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Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra Fare Worst in Government Crash Tests

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Two General Motors Corp. pickup trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, fared the worst in a new batch of government crash tests of 2005 pickups, the government reported Wednesday.

In rollover tests, the Ford Ranger and the Mazda B-Series fared worst among a list of pickups with four-wheel drive. The trucks received two out of five stars and had a 30.6 percent chance of rollover, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA gave both the two-door and four-door versions of the Silverado and Sierra three out of five stars for passenger-side frontal crash tests. The vehicles, which merited four stars for driver-side frontal crash tests, are considered corporate twins and share the same test results.

Three stars equals a 21 percent to 35 percent chance of serious injury in a similar real-world crash. Four stars equals an 11 percent to 20 percent chance of serious injury. NHTSA conducts the front-impact test at 35 mph.

Two 2005 pickups -- the two-door versions of the Dodge Dakota and Toyota Tacoma -- received five stars for all seat positions in frontal and side crash tests. Two-door and four-door versions of the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram 1500 received top scores in frontal crash tests.

Alan Adler, a General Motors Corp. spokesman, noted the Silverado and Sierra received four stars in rollover ratings and are equipped with safety items such as antilock brakes and daytime running lamps, a feature that has been credited with slicing through fog and glare to reduce collisions with pedestrians.

He said the ratings were consistent with previous scores for the trucks and added that the pickups would be redesigned in the next few years.

"When you look at total safety, this is a very, very safe vehicle," Adler said.

Ford spokeswoman Cheryl Eberwein said the Ranger "received a rating that is comparable to other similar vehicles in this class" and asserted the tests did not reflect the truck's performance on the road. She said results were based on an October 2004 test.

Jeremy Barnes, a Mazda spokesman, said the company did not believe the rankings and ratings showed the vehicle's real-world performance. The B-Series was also tested in October 2004.

"Each and every vehicle that we sell to the public, without fail, meets or exceeds the federal safety standard," Barnes said.

The two-door Ranger and B-Series received top scores in driver's side-impact tests, along with the two-door Dodge Dakota, the four-door Nissan Frontier and the two-door versions of the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra.

NHTSA released crash test results for 23 makes and models of pickup trucks and rollover ratings for 18 makes and models of pickups.

New 2005 frontal impact tests were released for the two-door version of the Chevrolet Colorado, the four-door Chevrolet Silverado, the two- and four-door Dodge Dakota, the two-door GMC Canyon, the four-door GMC Sierra, the four-door Nissan Frontier, the four-door Nissan Titan and the two-door Toyota Tacoma. New rollover ratings were issued for the Dodge Dakota.

The agency chooses vehicles to test based on popularity and other factors. Test results for vehicles that are not redesigned are carried over from previous years but are valid for the current model year, NHTSA spokeswoman Elly Martin said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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