Chinese cars have performed better in the latest round of testing by independent body Euro NCAP, with the MG6 and Geely Emgrand EC7 both scoring four out of five stars.
The results follow a series of poor crash-test performances by Chinese-built vehicles that are also available in Australia.
The Chery J11, Australia’s most affordable SUV, this year joined the Great Wall Motors V240 and SA220 dual-cab utes in achieving only two stars.
Chery’s J1, the cheapest vehcile on sale in Australia at $10,990 driveaway after a $1000 cash-back offer, fares only slightly better with a three-star rating.
Great Wall Motors’ X240 ute-based SUV has been one of the better performers, achieving four stars.
The MG6, a new hatchback (pictured above) from the British MG brand now owned by Chinese car maker Shanghai Automotive, achieved a 73 per cent score for adult occupancy protection and 71 per cent for child protection.
Geely’s Emgrand EC7 sedan (below) scored 75 per cent and 80 per cent for the respective protection areas, including maximum points for the side impact test.
The EC7 lost points for poor protection of the driver’s feet and ankles in a front-on crash.
NCAP penalised the MG6, which is sold in the UK, for a number of issues, including marginal protection for the driver’s chest in a side impact and insufficient pressure from the inflated driver’s airbag to prevent the head from hitting the steering wheel.
NCAP, however, said the four-star ratings were “creditable results that underline the [Chinese] manufacturers’ desire to improve the safety record of Chinese brands in Europe.
“These results mark a milestone for the Chinese automotive industry,” said Euro NCAP’s secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen. “It is a clear sign that Chinese car makers are building on recent experiences and rapidly investing in better vehicle safety. Even with the upcoming increased demands [from NCAP testing], five stars are expected to be within reach soon.”
Some high-profile British, US and European vehicles – the Jaguar XF, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Fiat Panda – also failed to achieve the top five-star rating.