The heat is on China’s new car manufacturers to improve the safety of their vehicles after authorities confirmed the country’s crash test program is set for a major overhaul.
The revisions to the China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP) will be introduced from July 2012. The new standards will be closer to those demanded by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and Euro NCAP.
Under the new standards, the frontal offset crash test will be conducted at 64km/h (up from the current 56km/h), matching international standards.
C-NCAP will introduce a number of other measures to enhance the quality and reputation of its crash testing, including the evaluation of a back-row dummy, neck protection, and active safety programs like electronic stability control.
The program’s classification criteria will also change, while the total number of points on offer will increase from 51 to 62.
Chinese vehicle safety has been a concern for some time. The highest-rated Chinese vehicle sold in Australia is the Great Wall X240, which earned a four-star ANCAP rating in 2010.
The Chery J11 and Great Wall V240 score just two stars from ANCAP, while the Chery J1 and Geely MK both manage three stars. ANCAP does not recommend purchasing a new vehicle with less than four out of five stars.
The global automotive industry has long held doubts over the integrity of the C-NCAP system. Since it introduction in 2006, 59 vehicles out of the total 137 tested have achieved the maximum five-star rating. A further 35 have achieved a four-star rating, meaning almost 70 per cent scored either four or five stars.