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Mixed Results For Small Cars In Latest Crash Tests

26 June 2002

Small cars have earned mixed marks in the latest crash test results from the independent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), the Land Transport Safety Authority announced today.

The Toyota Corolla and Peugeot 307 were awarded four out of a possible five stars in tests measuring occupant protection in serious frontal and side impact crashes. The Ford Laser and Alfa Romeo 147 earned three stars, while the Mitsubishi Lancer and Mazda 121 received two star ratings.

The Corolla, Laser and 121 were tested by ANCAP in Australia, while left-hand drive models of the 307, Lancer and 147 were tested in Europe using identical procedures and evaluations. The Ford Laser tested in Australia was fitted with a driver's airbag only, while the model variant sold in New Zealand is equipped with dual front airbags.

Two tests are performed on each model to rate occupant protection; an offset frontal test where the car is driven into a crushable barrier at 64km/h, and a side impact test which involves running a 950kg trolley into the driver¡¦s side of the vehicle at 50km/h. An optional pole impact test is also available for vehicles fitted with head-protecting side airbags.

Research shows a strong correlation between the tests and injuries suffered by vehicle occupants in serious on-road crashes.

Vehicles also undergo a series of tests which replicate crashes involving child and adult pedestrians where impacts occur at 40km/h. Impact sites are assessed and the vehicles are rated out of a possible four stars in terms of pedestrian friendliness.

The Ford Laser and Mazda 121 both earned good three star ratings in the pedestrian impact tests, while the Toyota Corolla, Peugeot 307, Alfa Romeo 147 and Mitsubishi Lancer all received two stars.

The LTSA joined the ANCAP crash testing programme two years ago, with the aim of improving New Zealand consumers' access to vehicle safety information and encouraging manufacturers to make further safety improvements to their vehicles.

Detailed crash test results for over 100 vehicle models are now available on the LTSA website, www.ltsa.govt.nz. Brochures with test results can be ordered at no charge by ringing the LTSA Helpdesk on 0800 699 000.

Results from the latest ANCAP and European NCAP crash tests for small cars are included on the following page. Video footage and still images of the crash tests are available on request.

For more information, please contact:

Andy Knackstedt

LTSA Media Manager

Tel: 04 494 8751 or 025 763 222

Small Car Crash Test Ratings - November 2001

Australian tests


Vehicle Model Occupant protection rating Pedestrian rating
Toyota Corolla - 2001 on

(Driver airbag) **** **
Ford Laser - 1999 on

(Driver airbag)* *** ***
Mazda 121 - 2000 on

(Driver airbag) ** ***


There may be variations between models used in these tests and the models available here in New Zealand. New Zealand specifications may vary and therefore vehicles sold in New Zealand might provide different levels of protection to those described in these tests.

*Model available in New Zealand fitted with driver and passenger airbags.

European tests


Vehicle Model Occupant protection rating Pedestrian rating
Peugeot 307 - 2001 on

(Front, side and head airbags) **** **
Alfa Romeo 147 - 2000 on

(Front, side and head airbags) *** **
Mitsubishi Lancer - 1997 on

(Driver airbag) ** **


Important note: These results are for left-hand-drive European models tested by EuroNCAP. Australasian specifications may vary and therefore models sold in Australasia might provide different levels of protection to those described on this page.

UNDERSTANDING THE AUSTRALIAN NEW
CAR ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (ANCAP)

Since ANCAP was launched, a number of common questions have been raised about the program. These questions (and specific questions related to this launch) and responses are summarised below.


Q: Do ANCAP results relate to real world occupant safety?

A: A study conducted by Monash University for an international conference on vehicle safety, held in Melbourne during May 1996, showed that Australian NCAP results did correlate to real Australian crashes. Monash University updated this study in 1998 and showed that there was good correlation between the offset frontal crash used by ANCAP and on-road crashes.

This correlates with overseas studies such as a 1994 US survey by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that cars that did well in US NCAP crash tests experienced a lower occupant fatality rate in the real world than those that did poorly.

A study conducted in Sweden during 2000 combining police and insurance data also showed there was strong correlation between the Euro NCAP test results and real world crash data.

