In response to Tesla's claim that the Model S is the safest car ever tested, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a statement clearing up how it rates cars. While not denying that the Model S is a very safe car, the agency said that its rating system is only between one and five stars – nothing higher and nothing lower.

This means that, unlike honors classes in college and high school, there is no way to score above the highest rating, and Tesla says that it received a 5.4-star rating (although there is no indication where it got this information). Also, NHTSA made no mention of any broken equipment it suffered while testing the Model S; another claim made by Tesla. Scroll down for the Model S crash video courtesy of ABC News as well as NHTSA's brief statement.


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NHTSA Statement on 5-Star Safety Ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is committed to improving safety on the nation's roadways and helping motorists make informed decisions about new or used vehicles they are considering purchasing. The agency's 5-Star Safety Ratings program is designed to provide consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles beyond what is required by Federal standards. One star is the lowest rating; five stars is the highest. More stars equal safer cars. NHTSA does not rate vehicles beyond 5 stars and does not rank or order vehicles within the star rating categories. In addition, the agency has guidelines in place for manufacturers and advertising agencies to follow to ensure that accurate and consistent information is conveyed to the public.


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  • 119 Comments
      Yellowstone Jack
      • 1 Year Ago
      rebuffs, or rebuts?
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Yellowstone Jack
        I'm sure they mean rebut, although that is the least of AutoBlog's problems.
      j
      • 1 Year Ago
      Interesting headline. Even NHSTA said it got the, "highest scores ever." What NHTSA actually said was that Tesla couldn't claim that the tests showed it was the safest car ever. That is a statistical, rubber on the road, claim that their "crashworthy" tests simply do not measure.
      RWD.Master
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great, now full frontal crash tests are so 90s, lets see the offset and small overlap crash tests Tesla!
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Much ado about nothing.
      Chris
      • 1 Year Ago
      C'mon, Autoblog, you're better than this. As stated before, your brother website Translogic answers almost all questions you pose above (including the 5.4 stars). "In preparing the Model S for production, Tesla says they commissioned a series of internal tests to validate the vehicle's safety. During a "roof crush protection" test, the automaker claims that the Model S actually broke the testing machine, after withstanding over 4 G's of pressure."-http://translogic.aolautos.com/2013/08/20/tesla-model-s-sets-nhtsa-vehicle-safety-record/?ncid=edlinkusauto00000006&ts=1377010383 The testing machine was part of a TESLA INTERNAL test. No NHTSA testing equipment was broken, which is why they never mentioned it. This isn't Tesla trying to get away with anything here. Do your homework before posting.
        purrpullberra
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris
        I'm sorry to tell you this but get ready. They aren't better than this. It's ok, they aren't going for a Pulitzer or doing anything very important. So its cool to frak up even simple things like facts since it's just AB. I mean what does it matter? Does ***PRIDE*** mean nothing? Of course it means nothing, it's just AB and ABG. "Autoblog/green; we work hard for you, when/if we want, with very little editorial oversight, yeah!"
      That Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla: As dishonest as Ford. Seriously, I have the popcorn ready for when this company goes down in flames. They are a complete house of cards and the product is mediocre at best.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @That Guy
        Go ahead... short their stock ;)
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          sorry Joe, stock is not a sign of the strength of a company....far from it actually....
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Never said it was.... all stock is about speculation about the future. The current strength of Tesla is no where near enough to justify its stock price. But the speculation of their future strength, is indeed.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @That Guy
        You dont get out much, huh? The equipment did break as verified by numerous sources on the project. They have built the best car ever produced in America, no small feat. They got 5 stars in every category. There is no arguing that. Should they get extra points for going above and beyond? Many think so. Leaving 9x as much room for the passengers after a crash as the next safest vehicle (Volvo) is an engineering marvel.
          fuzzyfish6
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          "Best" is subjective. There is no such thing as a "best" anything for everybody.
          Dean Hammond
          • 1 Year Ago
          @m_2012
          thats entirely your opinion m_2012, one you are entitle dtoo, but dont be puturbed if not everyone agrees with you...I LOVE the S, but the constant over hyping is becoming wearing....good car yes, excellent car yes...the best...uh uh....thats a personal decision....
      loopless
      • 1 Year Ago
      More BS from Tesla. A bit like saying they are the top selling luxury car. They do not compete against the Audi A8/BMW 7 Series/S-Class. They are in a different size segment. The natural competitors are the A6/5-Series/E-Class. That's a different sales story.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        I cannot believe this ultra right wing crap is still alive and kicking. It goes to show, that Elon must be aggressive in his defense of his company. He may seem too arrogant to some people... but if he weren't, this is the kind of ignorant BS we would be hearing a lot more of in the news.
