Europe 5 Australia 4
It’s the latest Renault score in the safety star wars
RENAULT’S new Captur, a five-star crash-tester, will be downgraded to a four-star car by the time it lands in Australia next year.
The baby SUV is set to be docked a star by the Australian safety authority because it is not fitted with rear airbags, even though it earnt the top five-star ranking from European NCAP without them.
It will also take the hit because it must pass a roof crush test, although that is in the plan for ANCAP testing in 2014.
ANCAP head Nicholas Clarke says he is stunned Renault is not demanding cars for Australia with rear airbags. The Captur follows the Clio, which is also airbag-free in the rear.
‘‘ It beggars belief that they could not get it up. If they are going to sell the car here then that is what we require,’’ Clarke says. ‘‘ It strikes me as a bit odd that this has blown up. I understand that Renault is not happy about it.’’
But he is adamant. ‘‘ The Captur result will be capped at four stars. It’s required to have rear curtain airbags, or rear head protection technology. The other thing for the Captur is that from 2014 we require a roof crush result. That’s mandatory for five stars from January.’’
He concedes the Captur could clear the roof hurdle and ANCAP is intending to check this locally by buying a car to test. However, he says all makers including Renault have had plenty of warning about the rear airbag requirement for a local five-star ranking.
‘‘ In our forward plan, which we developed from about 2009 and then published at the beginning of 2011, it was made clear at that time that from 2014 we would require head protecting technology in the rear and the roof,’’ Clarke says.
‘‘ This was negotiated with industry through the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which Renault is a member of. It shouldn’t be news to anybody.’’
Clarke also says Renault has a long history with five-star cars and rear airbags, and questions the decision not to fit them in the Clio and Captur.
‘‘ There are lots of small cars with full-length rear airbags. So it’s not impossible to fit them,’’ he says. ‘‘ I think, also, that Renault have had curtain airbags in the rear for a number of years.’’
Despite the push-back in Australia, the result for European NCAP is the 15th five-star result for Renault and endorses the recent result for the Clio, on which the Captur is based.