The 2012 Fiat 500 received contradictory ratings from the two agencies NHTSA and IIHS ( the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). The NHTSA overall rating is only 3 star which indicates a 21-35 percent chance of serious occupant injury in a major accident. Though the car achieved the best 5 star rating in the side crash test and a 4 star rating in the rollover test, the problems were with tests to simulate injury to female occupants. For the front barrier crash test, the test for a male dummy gave 4 stars while that with a female dummy only 3 stars. For a female dummy in the rear seat, the rating was an even lower than 2 star.
The IIHS, however, rates the 2012 Fiat 500 as a top safety pick with its overall rating as good. In previous IIHS tests on models made before July 2011, the ratings were poorer but Fiat came up with a modification to the seating design that improved safety ratings. Perhaps, the NHTSA tests were made with a model which did not have the improved seating but this example shows the confusion that can be created with multiple rating agencies.