The U.S. government wants roofs on new vehicles to be 50 percent stronger to improve safety in a rollover. The automakers counter that they face $100 million in added annual cost for the vehicle redesign and want the new standards adjusted. The standards haven't been changed for 30 years, but in 2005 NHTSA offered a new proposal that would boost the standard to 2.5 times vehicle weight. Automakers complained a little about this a year ago, but with increased competition and shaky earnings reports, they're now much more vocal in getting regulators to back off. Besides stronger roofs, NHTSA also wants sufficient headroom for tha average adult male. Regulations would, for the first time, include SUVS and pickups. Automakers say heavier, less aerodynamic vehicles will cost more, decrease fuel economy and increase emissions. Adding to the debate, consumer groups say the proposed standards are too weak. Congress has required new standards by July 2008.
[Source: Reuters via MSN Money]