It's the phone call no manufacturer wants to get. A call from ANCAP advising one of their vehicles has been purchased for a secondary verification crash test.
An audit test occurs when ANCAP decides to reassess a vehicle and ensure it still meets the standards for ratings previously achieved in local crash-testing or via tests carried out by partner Euro NCAP.
This happened to Kia in 2016, when an overseas Picanto variant scored an alarming zero-star crash safety rating in ASEAN NCAP testing.
While the overseas model (known as the Kia Morning) is different to the Picanto sold in Australia, ANCAP wanted to confirm none of the same safety flaws existed in the local vehicle.
ANCAP originally mirrored the five-star rating awarded to the Ford Edge, as it's known overseas, by Euro NCAP, but Ford's local specification differs slightly from the European offering.
The addition of seatbelt pre-tensioners on the rear outboard seats could influence test results, which is why ANCAP chose it for an audit test.
Ford flew engineers to ANCAP's test facility just outside Sydney to witness the test after being advised of the audit. During this process, they aren't allowed to interfere with the vehicle or test procedure, but can watch the test inspect the vehicle following its crash.
ANCAP performed a full-frontal width test, which is designed to test the vehicle structure during a crash and the effectiveness of restraint systems used in the car.
After analysing the results, ANCAP awarded the Endura five stars again, except this time increasing its passenger occupant score from 87 per cent to 94 per cent.
“The Ford Endura was already a five-star rated vehicle when it launched, yet Ford Australia has improved the safety specification of Endura models supplied to our market through the inclusion of seatbelt pre-tensioners for rear [outboard] seats, which sees improved occupant protection for rear seat occupants,” said James Goodwin, ANCAP CEO.
“The Endura is a vehicle designed and used to transport families, so it’s encouraging to see Ford Australia prioritise the safety of rear seat occupants for our market,” Goodwin said.
“ANCAP plays an important role for consumers in understanding the safety levels offered in new vehicles, and we’re pleased that Endura has improved on this in an independently verified audit test by an agency with the highest level of credibility," said Ford Australia and New Zealand CEO and president, Kay Hart.