Frontline: Rollover - The Hidden History of the SUV (2002)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Law & Crime, Politics & Government, Vehicles & Transportation  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Rollover covers the turbulent history of the Sports Utility Vehicle. During the late '80s, American car manufacturers began laying off thousands of workers and continued sinking further in the red. Gas mileage restrictions made building small cars expensive. But Jeep and Ford discovered that SUVs, like trucks, had more lenient mileage requirements. Better yet, the profit margins for the Broncos and Blazers were higher. While SUVs helped save Detroit, their safety record soon landed them in court. The SUV had been designed with higher clearance for off-road conditions. This led to vehicles overturning at speeds as low as 20 m.p.h. and made the SUVs difficult to handle in emergency situations. Lobbyists stymied federal attempts to regulate SUVs, however, and most of the lawsuits in the '80s and '90s were settled out of court, keeping potential controversies quiet. Media coverage became headline news in 2000, though, when Firestone tires began to unravel on Ford Explorers. Many would maintain that the tires had made the vehicles unsafe, while others insisted that the Explorers had been unsafe all along. Rollover includes interviews with specialists, lawyers, and federal regulators.

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Keywords

accident, controversy, danger, jeep, lawsuit, regulations, SUV [Sport Utility Vehicle], tires