        pickles
        • 1 Year Ago
        California is *not* in an beginning stages of an economic collapse... quite the contrary. We here have a surplus of between $1.2 and 4.4 blllion dollars. And if California is a part of Musk's success, it only brings more success to the state.
        what
        • 1 Year Ago
        So he bilked California out of four times its annual budget? Please do explain.
        wtrmlnjuc
        • 1 Year Ago
        Source not found.
        Sorten Borten
        • 1 Year Ago
        "So in a state that is currently in the beginning stages of economic collapse" Are you living in 2010? You may want to read some up to date news on the CA budget.
        • 1 Year Ago
        [blocked]
        Christopher Reibold
        • 1 Year Ago
        "Credits" - not tax dollars. Tesla benefits from California’s Zero Emissions Credit program. California mandated that all the major auto companies sell a certain number of zero emissions vehicles. If they don’t they have to buy credits from companies that do make them — namely Tesla. This was also essential in putting the company in the black in Q1, and the company is sitting on $250 mm worth of these credits Tesla also received the $465m loan from DOE, but it also benefits from a $7500/car federal subsidy for electric cars.
          Grendal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Christopher Reibold
          A tax credit is not a subsidy. If so, then your children are subsidies and so is your mortgage. Stick to calling it a tax credit and skip the subsidy statement.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        Good back to your video games, troll. You have no idea what you just said. They owe the government exactly $0, and even paid their loan back with INTEREST. Lets review: Tesla owes the government $0. Tax credits are not funded by the taxpayers, they are earned by the payer. Tesla is turning a profit and building cars in the USA.
        purrpullberra
        • 1 Year Ago
        You have every fact wrong. No one has been as wrong and unsuccessful as you, we get it. Poor Cali, imagine! Losing you! Since you took your attitude with you to Fla I'm sure Cali loves finally you. I'm glad you're so angry at your lack of success.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla has been Brodered again! Tesla scored 5.4 VSS, which translates to 5 stars. Only the journalists called it 5.4 stars; its 5.4 VSS = 5 stars. Using the data, they scored 5.4, higher than any other vehicle which translate to 5. NHTSA does not award anything above 5, but that DOES NOT take away from the fact that they scored 5.4 VSS. Any other car that got 5 stars scored 5.0, 5.1. 5.2, or 5.3. Only Tesla got 5.4 and no one has gotten higher.
      Hector Iglesias
      • 1 Year Ago
      Tesla's arrogance and smug attitude is going to get it into trouble...
        express2day
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        I agree. The Model S should be able to stand on its own merits without Tesla having to overplay the media and come across as desperate for attention, arrogant, smug, etc. It's this kind of "attitude" that unfortunately makes Tesla such a polarizing company.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @express2day
          --" It's this kind of "attitude" that unfortunately makes Tesla such a polarizing company." No, it's their disruption of conventional transportation that makes them polarizing. This whole "arrogance" argument is an excuse. And yes, they have a responsibility to play the media. Otherwise, the Oil Lobbyists, Dealership Associations, Anti-Global Warming Shills, and the Broder's of the world will "play the media" in the opposing direction.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        They earned it. Yes, they should be careful, but they have the right to thump their chest right now.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Hector Iglesias
        Maybe their arrogance is deserved. It's kind of annoying, but they have earned the bragging rights at the same time.
      FutureDoc
      • 1 Year Ago
      In other news, I heard it ran out of juice on the sled and they had to push it into the wall. Source: Jezza
      daveogermany
      • 1 Year Ago
      Musk is the Donald Trump of the auto industry. All talk, no substance. Articles like this are proof of that. There's not a manufacturer out there who's really concerned about Tesla. Comparing him to Tucker is a joke. Tuckers car had innovations and there is nothing new here tech-wise, it's just packaging that's different. And as for the looks of the car, sorry but that's subjective. Personally I think it's boring on the outside and poorly laid out on the inside. That giant screen, that looks like the order kiosk at the local fastfood joint, is proof that he's all about the "it's the biggest and most luxurious" pissing match.
        Grendal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @daveogermany
        Let's see what accomplishments Mr. Musk has achieved and then we'll see why daveogermany is absolutely wrong: 1. Created an electric car that people are eager to buy. 2. The car has won every major award and has received almost universally positive reviews. 3. Awarded the highest score from Consumer Reports who also said it was the best car they ever tested. 4. Given an all around 5 star safety rating that only 1% of cars ever achieve. 5. Tesla is the only car company that doesn't owe its government any money or hasn't been granted a pardon on a debt. 6. GM credits Tesla for inspiring them to create the Voltec system. There are a whole lot more on the list but you hopefully get the point. Tucker was an innovator for his day but Tesla and Elon has actually built and is selling their car.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @daveogermany
        Not to mention that Elon has twice the net worth of Donald Trump.
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