The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) plans to essentially align its testing criteria with sister organisation Euro NCAP by 2018.
ANCAP will also make some changes over the interim, from January 1, 2015, that will see it directly transfer many Euro NCAP results without running them through its own testing policies and protocols.
Essentially it boils down to ANCAP altering its standards over time until it reaches a point of parity with Euro NCAP, which at present for example has harsher marking standards on preventative safety technology such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
The “transition phase” operates in parallel with ANCAP’s existing ‘Road Map’ out to 2017, which lays out the increasingly stringent requirements for getting a five-star result.
Every year, ANCAP makes it harder to attain the maximum score. For example any car launched from this year needs side-rear head-protecting airbags to get five stars, which as we know has ruled out the Renault Captur from the maximum score when it launches early next year.
This process, along with what ANCAP’s research shows as an increased demand for safety in new vehicles from consumers market-wide, is the mechanism by which NCAP organisations the world over attempt to force safety innovations from car-makers in lieu of regulatory oversight.
“Cars tested by Euro NCAP we’re going to take them as they are…” ANCAP CEO Nicholas Clarke told CarAdvice today.
ANCAP has for the past 15 years used Euro NCAP data, but in the words of Clarke, has also been “filtering them through our own protocols”. Euro NCAP is a bit ahead of ANCAP at the moment in areas such as forcing the fitment of AEB and lane departure warning, for instance.
So, for example, from 2015 cars tested under Euro NCAP guidelines will need to have AEB to get five stars. ANCAP will apply this procedure to all European cars sold here.
But, for instance, a Japanese car not sold in Europe and not made to meet this criteria will still be assessed under ANCAP’s provisions that will not yet require mandatory AEB. This will discourage European brands from de-speccing cars for Australia.
Then, from 2018, any and all cars sold here will be judged with the same rule book as Euro NCAP, whether they’re sold in Europe or not.
The practical application from then will be thus: Cars tested in Europe will have that grade applied directly to Australia via ANCAP. Cars not tested in Europe, meaning those not sold there, that are offered in Australia will be tested in Australia by ANCAP.
This means that post-2017, when Australia no longer has a mainstream car manufacturing industry, ANCAP will still physically crash vehicles here. Clarke projects the current ratio, of sourcing 50 per cent of its results from Europe and 50 per cent from local testing, to more or less remain in place.
“Improvements in vehicle safety design and development in the past few years have been swift and substantial - particularly in the realm of advanced safety assist collision avoidance technologies - and test programs the world over are adjusting their plans to match pace,” Clarke said.
"The ANCAP Rating Road Map already takes some of these changes and advancements into account however given the rapid pace at which vehicle safety is moving, and the need for new car assessment programs (NCAPs) to acknowledge these advancements, ANCAP has revised and expanded its forward plan.
“This is an important step in the evolution of ANCAP and NCAPs worldwide as we work together to share knowledge, data and expertise; and encourage manufacturers to develop cars for a global market.”