World First! A test of a Quan­tum’s swerve lim­its, and when you should rather take the taxi.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

IN the first test of its kind, the New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gramme for Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean (the Latin NCAP), and the Global New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gramme (the Global NCAP) hosted a crash test be­tween cars de­signed for poor and rich coun­tries.

The test forms part of Global NCAP’s on­go­ing cam­paign #NoZeroS­tarCars, which aims to elim­i­nate zero star cars from the global fleet and was con­ducted at the IIHS head­quar­ters in Vir­ginia, U.S., last week.

The test was un­usual for NCap in that it was done at a re­al­is­tic com­bined clos­ing speed of 129 km/h in­stead of the usual 64 km/h that these tests are done at in the U.S.

The Nis­san Tsuru used in the test failed dis­mally and as ex­pected, Nis­san have an­nounced the Tsuru will be taken out of pro­duc­tion in Mex­ico from next May.

Re­act­ing to the an­nounce­ment, David Ward, Global NCAP sec­re­tary-gen­eral, said: “This is a long over­due de­ci­sion to cease pro­duc­tion of a car that is fun­da­men­tally un­safe. Three years ago our part­ner Latin NCAP crash tested the car and re­vealed its zero star rat­ing.

“It has taken Nis­san too long to recog­nise that selling sub­stan­dard cars is un­ac­cept­able.

“At last they have re­sponded to the de­mands of Latin NCAP and Mex­i­can con­sumers to with­draw the Tsuru from the mar­ket,” said Ward.

What the Global NCap did not say is that no car — no mat­ter how many stars it wins in the NCAP tests, or how many airbags it has — will fare well when the col­li­sion speed ex­ceeds 64 km/h.

The bot­tom line is that cars have be­come too fast for av­er­age driv­ers, as the charred body parts that paramedics pick up on a daily ba­sis af­ter high-speed crashes prove.

The only way to make cars safer is to make them a lot slower, or to fit the sys­tems race car driv­ers use to pro­tect them­selves.

Clyde Vic­tor, 2012 KZN rally cham­pion and in­staller of roll cages at Ernie’s Panel­beat­ers in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, told Wheels the only sys­tem that makes a car truly safe at speed is a rac­ing roll cage, deep bucket seats and wide seat belts that cover the chest.

“I don’t feel as safe in my road car at low speeds as I do in my rally car rac­ing on dirt roads,” he said. • al­wyn.viljoen@wit­


The new car as­sess­ment pro­grammes want to erad­i­cate cars that get zero stars, like the Nis­san Tsuru, but what they don’t say is that all cars get zero stars in high-speed crashes.

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