Chinese manufacturers investing in safety
23rd November 2011
Euro NCAP’s fifth and last launch of 2011 presents the results for fourteen new cars. Six models achieved four stars: two Chinese newcomers, Geely Emgrand EC7 and MG6, and the Fiat Panda, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jaguar XF and the EV Renault Fluence ZE. The Chevrolet Malibu, Kia Rio, Mercedes-Benz B-Class and C-Class Coupe, the Ranger Rover Evoque, Subaru XV, VW Beetle and VW up! were all awarded the top safety rating of five stars. The VW up!’s five star rating is applied also to its VW-group cousins, the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo.
The MG6 and Geely Emgrand EC7 achieved four star ratings, creditable results that underline the manufacturers’ desire to improve the safety record of Chinese brands in Europe. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, says ‘These results mark a milestone for the Chinese automotive industry. It is a clear sign that Chinese car makers are building on recent experiences and rapidly investing in better vehicle safety. Even with the upcoming increased demands, five stars are expected to be within reach soon.’
Perhaps surprisingly, the full electric sedan Renault Fluence ZE fell short of the anticipated five stars, underachieving on pedestrian protection, driver and passenger protection offered. This result puts it on a par with the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, but behind other EVs such as Nissan LEAF and Opel Ampera tested earlier in the year.
The Fiat Panda lost a star as it is not fitted with ESC as standard, despite the technology becoming mandatory in 2012. By contrast, VW ensured very high standard availability of ESC on the up!, securing a five star rating for that car and its cousins, the Seat Mii and the Skoda Citigo.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee showed disappointing results in child occupant protection. In the frontal impact, the seat rail holding the seat belt anchorage came close to breaking in two, resulting in contact, through the fabric of the airbag, of the driver’s head with the steering wheel rim. Euro NCAP urges Jeep to complete its investigation into the cause and implement an improved seat rail design in future production cars soon.
As part of Euro NCAP Advanced’s mission to reward advanced systems, the safety organization has assessed a number of new technologies offered on recently tested models. Rewards are given to safety innovations for which the car maker has demonstrated significant safety benefits for consumers. Ford is rewarded for its Driver Alert and Forward Alert systems on the Focus, making the car the first that offers 4 rewarded technologies. Mercedes-Benz is rewarded for Attention Assist and Collision Prevention Assist, Opel for Adaptive Forward Lighting and Volkswagen for City Emergency Brake. Van Ratingen says ‘We are particularly pleased to see Collision Prevention Assist being fitted as standard equipment to the new Mercedes B-Class, the first time for a car in this segment to have such equipment so broadly fitted. It demonstrates the carmaker’s confidence in the ability of brake support technology, an opinion supported by Euro NCAP.’ Learn more about the safety benefits of these advanced systems on Euro NCAP’s website and by watching our recent video.
Finally, top scorers VW Beetle and Subaru XV achieved impressive results in child occupant protection, both reaching 90%, which is the maximum score Euro NCAP has yet given for this assessment. It is also the first time Euro NCAP rewards a fully automatic passenger airbag activation system, where the front passenger of the Subaru XV is only activated when an occupant of a suitable size is detected in the seat, effectively minimizing the risk for younger children seated on that position.