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Vehicle buyers benefit from safety standards

Media Release: June 20 2006

Embargoed until midday

Vehicle buyers benefit from increasing safety standards

The latest round of Australasian crash test results has seen an encouragingly high standard of vehicle safety ratings, according to the AA and Land Transport New Zealand.

The Ford Territory, Toyota Yaris and Mitsubishi 380 all scored four stars out of a possible five in the latest Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash test results.

Several vehicles tested by the European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP) that are available in New Zealand scored five stars, including the Peugeot 407 Coupe, Renault Megane CC, Alfa Romeo 159 and the Toyota Yaris model variant with side curtain and knee airbags. The Nissan Pathfinder and Citroen C3 both scored four stars in EuroNCAP tests.

ANCAP and EuroNCAP crash test new vehicles to provide consumers with valuable information on the level of occupant protection the vehicles provide in a crash. Vehicles are assessed based on a five-star safety rating system.

“The latest results show a positive standard of vehicle safety being adhered to. This is important for new vehicle buyers, who are increasingly looking at independent crash test ratings when deciding on a vehicle purchase,” says John White, Vehicles Manager for Land Transport New Zealand.

“There is still room for improvement, however. Side curtain airbags should be a standard safety feature in all new vehicles, not an optional extra. These help protect occupants against side impacts with high vehicles and pole-type impacts.”

Mr White said the value of safety features like extra airbags could be seen in the different results for the Toyota Yaris model variants with and without side curtain and knee airbags.

“In New Zealand the 1.5L version of the Yaris is sold with seven airbags as standard, including side curtain and knee airbags, while the 1.3L version has only two (driver and passenger). The EuroNCAP five star result suggests that the version with additional airbags is significantly safer.”

Mr White said it was also encouraging to see that some of the models tested include Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as a standard feature, including the 4WD version of the Ford Territory, Peugeot 407 Coupe, Alfa Romeo 159 and Nissan Pathfinder. ESC has been show to reduce the risk of being involved in a crash in the first place – thereby reducing injuries overall.

Consumers are also set to benefit from increased access to crash test data and vehicle safety information.

“ANCAP is now testing individual cars as new models are released, instead of testing groups of vehicles by car class. This ensures that consumer get access to crash rating information sooner,” says Stella Stocks, General Manager of AA Technical Services.

The AA and LTNZ are both members of ANCAP. Detailed crash test results are available on: www.aa.co.nz and www.landtransport.govt.nz.


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