Motoring

How safe is the car you’re driving?

New Global NCAP test reveals some scary truths

The results of the latest crash tests on vehicles sold in SA reveal some marques are risking the safety of their customers, writes Mark Smyth.
Vehicle crash tests conducted at an international test facility in Germany on models sold in SA reveal that some car makers are putting the safety of their customers in Europe ahead of those in Africa.
International vehicle safety organisation, Global NCAP together with the Automobile Association of SA (AA SA) tested vehicles sold in SA after similar tests were done on budget cars in 2017.
Four vehicles were tested, including the Hyundai i20, Kia Picanto, Toyota Yaris and Nissan NP300 Hardbody.
The worst performer was the Nissan which received a zero star rating and just two stars for child occupant protection after an international standard frontal offset collision test at 64km/h. According to the test results “the vehicle structure collapsed during the crash test and it was rated as unstable.”
The results of the latest Global NCAP crash tests on vehicles sold in SA provide some alarming results
The results of the latest Global NCAP crash tests on vehicles sold in SA provide some alarming results
“It is astonishing that a global company like Nissan can produce a car today as poorly engineered as this,” says David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP. “The NP300 Hardbody is ridiculously misnamed as its body shell has collapsed. Nissan also claim the car benefits from a so called ‘safety shield’ but this is grossly misleading. Our test shows that the occupant compartment completely fails to absorb the energy of the crash resulting in a high risk of fatality or injury.”
The result should ring alarm bells for consumers and also for Nissan, which has already been heavily criticised for selling the Datsun Go in SA and the Renault-Nissan Alliance vehicle, the Renault Kwid after they performed poorly in safety tests.
It could strike a major blow for Nissan which is aiming to re-position itself as a leader in the light commercial vehicle market in Africa, particularly with the NP300 Hardbody. In an interview with Business Day in August 2018, the managing director of Nissan SA, Mike Whitfield advised that the company plans to continue producing this model in SA.
“As long as I’m still here for the next ten years we’re gonna keep selling these (NP300 and NP200) into Africa,” Whitfield said. He also said that the company plans to increase production in SA from the current 40,000 per annum to over 120,000 by 2023, predominantly by exporting the NP300.
The Hyundai i20 sold in SA showed significantly more damage than the i20 sold in Europe raising questions over whether Hyundai is putting profit before safety in SA.
The Hyundai i20 sold in SA showed significantly more damage than the i20 sold in Europe raising questions over whether Hyundai is putting profit before safety in SA.
However, it is Hyundai that could come in for the most condemnation over the results of its i20 hatchback.

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