NEW BEETLE EARNS RECOGNITION FOR SAFETY
Features Bayer Corporation's Energy-Absorbing Polyurethane Foam
DETROIT, November 11, 1998 Volkswagen's New Beetle, which has been turning heads on America's highways, has now been recognized for another reason--safety.
The Board of Directors of the Automotive Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has presented Volkswagen with a Special Recognition Award for the design and implementation of integrated safety features in the New Beetle that have proven themselves in testing by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), and soon are expected to get good marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well. Part of the total vehicle passenger safety design includes utilization of impact-reduction components in the car's interior.
This includes Bayfill EA (energy absorbing) polyurethane foam from Bayer Corporation, which is used in the shroud for the steering wheel column, knee bolsters in the instrument panel, and shoulder and hip bolsters in the door panels and rear quarter trim panels.
The Special Recognition Award was given here this evening at the 28th annual dinner of SPE's Automotive Division at the Detroit Westin Hotel. It notes the use by Volkswagen of plastics and polyurethanes as part of a comprehensive approach to safety on the car. The award was announced by Suzanne Cole, President of Cole and Associates, Inc., a regulatory issues management consulting firm, who is also a member of the SPE Automotive Division's Board of Directors.
"Our Board knows how important auto safety is and wanted to recognize when approaches to achieving safety have been especially innovative," Cole said. "Volkswagen's New Beetle is one of the safest vehicles on the road today in part because of Volkswagen's integration of plastic and polyurethane components with the overall design of the car and with other materials used in making the car."
Cole said the special recognition notes that Volkswagen's senior management has made a commitment to be a leader in safety. "The New Beetle's safety cage incorporates five different energy-absorbing polyurethane foam crush zones in its design," Cole said. "It also uses improved front seat belts, dual airbags, side air bags, structural plastics in both the front and rear end assemblies--all integrated by excellent design."
Cole showed a videotape of crash testing of the New Beetle which clearly demonstrated how the car measured up. It earned the highest safety rating of 16 sub-compact cars in testing by the IIHS and is also expected to receive good marks from the NHTSA.
The SPE award was accepted on behalf of Volkswagen by Dieter Morsch, manager of body design and trim, Volkswagen AG, Wolfsburg, Germany. He was accompanied by representatives of American Thieme, which makes the energy-absorbing interior components; Bayer Corporation, suppliers of the energy-absorbing polyurethane foam; Sommer Allibert, the systems integrator for the interior of the New Beetle; and Plastics Omnium, the manufacturer of the front and rear bumper systems.
Cole said that in the past, steel was equated with safety. Today, she said, the NHTSA and IIHS have seen in their testing how the incorporation of energy-absorption plastics and polyurethane systems in vehicles contributes to the overall safety of passengers and the crash-worthiness of the vehicles. "Plastics can be a driver in saving lives," Cole said.
Bayer's Bayfill EA foams are used in automotive manufacturing worldwide. Applications include bumper protection as well as head and neck protection and front and side impact protection.
For more information on auto safety regulations and testing, contact: Cole and Associates, Inc., 16024 Willowshore Drive, Suite 200, Fenton, Mich. 48430. Telephone: (810) 750-3863.
For more information on energy-absorbing polyurethane foams, contact: Bayer Corporation, Polymers Marketing Communications Group, 100 Bayer Road, Pittsburgh, Pa. 15205-9741. Telephone: 1-800-622-6004.
Bayer Corporation is a research-based company with major businesses in health care and life sciences, chemicals and imaging technologies. The company had 1997 sales of $9.3 billion and employs more than 26,000 people. Bayer Corporation is investing $9 billion in capital expenditures and research and development from 1995 through the year 2000. 1998 capital investment and R&D expenditures are projected to total $1.7 billion. Bayer Corporation, with headquarters in Pittsburgh, is a member of the worldwide Bayer Group, a $32 billion chemical and pharmaceutical company based in Leverkusen, Germany.