-mechanism trauma in even a slow crash, from which everyone expects to walk away in a modern car. Especially a $70,000 brand halo car.

Death by high mechanism trauma: That’s where you die, screaming in violent, brutal agony for 10 or 12 minutes trapped in the back seat with your femur shattered into 32 pieces, and then hypovolemic shock kills you before the paramedics arrive, while your mum and dad, who were in the front seat, get to watch. Something they’ll probably never forget. All because some Ford beancounter arsehole thinks rear seat safety is optional.

CARING ABOUT SAFETY: NOT OPTIONAL

"Well that's if you really want all that "latest" safety compliance in your new hot rod, some of us don't give a shit." - Allan Harris

More epically ignorant troll bullshit. You don’t get not to give a shit about new car safety. I understand all you ‘personal freedom’ aresholes are shouting at the monitor right now. My suggestion is: Take your thumbs out of your arses and listen up:

If it was just a matter of you putting yourself at risk - no problem. Knock yourself out. Literally. But it’s really not that simple. If you die or are brutally injured and forced to exist in the twilight zone between life and death, like I give a shit. But there are two key points, highlighted by this Ford Executive bullshitter (honest personal opinion):

[VIDEO GRAB - Mustang is the ultimate expression of freedom.]

The ultimate expression of freedom is not consigning everyone you love to the living hell of dealing with your preventable death, or - worse - your preventable ongoing existence in the Twilight Zone. The profound emotional trauma. The kids growing up without their dad. The kids visiting dad every week in the nursing home. The kids watching dad getting fed through the tube up his nose. Watching dad wither away and eventually die of pneumonia. Nice.

You know, at least people can move on if you die. It’s much harder if you linger inconsiderately for a few decades in the Twilight Zone between life and death. Go to a nursing home. The fake God’s waiting room. Two kinds of customers, right: the elderly and young car crash victims. If this is your choice, and you open this door, you are either an antisocial idiot, or a sociopath - and Ford has no right to hold the door open for you with its deficient design and contributory negligence.

And let’s say you’re the kind of isolated, introverted tool with absolutely no personal connections - it’s still not your right not to give a shit about your safety. Live fast and/or die. Because the rest of us will be footing the bill for the pureed carrots you’ll be snorting for the next 30 years - and the high cost of all the advanced medical care you’ll need, around the clock. It’s simply not your choice, nor is it Ford’s.

CRASH TEST CRITICS

"The crash tests are crap anyway - who drives into a concrete wall?"
- Jez Stokes

And this fake-named muppet with delusions of adequacy:

lets face it even a 5 star rated vehicle won't save you in a head on at 110 kph - in reality ratings are misleading and in order for proper evaluation of safety testing all testing should be carried out at speeds at the max limit of 110kph" - Majorgeeek

To these two bozos I’d say: crash tests are in fact extremely well thought out, by people with advanced engineering expertise, and extensive access to real-world crash data. You cannot ride in a car and dismiss the notion of advanced engineering expertise without being an epic hypocrite. You can’t.

So to Jez Stokes I’d say: why highlight the fact that you don’t understand crash testing basics, or even basic physics? And why offer an opinion on something about which you are so profoundly ignorant? It’s that simple, in my view.

To Majorgeeek I’d suggest all of that, too, plus: Head-on collisions at 110km/h, impacts into unyielding objects at that speed, are essentially unsurvivable. There’s just too much energy. The only solution to crashing at that speed is civil engineering - wire rope barriers to prevent head-ons and running off the road. Physical separation of opposing traffic flows. Grade-separated interchanges. These are the only solutions at high speeds.

Crash energy increases with the square of speed. This is why expecting the structure of a car to protect you into an unyielding object at 110 is nuts. The offset frontal crash test takes place at 64 kilometres per hour. It’s a severe impact.

You’d have three times the energy at 110. These kinds of suggestions - let’s do it all at 110 because I say it’s a good idea - they’re just nuts. All they do is scream ‘ignorant fuckwit’. Out of touch with the real world. Speaking of which:

“hahaha who ever believes what this old fart is saying is a damn fool lol There are real world proof that the mustang can withstand severe damage and protect its occupant.”
- George Palacious

Newsflash, George: The job of the structure of a car is not to (quote) “withstand severe damage” but to crumple in a controlled way so that the time duration of the collision is maximally extended, mitigating the loads on the people inside. When you see a mashed up front end - totally destroyed - that’s a good thing. You’re looking of evidence of controlled energy dissipation. Much more likely to see the occupants ambulatory, at the roadside. They don’t make ‘em like they used to - and that’s why you’re more likely to survive today.

MESSAGE FOR FORD CEO MARK FIELDS

Mark Fields is the CEO of Ford.

[MARK FIELDS VIDEO GRAB]

Well, Mr Fields, personal opinion: you did screw it up. Man up and own it. Turn off the bullshit tap mate. The facts are, everyone from Mr Fields down knew the 2017 Euro NCAP and ANCAP protocols were coming. They’ve known for years, in granular detail. They know how to ace this test. They just didn’t expect to be tested, and they therefore they got caught with their pants down.

Ford is in damage control mode, and the company’s attempts to play this down are embarrassingly disingenuous bullshit in my view. Disgraceful. It’s like being dishonest in the public domain is an optional accessory. More ‘alternative facts’ from the global superpower of alternative fact dissemination.

HOW THE NEW FIVE-STAR RATING SYSTEM WORKS

ANCAP’s protocols are based on four entirely rational pillars: Adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assistance technology. There are minimum requirements in each, for five stars. Seems rational. Mustang scores two stars for safety assistance - that’s where the two star rating is derived.

If it had aced that test, however, it would have scored three stars for child occupant protection. Therefore: still a death trap. Let’s detain ourselves with child protection briefly. In a recent arse-covering bullshit statement, Ford Australia said:

“An important element of the Euro NCAP child safety rating includes elements such as ease of ingress/egress of the child seat, an area where 2-door coupes have a disadvantage.”
- Ford Australia

You arsehole bullshitters. Personal opinion. In reality, in the side-impact test, the 10-year-old dummy’s head missed the airbag and hit the C-pillar, for fuck’s sake. That’s not supposed to happen. Fundamentally not. It’s in the Euro NCAP report. All you have to  do is read. That’s a challenge for some commenters, I know. But if it had aced that test the Mustang would have scored only four stars for adult occupant protection. Therefore: Still a death trap.

CONCLUSION

All of this is of course completely unacceptable for a modern car - especially a modern brand icon halo car. Ford’s decision to de-spec Euro and Australian Mustangs because they thought they’d just get away with it is up there with Volkswagen’s on the scale of ultimate boardroom hubris.

It makes me wonder when was the last time Mark Fields visited the real world? And did he actually interact with any normal people while he was last here? Or did he just get out of the corporate jet and decide he liked being sucked up to in the boardroom a lot better? (Honest personal speculation.)

The thing that most challenges me here is: You nutbag Ford fan-boy apologists. See, if I were a Mustang nut, rational thought would drive my response. I’d be intensely angry that Ford had taken such bad decisions with the Mustang- liberties with my safety. From performance icon to safety shitbox in 24 hours. If instead you leapt to Ford’s defence, do me one small favour: Please don’t breed or vote.

Mustang is a safety shitbox - objective fact, not conjecture. Keep the hatemail coming.

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