The Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) this week slammed Australian media coverage of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), saying it was “baffled” by a recent spate negative commentary over its protocols.
In response to what the organisation evidently considers a series of slights rather than critiques, Global NCAP secretary-general David Ward said it was disappointed by “recent media coverage across Australia which criticises the vital work undertaken” by ANCAP.
“The life-saving role of New Car Assessment Programs is well established in all world regions and a key contributor to the current UN Decade of Action for Road Safety,” he said.
"Global NCAP is baffled by the recent negative comments made in the Australian media about ANCAP when, in fact, it has made a huge contribution to reducing road trauma at home in Australia and is also a strong partner with the other nine established NCAPs around the world.
"ANCAP is a leader in vehicle safety advocacy and has been immensely successful in improving the safety of the Australasian fleet over the past two decades.”
"Thanks to ANCAP and its simplicity of message, Australian consumers now consider safety as the primary factor when buying a new car”.
Global NCAP added that ANCAP had also assisted the development of new NCAPs in South East Asia and Latin America.
"NCAPs are on the frontline of improved vehicle safety and without them the huge improvements in car safety seen over the last thirty years would not have happened," it asserted.
ANCAP has been criticised from various circles lately, by us here at CarAdvice, and other editorial sources such as Fairfax, partially via a survey of various car-makers and their Australian operations on the effectiveness and clarity of its message.
Wheels Magazine recently ran an investigation into vehicles with a five-star rating awarded a few years ago that would fail to score the maximum if tested under the latest criteria. ANCAP’s solution to this is to date-stamp its ratings.
However, this has also led to criticism. For example, the Renault Captur crossover SUV, which lacks rear-side airbags, nevertheless received a perfect five-star score in April this year, but with a 2013 date stamp denoting it had been assessed against earlier, less stringent criteria.
ANCAP announced last November its intention to essentially align its testing criteria with Euro NCAP by 2018. In the interim, from January 1 this year, it is transferring some Euro NCAP results without running them through its own testing policies and protocols. ENCAP tested the Captur in 2013.
At the time, we pointed out that this potential anomaly could make it hard for consumers to gauge the current safety rating of a car on first glance without delving into details. Manufacturers are allowed to advertise safety ratings for current models.
As we also reported recently, BMW Australia sad it was “extremely confusing” that its 2 Series Active Tourer received five stars in European NCAP testing but four stars from ANCAP, whereas its i3 got four stars in Europe and five here.