Europe 5 Aus­tralia 4

It’s the lat­est Re­nault score in the safety star wars

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Cars News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF RE­PORTER paul.gover@cars­

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.

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