Global NCAP describes new Renault as “clearly sub-standard” in crash tests

Indian-market Renault Kwid one of several vehicles accused of offering poor accident protection to drivers in emerging markets

 

Renault’s new Kwid crossover has been described by Global NCAP crash test experts as “clearly sub-standard” following as zero-star score in its independent safety assessment.

The damning result was given as Global NCAP tested a revised Kwid, with a different structure and a drivers’ airbag after the car scored zero-stars earlier this year. 

Commenting on the latest crash-test results, David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP said “the latest SaferCarsforIndia results show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable in a crash. This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety together with fitment at least of front air bags.

“It is very surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature. Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard. Car makers must ensure that their new models pass the UN’s minimum crash test regulations, and support use of an airbag. 

“We welcome Renault’s efforts to correct this and we look forward to testing another improved version with airbags. Renault has a strong record of achievement in safety in Europe and it should offer the same commitment to its customers in India.” 

Global NCAP, an offshoot of the hugely influential Euro NCAP group, which has been independently crash-testing cars since the 1990s, and which has been credited with triggering a sea change in passenger and pedestrian protection here, tested the Renault Kwid earlier this year and gave it a zero-star score, saying that the body structure was unstable in the crash. 

Renault modified the Kwid, saying it had added structural strengthening and requested that Global NCAP re-test the car. But when the re-test was carried out, even with an optional drivers’ airbag fitted, the structure of the car was found still to be unstable in the crash. Global NCAP later revealed Renault had only added extra strength to the drivers’ side of the car. 

Zero rating

Roughly one person is killed on the roads in India every four minutes, and a draft road transport and safety bill is being drawn up. 

Renault is far from the only car maker coming under pressure for safety measures.

Global NCAP also tested the Hyundai Eon, the Mahindra Scorpio, the Suzuki Maruti Eeco and the Suzuki Maruti Celerio. None of the cars scored even a single point on the crash test. 

“The results highlight the importance of the Indian government’s decision to mandate front and side impact crash tests from October 2017,” said Ward. “Legislative action is needed to ensure that the minimum levels of occupant protection recommended by the United Nations are guaranteed for Indian consumers. But manufacturers don’t have to wait for legislation and we urge them to act to eliminate all zero-star cars from production as soon as possible.” 

India is not the only region of the world where NCAP is declaring war on unsafe cars.

Latin NCAP, a sister organisation to Global and Euro NCAP, has written to General Motors chief executive Mary Barra in the wake of a zero-star rating for the Chevrolet Aveo, a popular vehicle in South America.  

Alejandro Furas, Latin NCAP secretary general said, “Latin NCAP is extremely concerned by the very poor performance of the Aveo in our latest crash tests, especially as the model is a best-seller in markets such as Mexico. This result is not a one-off, Chevrolet has consistently performed badly in our tests over the last five years in high-selling models.

“In our recent safety ranking of manufacturer crash performance, analysing the more than 60 car models we’ve tested, Chevrolet is the worst performing major global manufacturer. The Aveo’s zero-star performance is disappointing. Chevrolet’s overall safety performance in the Latin American region is unacceptable. GM should take immediate steps to ensure all of their Latin American customers receive the same safety levels as their US customers.” 

Latin NCAP has held a meeting in Washington to express its concerns over the generally low safety standards of cars being sold in South American markets, and GM models in particular.

Mexico

Max Mosley, the former head of Formula One’s governing body, and a major force behind the NCAP programme, severely criticised car makers for putting the safety of one group of customers ahead of others.

“Safety improvements stimulated by legislation and consumer awareness campaigns in high-income economies that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives are not yet systematically available for drivers and their families in rapidly growing lower income markets,” said Mr Mosley. “For example, crash test standards introduced 20 years ago for cars sold in Europe, are yet to be met by many new cars, and even brand new models, being sold today in leading middle income countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This is entirely unacceptable. Manufacturers cannot continue to treat millions of their customers as second-class citizens when it comes to life-saving standards of occupant protection.”