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Side Impact Crash Test of The BMW X5 By The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety Demonstrates Importance of The First Head Protection System Offered In an SUV

    WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The BMW X5, the world's
first light truck equipped with a head protection system, demonstrated the
importance of such systems in a recent side-impact crash test conducted by the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.  The test involved ramming an X5
sideways at 18 mph into a stationary pole.
    While the impact speed of this test might seem low, according to Brian
O'Neill, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "impacts
into rigid objects such as poles or trees at 18 mph are, in fact, very
severe."  After the test O'Neill observed, "these tests demonstrate that
people can survive serious side impact crashes in the real world because head
airbags prevent their heads from striking rigid objects."  He went on to note
that, "side airbags with head protection represent a very important safety
development that will save lives and prevent major head trauma in a range of
serious side impact crashes."
    Nearly 10,000 deaths occur each year in side impact crashes, according to
the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the U.S. Department of
Transportation, and more than half of these deaths involve head injuries.
Thirty eight percent of single-vehicle side impact crash deaths occur when
vehicles strike trees or poles on the dead occupants' side.  In two-vehicle
side impact crashes, 38 percent of car occupant deaths occur when a pickup or
SUV strikes the car.
    "At BMW, we are very dedicated to the safety and well-being of everyone
who rides in our vehicles," said Tom Purves, Chairman of BMW US Holding Corp.,
"which is why BMW was the first manufacturer to offer a head protection system
in our automobiles and first again in a light truck.  We are pleased that in
side impact tests conducted twice by the Institute, BMW's HPS has proven
itself to be so effective."
    The benefit of BMW's HPS was first demonstrated by the IIHS in 1998 in a
side impact test of an HPS-equipped BMW 5 Series.  After that test the
International Brain Injury Association awarded BMW its "Safe Car of the
Millennium" in recognition of the BMW Head Protection System.
    This is the second recent crash of the X5 performed by the IIHS.  In a
recent 40 mph frontal offset crash test, a BMW X5 not only achieved the best
results of any SUV ever tested by the Institute, but the best results of any
vehicle they had tested to date.

                                BMW IN AMERICA

    BMW of North America, Inc. was established in 1975.  Since then, the
company has grown to include marketing, sales and financial service
organizations in the United States; a South Carolina manufacturing operation;
DESIGNWORKS/USA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office
in Palo Alto and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW is
represented in the U.S. through a network of more than 340 car, 315 Sports
Activity Vehicle and 160 motorcycle retailers.  BMW US Holding Corp., the
Group's headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in
Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
    Information about BMW products is available to consumers via the World
Wide Web on the BMW homepage.  The address is: http://www.bmwusa.com.


SOURCE BMW North America
Web Site: http://www.bmwusa.com

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