Q: What proportion of total serious injury and fatal crashes do ANCAP tests represent, i.e. frontal, side impact, roll-overs and rear end crashes?

A: Over half of all injury crashes and one-third of fatal crashes on New Zealand roads involve a frontal impact.

ANCAP also conducts side impact crash testing. After frontal crashes side impact crashes make up the next highest number of serious injury and fatal crashes.

Future ANCAP programs will be looking at other relevant tests to measure and report serious injury and fatal crashes such as rollover and rear end crashes.

Q: How does ANCAP compare with other overseas tests?

A: ANCAP crash testing by a joint government/automobile association group was a world first. ANCAP have harmonised test procedures with the European NCAP group (EuroNCAP), who also conduct offset frontal barrier crash testing and side impact crash testing.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US and the Japanese National Organisation for Automotive Safety and Victims of Aid also conducts offset barrier crash testing. Some car manufacturers perform offset crash tests but do not release the results.

Q: Are consumers heeding the results of crash tests?

A: Surveys conducted in Australia have shown an increasing awareness in vehicle safety. In 1992, safety was ranked 15th behind other criteria. More recent surveys showed that:

„X Personal occupant safety was one of the three top features considered when purchasing a car along with reliability and value for money.
„X Sixty percent of car buyers knew about ANCAP, and the majority considered ANCAP to be useful.

There is evidence from both Australia and the US that fleet buyers are heeding the NCAP results and purchasing accordingly. Safety can sell and the past success of companies such as Volvo and Mercedes Benz, which market their vehicles emphasising safety, confirms this. Recent marketing strategies by other manufacturers have concentrated on safety features, which shows they believe consumers want them.

Q: Of all the vehicles tested by ANCAP, which is the safest?

A: The test results do not prove which vehicle is the safest in all crashes.

ANCAP evaluates the likelihood of serious injury to the head, chest and legs for drivers and front seat passengers involved in frontal crashes and side impact crashes.

In response to consumer demand for simple, non-technical presentation of results ANCAP has adopted the star rating system used by the European NCAP group. Results from both offset frontal tests and side impact tests are combined and rated from 1 to 5 stars. The results for an overall evaluation, as well as a more detailed analysis of the performance of different aspects of the vehicle¡¦s performance are given.

Consumers should look for vehicles that have recorded scores in the 3 or 4 star ranges.


Q: What happens if a car fails?

A: In all tests conducted by ANCAP there is no pass or fail. Based on the information gained from the crash test, including measurements from the dummies and structural deformation, ANCAP rates the cars on the level of protection they would offer in this type of crash. While the detailed information is summarised to provide an easy to understand consumer guide the full results will be available for use by anyone including car companies or the Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services.

Q: How are the ratings determined from the crash data?

A: The Head Injury Criterion (HIC), chest deceleration data and leg load data are used to determine the level of protection from a life threatening or serious injury. The results from both offset frontal and side impact crashes are combined.

The performance of the vehicle structure and occupant restraint system is analysed from an inspection of the crashed vehicle and the high-speed film taken during the crash test. Using established criteria, based on those used in by the EuroNCAP group, the performance of the vehicle structure and restraints system is assessed. The vehicle structure is assessed on the loss of occupant survival space and the occupant restraint system is assessed on the ability to restrain the dummy during the crash.

These ratings are combined to give an overall rating, which is a comprehensive assessment of the vehicle¡¦s performance in these tests.

Q: Does ANCAP indicate whether a car is safe or unsafe?

A: ANCAP does not claim to represent all aspects of vehicle safety. It does, however, represent a major segment of vehicle secondary safety (that is, safety in the event of a crash as opposed to primary safety - avoidance of a crash) by representing the level of occupant protection provided in frontal and side crashes, which account for many crashes causing serious injury or death.

Q: Can ANCAP results be used to compare the relative safety of the vehicles tested?

A: ANCAP results can be used to compare the protection offered to occupants in the event of a severe frontal crash.

Care must be exercised when comparing results for different vehicles as only those vehicles of similar mass can be correctly compared. As a heavier vehicle will generally provide better protection in a collision with a smaller and lighter car, any result comparison should be restricted to cars of a similar class.


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