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by Tim Beissmann

The head of international vehicle safety advocate Global NCAP says it is “entirely unacceptable” that millions of cars sold in low- and middle-income countries are failing to meet basic safety standards.

Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley issued a report at the United Nations’ Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations in Geneva calling on vehicle manufacturers to democratise safety for all cars around the world.

“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,” Mosley said.

“For example, crash test standards introduced 20 years ago for cars sold in Europe are yet to be met by many new cars 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.”

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The Global NCAP report, Democratising Car Safety – Road Map For Safer Cars 2020, lists 10 recommendations to transform global car safety along with a realistic and affordable timeline for their implementation.

The report calls for manufacturers to commit to achieving minimum UN Regulations standards for frontal and side impact crashes, seatbelt and seatbelt anchorages, electronic stability control and pedestrian protection, and to cease the practice of de-specification and bundling of safety features in favour of making the full range of safety design and devices available in all major markets.

It also recommends that governments and insurers should provide financial incentives to encourage more rapid deployment of new technologies in the passenger car fleet, and that fleet purchasers adopt Global NCAP’s Buyers Guide and choose five-star vehicles where possible.

Global NCAP secretary general and author of the report David Ward said the time had come for car safety to be extended across all automotive markets around the world.

“By 2020 at the latest, we want all new cars to meet basic standard for both crash protection and crash avoidance,” Ward said.

“They must have crumple zones, airbags and electronic stability control.”

ANCAP CEO Nicholas Clarke says the local division “strongly supports” the recommendations of the report.

“Closer to home we have seen the success of the recently formed ASEAN NCAP and its effect on improving vehicle safety standards where regulation doesn’t yet exist,” Clarke said.

“This force must extend to regions not yet covered by consumer programs such as ANCAP and ASEAN NCAP.”

The report comes four months after India’s Bharat NCAP published zero-star safety ratings for the Datsun Go and Maruti Suzuki Swift – two budget models designed to appeal to cash-strapped buyers in the Indian market.




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