The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has undertaken an audit test on the Kia Picanto at Sydney's Crashlab facility after alarming crash test results from the related ASEAN NCAP crash testing body.
An audit test occurs when ANCAP decides to reassess a vehicle to ensure it still meets the standards required for star ratings achieved either through local crash-testing or via tests carried out by partner Euro NCAP.
The Picanto was originally awarded a four-star safety rating by Euro NCAP, but additional standard-fit safety equipment for the Australian market saw ANCAP increase its rating to a full five stars.
However, when the Kia Morning - the Picanto's name in South Korea and other regions - was tested by ASEAN NCAP in Indonesia for the Thai, Philippine and Vietnamese markets, it scored zero stars.
This result was largely due to the absence of airbags, ABS or ESC in its standard form. The crashed car's main failing, however, was when the driver's door opened at impact and the test dummy's body moved partly outside the vehicle.
CarAdvice understands that the Kia Morning for the ASEAN market is a Complete Knock Down (CKD), which means it is assembled in these countries from shipped parts, as opposed to being imported as a complete vehicle. As a result, manufacturing standards and tolerances may not be as high as they are in Korea.
To confirm the local model's five-star rating, however, ANCAP bought a brand-new Picanto from a Sydney dealer last week and invited Kia to witness the test.
CarAdvice was also invited to attend, in addition to around 10 Kia staff members (which included a mix of engineers, senior management and staff).
The Picanto was subjected to a 64km/h frontal offset crash test at the Sydney Crashlab facility with two adult dummies in the front and two child dummies in the rear.
ANCAP chief executive officer, James Goodwin, told a group of journalists that it's not the first time they have conducted an audit test, and it won't be the last.
"We need to confirm the validity of existing results," Goodwin said.
"We are concerned that a brand would be making different assessments in the value of a life for different countries."
The crash test results are still being determined and CarAdvice will publish the results as soon as they are available.