5th November, 2008

New rating scheme 2009: Five stars impossible without ESC

Today, Euro NCAP moves closer to its vision “for safer cars” with the release of details about the scoring behind the organisation’s new car safety rating. With the implementation of the new rating scheduled for 2009, vehicles tested by Euro NCAP from this date will undergo a much tougher and more comprehensive assessment. Euro NCAP also reveals its high ambitions for manufacturers: without ESC, the achievement of five stars will no longer be possible.

Euro NCAP’s new scheme will see the introduction of a new 5-star single overall vehicle safety rating replacing the current star ratings in use since 1997. This new star rating, Euro NCAP believes, will provide the simplest and clearest advice to the consumer about the overall safety performance of his chosen vehicle. The overall rating will be composed from scores achieved in four areas of assessment Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian Protection and a new area: Safety Assist. Safety Assist will allow Euro NCAP to consider driver assistance systems and active safety technologies, which play an increasingly important role in accident avoidance and injury mitigation. The new scheme provides Euro NCAP with the means to actively drive safety forwards in critical areas, maximizing the potential impact on road casualty reduction on European roads.

Under the new scoring system, vehicles will need to do well in each area of assessment to achieve a good overall result. In particular, it will be impossible for a carmaker to achieve five stars in the tested vehicle without the standard fitment of electronic stability control (ESC) in the majority of variants sold. Statistics reveal that ESC plays such a major role in reducing deaths on our roads, Euro NCAP believes no car should be able to achieve five stars without it.

First results for vehicles tested under the new rating system will be released in February 2009. From this date, consumers should look out for the new overall Euro NCAP star rating for their vehicle. This shows the car has been subject to a tougher assessment in the achievement of its final award.


Dr Michiel Van Ratingen, Secretary-General of Euro NCAP says “There is no doubt that this new overall rating will provide clear challenges to industry, but at the same time it will create opportunities for manufacturers to be rewarded for their dedication to safety. Euro NCAP needs to continually evolve with innovation and ensure that consumers can be confident that the rating remains updated and a true reflection of the safety performance of their vehicles.”


Consumers interested in a particular area of assessment such as adult protection or child protection will still be able to compare different vehicles as the individual scores that make up the overall rating will also be available on Euro NCAP’s website

Euro NCAP has also begun testing seats of vehicles crash tested in 2008 to gauge their performance in rear impact and whiplash protection. From 2009, this whiplash test will automatically be included as part of Euro NCAP’s first area of assessment Adult Occupant Protection.

Euro NCAP will be releasing the results for these initial Whiplash tests on Wednesday, 26th November 2008 at a special launch event to be held at Thatcham, the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre in the UK. All those media interested in attending, should contact the Euro NCAP office.

Since 1997, Euro NCAP ratings have become known as THE reliable indicator of independent consumer information about car safety.

Euro NCAP’s test results are released on a quarterly basis. Keep checking our website for details of forthcoming results.

For further information please contact: Alexandra Wood, Media Assistant on +32 2 4007740 or email.

Editors’ notes

1. The front impact test is conducted at 64km/h (40mph) into an offset deformable barrier, the side impact test 50km/h (30mph), the pole test at 29km/h (18mph) and the pedestrian tests at 40km/h (25mph).

2. Comparison between Size Categories: It is essential that no attempt is made to compare the ratings between cars in different segments or mass groups. The frontal crash test aims to measure the performance of the car impacting another car of similar mass. There is no capability to determine what would happen if cars of widely different masses impact each other. It is not primarily the mass difference that has the effect, but the effect that mass has on the structural stiffness combined with the relative height of the structures from the ground.