Crunch time for ratings
The star safety system is a worry for Volvo, writes PAUL GOVER
THE company claiming the safest car in Australia is calling for an urgent review of national safety ratings. Volvo says the star-rating system used by the Australian New-Car Assessment Program, which scores vehicles for crash-test results and fitting of ESP stability control, has been overtaken by advanced new systems in the world’s safest cars.
It wants recognition of the sort of electronic driver-assistance systems fitted to its latest XC60 — which it claims sets a new safety standard for Australia — and the forthcoming BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz E Class.
All have breakthrough new systems — the XC has radar crash avoidance for city traffic, the 7 can recognise speed signs and the E warns drowsy drivers— which go well beyond the current ANCAP tests and ratings.
‘‘It’s my opinion that we need to have another think about the star system,’’ Volvo Cars Australia head Alan Desselss says. ‘‘There is no doubt that it’s a good cause, and a very important cause, but at the end of the day if they want to give customers what they want and not just tick boxes they need to move on.
‘‘A five-star rating for something like the XC60 is probably unjustified. It gets the same star rating, and I don’t mean to denigrate the product, as a Hyundai or a Mitsubishi Lancer. It’s just not right.
‘‘The public could think that five stars on one car is equal to five stars on another car, and that’s not right.’’
Desselss wants ANCAP to start looking beyond its crash tests and further than the ESP stability control now essential for a five-star safety rating, to assess a ‘‘real’’ safety ranking.
He says it should start by looking at different brands’ stability-control systems.
‘‘Take ESP, or DTSC as we call it. I believe it’s different on different cars,’’ he says.
‘‘What’s happened now is that people just put on an ESP system because it’s the only way they can get five stars.’’