Tesla Questions IIHS Motives After Model S Safety Score Slips

Tesla’s Model S failed to secure the top safety rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after the luxury sedan aced all but one crash test.

The insurance agency announced Wednesday night the Model S was given an “acceptable” rating following a series of safety tests. The only test the electric car didn’t take top honours was the small overlap frontal crash test, designed to replicate a collision at 40 mph on the driver’s side front corner.

The IIHS score challenged Tesla’s claim that the Model S is the safest car on the market. Three of the six vehicles tested scooped a top rating of “good”: the Lincoln Continental, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Toyota Avalon.

Tesla was quick to defend the Model S and respond to the IIHS, questioning the agency’s motives and the value of the tests.

“IIHS and dozens of other private industry groups around the world have methods and motivations that suit their own subjective purposes,” a Tesla representative said in an emailed statement to Business Insider.

“The most objective and accurate independent testing of vehicle safety is currently done by the U.S. Government which found Model S and Model X to be the two cars with the lowest probability of injury of any cars that it has ever tested, making them the safest cars in history.”

In 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Model S a 5-star safety rating.

On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted the highly anticipated Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements ahead of schedule and thanked Tesla consumers for their support.

Wanted to say thanks to all that own or ordered a Tesla. It matters to us that you took a risk on a new car company. We won’t forget.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 3, 2017

The IIHS safety test results rolled out just days before the Model 3 – its most affordable sedan – enters mass production.