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GM Introduces Lighter, Safer Driver Airbag

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Dec. 27, 2012—General Motors recently debuted the industry’s first driver-side airbag that uses flexible venting technology in the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze.

The new airbag is designed to deploy more efficiently while providing equivalent crash protection to more expensive and complex airbag systems. Unlike more complex dual-stage airbags that use one inflator for low-speed crashes and another for high-speed crashes, GM said the Cruze is equipped with a single-stage, “smart airbag,” which uses one lower output inflator to manage both low-speed and high-speed crash forces.

GM said the airbag system, which was co-developed with safety restraint supplier Takata, is more compact, lighter weight and safer. The system’s flexible vent reduces the risk of inflation-induced injury by allowing the forward momentum of all sizes of drivers to push the air out and away.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently tested the 2013 Cruze with the new airbag technology under its New Car Assessment Program. The Cruze received NHTSA’s maximum 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score, according to GM.

“This new airbag technology is a smart way to manage crash forces, and is an integral part of Cruze’s continued success in safety testing,” said Gay Kent, general director of vehicle safety and crashworthiness for GM. “The latest safety rating reflects the confidence we have in its new and carry-over safety technologies and overall crashworthiness.”

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