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Test results show benefits of multiple airbags

Media Release: 28 November 2006

Latest crash test results show benefits of multiple airbags

Crash test results released today by the AA and Land Transport New Zealand demonstrate that more is better when it comes to airbags and vehicle safety.

Vehicles scoring four or five star results for occupant protection were all fitted with a full package of dual front, side and head or curtain airbags as standard equipment.

Five star results were achieved by the Subaru Tribeca 4WD, the Lexus IS250 and the Mercedes B Class passenger van. Vehicles scoring four stars were the Holden Viva, Nissan Maxima, Honda Odyssey passenger van, Mazda 3, Landrover Discovery 3 and the Kia Carnival passenger van. The Mitsubishi Colt, with only dual front airbags as standard, scored three stars.

AA Technical Services General Manager Stella Stocks says “overall these results are good news for consumers, and it is encouraging that all but one of the vehicles in the most recent round of testing have a full complement of airbags."

Crash tests conducted by the Australian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) and its European equivalent EuroNCAP involve an offset frontal test at 64 km/h and a side impact test at 50 km/h. Vehicles also undergo a test to assess likely injuries caused to pedestrians by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

A pole test is optional, where the vehicle travelling sideways at 29 km/h strikes a round pole lined up with the driver’s head. This measures the effectiveness of head protecting side airbags and can result in extra points being scored. Pole tests conducted for the Tribeca, Viva, Maxima, Mazda 3, Discovery, IS250, B-Class and Carnival confirmed that serious head injury was unlikely. Previous pole tests conduced by ANCAP show that, at this speed, a fatal head injury is almost certain without head-protecting side airbags.

“ANCAP has advocated for several years that all vehicles should have a full airbag package, including front and side head protecting airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as a minimum safety specification,” says Ms Stocks.

“It is pleasing to see more manufacturers fitting side head protecting airbags as standard, although for many this is still a customer option. On some vehicles, customers are not taking this option as they find it too expensive, so such airbags should be fitted as standard”.

Page 2 of 4 Option take up on the Odyssey, Maxima, Carnival and Mazda 3 is fairly high, so these cars were tested with the side head protecting airbags, but the take up is low for the Colt, which was tested without.

Ms Stocks says “it is also pleasing that New Zealand’s take up of ESC is now estimated as 30%.

However, we have a long way to go before we reach the 90% achieved in Sweden. ESC has a huge potential to reduce loss of control accidents and should be high on the priority list for anyone buying a new car. We would like to see ESC a standard feature on all new cars."

The Subaru Tribeca, Nissan Maxima, Lexus IS250, Landrover Discovery, Kia Carnival and Mercedes B-Class are the only models in the most recent round of testing to have ESC fitted across all variants.

ESC is not available on any variant of the Holden Viva, Honda Odyssey and Mitsubishi Colt, and is an option on the Mazda 3.

Pedestrian tests on the Honda Odyssey, Lexus IS250, Mazda3, Mercedes B class, Holden Viva and Nissan Maxima gave 2 star results, with the Landrover Discovery, Mitsubishi Colt and Kia Carnival producing disappointing one star results.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, all State governments, the New Zealand government and the FIA Foundation.

The AA and Land Transport NZ are both members of ANCAP. Detailed crash test results are available on the websites of the two organisations - www.aa.co.nz or www.landtransport.govt.nz.

ENDS

See... Full Release With Test Results

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