Subaru is funding research for dog safety in vehicles [w/video]

Article by Anita Panait, on August 16, 2013

Subaru is financing a unique research by the non-profit Center for Pet Safety to study the risks and dangers of driving with a dog. Instead of human dummies, researchers are placing dog-shaped dummies through crash simulations at a Virginia laboratory that conducts tests on child seats for the government.

Subaru hopes the dog-safety research to bring some order to the business of protecting pets inside vehicles. Unlike human safety that calls for standards as set by federal regulators and suggest by the insurance industry, dog safety has none. There are currently no safety standard for harnesses, tethers, nets, crates and cages sold for dogs.

This has lead to spread of bad information on how to best secure dogs inside a vehicle, with some drivers believing that it is safe to carry their pets on their laps.

According to Dave Sullivan, marketing, launch and strategy manager at Subaru of America, one possible solution could be test procedures from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or SAE International.

Sullivan told Automotive News that they have been trying their best the issue of dog safety inside a vehicle. Carmakers have been attracting pet-loving customer by offering designed to keep dogs contained and out of the driver's way.

For instance, the Subaru Outback wagon features a rubberized cargo mat as a standard, aimed partly at protecting the car from pet accidents. The dog safety research funded by Subaru underscores the increasing attention paid by carmakers to the role of pets in American society. US consumers are expected to around $55.5 billion on pet care and products this year, up 4 percent from 2012, according to the American Pet Products Association.

Subaru is the car manufacturing division as well as a brand of Fuji Heavy Industries, a Japanese transportation conglomerate that has businesses in the auto industry as well as in the aerospace sector. Fuji Heavy Industries originates from the Nakajima Aircraft Company, which supplies aircraft to the Japanese government during World War II. Five Japanese companies -- Fuji Kogyo, Fuji Jidosha Kogyo, Omiya Fuji Kogyo, Utsunomiya Sharyo and Tokyo Fuji Sangyo – merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries, which was incorporated on July 15, 1953.

Fuji Heavy Industries then formed a company that would focus on automobile production -- Subaru. Its name was picked by then chief executive Kenji Kita.

Subaru of America, Inc., -- founded by Malcolm Bricklin in 1968 in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania -- markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories. Subaru of America was fully acquired by Fuji Heavy Industries in 1986, which resulted to the transfer of its headquarters of Subaru of America to Pennsauken, New Jersey and then Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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