Ford, Subaru and Volkswagen sit atop the insurance industry's annual list of the safest new vehicles, according to a closely watched assessment used by car companies to lure safety-conscious consumers to showrooms.
The Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded its "top safety pick" on Wednesday to 19 passenger cars and eight sport utility vehicles for the 2010 model year. The institute substantially reduced the number of awards compared with 2009, because of tougher requirements for roof strength.
Ford and its Volvo unit received the most awards with six, followed by five awards apiece for Japanese automaker Subaru and German automaker Volkswagen AG and its Audi unit.
Chrysler Group received four awards followed by two each for Honda Motor and General Motors.
Toyota Motor, BMW, Mazda and Mitsubishi were shut out in the annual IIHS review.
Ford's recipients include the Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS passenger cars and the Volvo S80 and C30 passenger cars and the XC60 and XC90 SUVs.
Ford said in a statement it is "committed to providing customers with safe vehicles for a broad range of real-world crash conditions."
Subaru recorded winners with the Subaru Legacy, Outback and Impreza cars and Tribeca and Forester SUVs. Subaru was the only automaker with an IIHS winner in all four vehicle classes in which it competes.
The automaker, which has bucked the brutal U.S. sales market with a 13 percent increase during the first 10 months of 2009, attributed its safety success to a unique engine design that sits low in the vehicle chassis and moves down and under occupants in a frontal collision.