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International crash-testing body Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) will work with its subsidiaries to perform a crash test that will highlight the disparity in new car safety benchmarks between developed and developing nations, later this month.

On October 27, UK-based Global NCAP will conduct a car-to-car crash test with two equivalent popular sedans – one sold in the US and the other in Mexico – with a 50 per cent overlap and a combined closing speed of 80mph (129km/h). The specific model to be tested is still to be announced.

Speaking to the UK’s Autocar, David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP, said: “In Mexico at the moment, there are no crash test standards”.

“They’ve announced this year that they will apply them, but not to all production cars until 2020.”

“It’s very globally relevant. Roughly speaking, 50 per cent of new vehicles worldwide are manufactured in emerging markets and sold both in those markets and back to high-income countries. However, there are large parts of the world where there are no effective vehicle safety standards,” he added.

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The aim of this one-off test is to highlight the major differences in safety standards and standard safety equipment offered in the two markets, which should encourage authorities in developing nations to mandate more safety equipment in new vehicles and also prompt manufacturers to not make safety an option based on the country the car is sold in.

“Mexico is a good example”, Ward told Autocar, “The best-selling car is the Chevrolet Aveo, which, when tested by Latin NCAP last year, got zero stars.

“We think it’s wrong that manufacturers are continuing to sell models like that. They should upgrade them, and it would be simple to standardise airbags.”

“They don’t have to wait to be forced to do it. Some companies are doing it [already] – for example, Toyota are fitting airbags to all their production cars in India, ahead of requirements, so it can be done. However, others are not so good and continue to sell vehicles that would be illegal in our markets,” he added

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Ward also said the test will include test dummies but won’t lead to any official safety ratings.

Global NCAP’s secretary general believes the two cars, despite being equivalent models, will perform very differently in this test.

“We expect that the body shell of the Mexican car will collapse,” he said.

“It doesn’t have airbags, and the other car has a better body shell and airbags. You’ll see, very graphically, the benefits of the safer vehicle, and it should be a very interesting test.”

The experiment will take place at the US’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) headquarters in Virginia as part of Global NCAP’s annual meeting.

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Global NCAP’s announcement comes not long after the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) conducted an audit test for the Kia Picanto micro hatch.

Earlier this year, Asian crash-testing authority Asean NCAP awarded the Picanto a zero-star crash rating, though the model sold in that market is a Complete Knock Down (CKD) meaning it’s assembled locally from imported parts and doesn’t come equipped with any airbags or safety aids.

Despite achieving a lower score than it did in Euro NCAP testing in 2011, the Picanto managed to hold onto its five-star rating after the audit test.

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