By aligning its protocols with Europe from 2018, Australian independent safety watchdog ANCAP will be able to conduct crash tests for other world regions, including those used by Euro NCAP.
This means that ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) is poised to grow in stature beyond the end of local car manufacturing, and will morph into a truly global part of the NCAP testing network. This is contrary to speculation written elsewhere.
We spoke with ANCAP CEO James Goodwin recently, who gave us a rundown on the direction of the organisation, its plan for growth and the details behind its procedures.
Key to the evolution of ANCAP is the full alignment of its protocols with Euro NCAP. At present, ANCAP uses European crash data and runs it through its own metrics, but not vice-versa. This is why the post-2018 change to fully align the two regions is important.
"This will be new and is a significant achievement. It acknowledges our standing amongst NCAPs around the world and will be made possible when the testing protocols are fully aligned in 2018,” Goodwin told us, calling it the formation of a “truly global protocol”.
The benefits to conducting global crash tests in Australia are manifold. Predominately, it guarantees that it will remain a valuable industry here, and opens scope for growth. Goodwin said cars that launch here before Europe would likely be tested here for the globe, citing dual-cab utes as a key example.
“The global network will make it easier for both organisations, we can do vehicles that Euro NCAP rarely does, such as dual-cab utes for example,” Goodwin said.
Part of the move to a global NCAP system will be a greater emphasis on preventative safety features such as autonomous brakes in our market, matching the already more stringent requirements in Europe.
“The auto industry tell us every day this is a global product, the concern is we don't see the same product sold with the same features across the globe,” Goodwin said.
ANCAP, which is funded by federal and state governments, and numerous car club and insurance agencies, crashes vehicles in Melbourne and Sydney, and does pedestrian tests in Adelaide.
With mainstream vehicles, the car manufacturer will provide vehicles and fund the testing, but there is also scope for ANCAP to cover the testing costs or, if necessary, it reserves the right to buy vehicles from non-cooperative brands and test them independently.
The full suite of tests can take weeks or even months if the facilities are being used heavily, and three cars have to be written off in total, respectively for the frontal offset, side impact and pole tests. A bonnet must also be used for the pedestrian tests.
As we reported last week, Goodwin is also steadily changing the way ANCAP works with car brands, making it more collaborative and advisory, or in other words, clarifying what is required to get five stars so that brands add the appropriate safety features.
MORE: All ANCAP news coverage