Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New crash test heroes...and zeros


The SEAT New Leon, Latin NCAP's first 5 star car
Latin NCAP has awarded its first ever five-star safety rating for adult occupant protection to the SEAT New Leon, in independent consumer crash tests published today with support from the Road Safety Fund. Latin NCAP also welcomed the four-star rating for the Suzuki Celerio city car’s adult occupant protection. The results show that manufacturers can produce small cars for the region with stable structures and good protection.
 
In contrast to these positive results Latin NCAP’s latest tests also reveal that some of the best-selling models produced by global brands are offering zero-star levels of protection which would fail to meet even basic global safety standards. The worst performing cars in the recent round of crash tests from Latin NCAP were the Nissan Tsuru (Sentra B13), Renault Clio Mio, Suzuki Alto K10 and Chevrolet Agile. All scored zero stars. Sold with no airbags, and body structures that collapse onto the people inside, the crash tests of these popular entry-level models make for disturbing viewing.
 
 
 
This is very disappointing and partly due to the lack of airbags as standard, but the real problem is the substandard safety of their body structures," said Global NCAP's Technical Director Alejandro Furas. "Body structures that collapse onto the people inside can have fatal or life-threatening consequences in real-world crashes. These zero rated cars are built by companies that produce good, safe five star cars and at affordable prices for buyers in other parts of the world. Now is the time for car buyers in Latin America to be able to choose five star models that exceed global safety standards".
 
 
The Renault Clio Mio was one of four cars to score zero stars for occupant protection
In response to these results, Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley has written to the CEOs of Renault-Nissan, General Motors and Suzuki, urging them to apply the UN’s minimum crash safety standards to their global passenger car production. “Global NCAP is concerned weak sales and deteriorating profits in traditional markets are encouraging car companies to take unnecessary risks on safety in emerging markets,” said Mosley. “Unregulated emerging markets make it too easy for car companies to produce products that short change customers on safety. If CEOs know their products do not meet global safety standards, they should take responsibility and act now. The lives of customers in Latin America are no less valuable than those in Europe, Japan and North America.”
 
Car production exceeds 60 million units annually due to growth in emerging markets where road traffic injury has become a major public health concern. A key recommendation of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 is for manufacturers to apply global crash test standards more widely. Global NCAP estimates as many as 20 million vehicles a year fail to meet the UN standards and has asked industry leaders to consider a voluntary commitment on safety.
 
The organization is asking manufacturers to ensure that by 2015 all vehicles meet international standards for seatbelts (R16 and R14) and for front and side impacts (R94 and R95). By 2020, it would like Electronic Stability Control and pedestrian protection measures made standard.
 
For the full results of these latest tests see here. The Latin NCAP is supported by the Road Safety Fund through an FIA Foundation grant directed to Global NCAP.

See coverage of the story on the Guardian's Sustainable Business website here

 
 
 

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