Mak­ers re­sist safety rank­ing

Five stars go beg­ging, writes PAUL GOVER

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

TOO many new-car buy­ers are be­ing de­nied the best safety pro­tec­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian New-Car As­sess­ment Pro­gram. It says elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­grams are not be­ing picked up fast enough, de­spite its own moves to en­sure only ESP-equipped ve­hi­cles can claim its five-star safety rank­ing. ‘‘It’s very im­por­tant tech­nol­ogy, but even the big­ger man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t fit it to all their mod­els,’’ ANCAP coun­cil chair­man Ross McArthur says. ANCAP also says it is sur­prised by re­sis­tance to the Stars on Cars pro­gram it de­vel­oped to la­bel fives­tar cars in show­rooms. ‘‘Only Subaru is do­ing the Stars on Cars rank­ing, though we are work­ing with a cou­ple of other car­mak­ers,’’ McArthur says. ‘‘Holden is ad­ver­tis­ing a five-star rank­ing for the As­tra. Car­mak­ers will pick up on it. Hope­fully we’ll see a lot more of it. ‘‘You would think that would drive peo­ple to the five-star ve­hi­cles, where there is a big­ger profit mar­gin.’’ Since the start of the year it has taken elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol to get a five-star rat­ing and five new mod­els have qual­i­fied, though none has taken up the Stars on Cars chance with ANCAP. ‘‘The Hyundai i30 is a five-star ve­hi­cle and we’re ex­pect­ing the new Fal­con Ford to qual­ify. There will be a few of them as the year goes on,’’ McArthur says. ‘‘Some car­mak­ers are em­bar­rassed that they don’t have a full five-star range. I don’t say that ap­plies to all car­mak­ers, but it’s a bit of a step for them if they don’t have a full range that is five-star.’’ The latest news on elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol comes as EuroNCAP com­plains again about the dif­fer­ent fit­ting rates across coun­tries. It says elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol is most of­ten fit­ted in Den­mark, Swe­den and Ger­many and most of­ten miss­ing in Ire­land, Malta and Greece. ‘‘There are clear dif­fer­ences in fit­ment rates be­tween makes and mod­els within the same price range,’’ EuroNCAP sec­re­tary gen­eral Michiel van Ratin­gen says. ‘‘Some car­mak­ers such as Ford, Hyundai, Mazda and Mit­subishi are show­ing an in­crease in the per­cent­age of sta­bil­ity pro­grams fit­ted as stan­dard on their ve­hi­cles. Other man­u­fac­tur­ers are not do­ing as well. ‘‘As might be ex­pected, sta­bil­ity con­trol is more likely to be fit­ted to ex­pen­sive, pre­mium brands than to less ex­pen­sive mod­els.’’ The Aus­tralian story is sim­i­lar. ANCAP hopes sta­bil­ity con­trol will be­come al­most stan­dard equip­ment by the time it is leg­is­lated into new ve­hi­cles af­ter 2011. ‘‘In Aus­tralia the fit­ting rate is about 40 per cent. In Vic­to­ria we are do­ing a bit bet­ter at 43 per cent,’’ McArthur says. ‘‘Mak­ers say that is a higher rate than in the rest of the world, but it de­pends if you are com­par­ing it with Ger­many or An­gola.’’

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