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Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP crash test

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP crash test

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP crash test

The Ford Mustang has become the first car from a mainstream car manufacturer to be given a two-star Euro NCAP safety rating since 2008.

Thatcham, the company that oversees the official NCAP crash test, has criticised Ford for selling the Mustang in the UK without important safety technology that’s available in the USA.

Video: Ford Mustang Euro NCAP crash test

“Ford has made a deliberate choice,” explains Thatcham Research’s director of research, Matthew Avery.

“The car has been designed to score well in less wide-ranging US consumer safety tests and only minor updates have been made to meet required European (pedestrian) safety regulations.

“This has resulted in poor adult and child protection scores and the high-tech radar collision warning system that is available to US consumers not being available here in the UK. The two-star Euro NCAP rating is the consequence.”

During the test, the driver and passenger airbags failed to inflate sufficiently in an offset front collision.

In the full-width front impact test, a rear passenger was found to slide under their seatbelt. Rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters would prevent this, Thatcham says.

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP safety rating.

A facelift for the Mustang, due to go on sale in September 2017, will have extra safety technology as standard, Ford says, including pre-collision assist and lane-keep assist. This could result in a higher NCAP score when re-tested.

“This really bucks the trend,” adds Avery. “Car buyers are increasingly benefiting from improved safety functionality and features, and this applies equally to cars in the sports roadster category as to family cars.

“We have concerns about the Ford Mustang’s crash protection of adults and children which also makes it unsuitable for having rear passengers. On top this, it does not have basic life-saving technology like autonomous emergency braking that is available even on the Ford Fiesta, and the recently-launched Ford Edge.”

Ford has hit back, telling Motoring Research the Mustang is “fundamentally a safe car,” achieving five stars for pedestrian safety, four for front occupants and three for child occupants. Despite this, a spokesman admitted they found the overall result “disappointing”.

NCAP has also tested the new Volvo S90 and V90 – both of which have been awarded five stars and praised for their “class-leading safety”.

“It does make you wonder if anything rubbed off on Ford from the Volvo/Ford partnership,” concludes Avery.

Five-star Euro NCAP scores for new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008

Five-star Euro NCAP scores for new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008

Five-star Euro NCAP scores for new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008 have both scored a full five stars in the latest Euro NCAP crash test safety ratings – but you’ll only get the very safest version of the E-Class if you’re among the 1 in 10 expected to fork out for the optional gadgetry.

Car safety specialist Thatcham has praised the safety equipment offered on the E-Class – but hit out at the decision not to offer a lot of it as standard.

“The E-Class is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to advanced safety features,” explained Thatcham’s director of research Matthew Avery.

“However, we know that the take up of optional safety features is typically less than 10%, so more needs to be done in terms of standard fitment to make these superb technologies more widely accessible.”

The firm added that the Mercedes-Benz E-Class “provides a glimpse of the future”, with safety systems such as Mercedes Benz’s assisted driving system, Drive Pilot. This allows short periods of hands-free driving as long as the driver occasionally touches the wheel to prove they’re still paying attention.

Active lane keep assist was also praised – the system continually provides feedback to the driver when lane markings are crossed, and even actively intervenes to steer out of the way when oncoming traffic is detected. This could potentially avoid a life-threatening head-on collision, says Thatcham.

Thatcham also says that the latest five-star safety ratings highlight the gulf in safety standards around the world.

Cars on sale in India, including the Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon all achieved zero star ratings when tested by NCAP earlier in the year.

By contrast, cars tested in Europe routinely achieve a maximum five stars.

Global NCAP’s secretary-general, David Ward, said: “Renault and Honda make safe cars in other markets; they have the know-how to make all their Indian cars much safer. We expect them to start doing so now.”

Chevrolet Sail Global NCAP crash test zero stars

Global NCAP pleads with GM to urgently fix ‘life threatening’ zero-star new car safety

Chevrolet Sail Global NCAP crash test zero starsAnother Latin American Chevrolet has scored zero stars in Global NCAP crash safety tests – and the organisation has taken the unprecedented step of writing to the chairman and CEO of Chevrolet parent firm GM, Mary Barra, to express its concern.

Global NCAP’s concern is clear: the Chevrolet brand has a poor overall safety performance in the huge Latin American market, it says, with the worst average safety star rating of any major volume brand.

The Chevrolet Sail has just scored a zero star in the Latin NCAP tests, following the similar zero star of the Chevrolet Aveo. Global NCAP says this means both cars have a high risk of life threatening injury.

What’s more, neither would pass the United Nations’ minimum crash test standards.

GM ‘exploits weaknesses’

Urgent steps must be taken to address this, said Global NCAP secretary general David Ward. “GM has chosen to exploit the weak application of minimum crash test standards in Latin America to provide a version of the car that the company would be unable to sell either in Europe or North America.

“Two years ago GM announced a ‘Speak Up for Safety’ programme billed as an important step toward embedding a customer and safety-centered culture in every aspect of the business.

“Global NCAP warmly welcomes these commitments but believes that they now must have practical application in Latin America and in other emerging automotive markets.”

The letter details how the Euro NCAP test warned GM back in 2006 that the Aveo was unimpressive: the car’s bodyshell became unstable in crash tests and injuries to the crash test dummy “indicated an unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury”.

Yet in the 2015 Latin NCAP test, the Chevrolet Aveo bodyshell again became unstable and poor dummy readings were again recorded for both head and chest.

This resulted in an even worse score of zero stars “primarily because, unlike in Europe, the Aveo in Mexico has no air bags fitted as standard,” said Global NCAP.

“For at least ten years, therefore, GM has known that without any airbags the Aveo will have a high risk of fatal injury in a frontal crash test at 40 mph. So clearly the safety of your customers in Mexico and in other countries in Latin America has been knowingly compromised.”

Damming words indeed. So what should GM do? Quite simply, adopt a new approach to vehicle safety, says Global NCAP.

The organisation wants GM to firstly, “globally ensure that from 2018 all its production in Latin America and worldwide pass the minimum UN crash test regulations (and equivalent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) and include the crash avoidance system, electronic stability control.”

Second, it wants GM to “inform the Mexican Government that GM will support legislation for both minimum crash test standards and electronic stability control to be applied from 2018.”

GM has yet to respond.

UPDATE: GM responds

A GM spokesperson has contacted Motoring Research to say “GM shares the goal of improving road safety worldwide, including the adoption of basic auto safety standards in global markets and the phase-out of zero-star cars”.

The firm’s planned $5 billion investment in an all-new vehicle family for Latin America and other emerging growth markets will achieve this, it believes: the cars will have, at the very least, twin airbags, three-point seatbelts for all occupants and meet United Nations standards for structural performance in front and side impacts.

They will replace most of the high-volume cars in Latin America, including the two zero-star models criticised by Global NCAP.

They are, however, still some way off: the new vehicle family won’t appear before the 2019 model year. So, in the interim, GM is “expanding the availability of front airbags in a number of existing cars in Latin American markets, starting with the 2017 model year”.