Evenflo, Private Equity, and the Consumer Reports Car Seat Study

So, Consumer Reports is recalling its recent car seat impact study. My question: Given that the lab Consumer Reports used apparently wrongly conducted the side impact tests at 70 mph, not the federally required 38 mph, how in the world did that happen?

Either way, I’m sure the news has made private equity firm Harvest Partners happy. It purchased Evenflo, one of the largest infant car seat manufacturers, back in 2004, and that company’s products did not do well in the flawed CR tests. Now, however, all is well in the world.


  1. It is unfortunate that the CR study showed up as flawed because many products for infants and toddlers (including those from EvenFlo) are dangerous. It doesn’t do much good to know after the fact about a dangerous product, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission tracks recalls and injuries. For example: http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PREREL/prhtml01/01137.html

  2. Consumer Reports also recently had to reverse their conclusions about the economics of hybrid cars. They originally concluded that the TCO of hybrids was higher than similarly sized gas-only cars, but they had double counted the depreciation by including it as a standalone cost and also by including the new minus resale value. In that case, I noticed the error myself when I was reading the original report. Is CR still reliable?