The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has hit back at claims made by the distributors of the Chery J1 that a recall of the Chinese-made hatch would unofficially elevate its safety rating from three stars to four.

chery-j1-crash-test

Last week, Ateco Automotive spokesman Daniel Cotterill told CarAdvice if the Chery J1 was crash tested again by ANCAP after the 702-vehicle recall to improve the integrity of the front seats, it would “almost certainly” achieve a four-star safety rating.

But ANCAP Chair, Lauchlan McIntosh, said these claims were simply not true.

“We were surprised to hear Ateco’s spokesman Daniel Cotterill comment in the media that the modifications would now see the Chery J1 almost certainly get a four-star rating if crash tested again,” Mr McIntosh said.“These comments are clearly incorrect, as the modifications would not impact the overall crash test result, and the Ateco engineering staff should be aware of this.”

Mr McIntosh confirmed the voluntary recall was sparked by the J1’s concerning crash results during testing by ANCAP in April.

“We are disappointed at these comments, particularly given ANCAP works closely with the automotive industry to deliver safer vehicles for Australian motorists,” he said.“The Chery J1 performed poorly in the crash tests – the passenger compartment lost structural integrity in the frontal impact test, providing limited protection from serious chest injury for the driver.”

The distinction between a three-star vehicle and a four-star vehicle is a very important one to ANCAP. The independent crash tester officially states it does not recommend purchasing vehicles with less than four stars.

Ateco Automotive’s Daniel Cotterill today reaffirmed its conviction that the car will be much safer following the recall repair.

“We are confident the J1 would be significantly improved by the modifications,” Mr Cotterill said.

He said tests conducted by an independent crash tester supported this belief.