Wait for Re­nault bag­ging

Cross­over omits safety kit in mon­eysav­ing move

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

THE safety of the com­ing Re­nault Cap­tur was com­pro­mised to save money.

This stun­ning ad­mis­sion, by Cap­tur project chief Christophe Pe­jout, comes as he also ad­mits the French com­pany is tar­get­ing its safety de­vel­op­ment work to en­sure five-star NCAP rank­ings— not be­cause of re­al­world safety con­cerns.

The Cap­tur is built without any rear airbags be­cause Re­nault knew it would score well in NCAP without them and it would save money.

Pe­jout ad­mits the Cap­tur would be safer with rear airbags, while pro­vid­ing plenty of jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for the omis­sion.

‘‘ It’s al­ways a money is­sue,’’ he says. Asked if the Cap­tur would be safer with rear airbags he an­swers: ‘‘ Yes.’’

But he says rear seats are of­ten left empty, that ESP sta­bil­ity con­trol means fewer side-on im­pacts away from junc­tions, and that the Cap­tur is still likely to get a five-star Euro NCAP rank­ing.

‘‘ How do we make pri­or­i­ties? We put money where it is most ef­fi­cient from a safety point of view,’’ Pe­jout says. ‘‘ Crash cases for rear pas­sen­gers are very low. The oc­cu­pant rates are very low. With ESP you no longer have cars that wrap them­selves around trees.’’

He ad­mits NCAP scores are now a top pri­or­ity for Re­nault.

‘‘ That is what we base our de­vel­op­ment pro­to­cols on,’’ he says. ‘‘ In Europe, peo­ple don’t count the num­ber of airbags, they look at the EuroNCAP rat­ing. For us, it’s im­por­tant to have a good EuroNCAP rat­ing.’’

In the case of the Cap­tur, Pe­jout ar­gues that the Re­nault Clio— on which the new cross­over is based— does well in tests without any rear airbags.

It was awarded the max­i­mum five stars by EuroNCAP, a score trans­ferred to ANCAP Down Un­der.

‘‘ We have the same safety menu as Clio 4 and it was voted by EuroNCAP as the safest car in its cat­e­gory for 2012.’’

Paul Gover

Ba­g­less: The Cap­tur doesn’t have rear airbags — the maker says buy­ers are more in­ter­ested in NCAP stars

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