WATCH | 2020 #SaferCarsForAfrica crash results are cause for alarm
Global NCAP and the Automobile Association of SA (AA) this month launched the fourth round of #SaferCarsForAfrica crash test results supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the FIA Foundation.
The three models tested, the Great Wall Steed 5, Haval H1 and Renault Kwid, all gave serious cause for concern with poor levels of adult and child protection. Alarmingly, the zero rated Great Wall Steed 5 demonstrated a high probability of life-threatening injury.
Alejandro Furas, Global NCAP Secretary General said, “Another zero star rated ‘Bakkie’ gives us very serious cause for concern in our latest crash test results for Africa. The potential for life threatening injury in the Steed 5 follows the zero star performance of the Nissan Hardbody pick up. The contrast between the marketing claims for such vehicles and the reality of their poor safety performance could not be more stark.
“This is a worrying set of results for the safety of both adult and child occupants in these popular African cars,” said David Ward, Towards Zero Foundation president. “Our second #SaferCarsforAfrica zero rating in the ‘Bakkie” category, with the high probability of life threatening injury, should be ringing alarm bells for any consumer considering the purchase of a Steed 5 pick up.”
“From our global perspective, with successful crash test programmes in India and Latin America, we can track the varying safety equipment specifications for cars manufactured in one market and sold in others. It’s therefore surprising to note that the Renault Kwid developed for Latin America, based on the original Indian version, has a better adult and child occupant protection performance, includes standard ISOFIX anchorages as well as dual front and side airbags,” Ward concluded.
Willem Groenewald, AA SA CEO said, “I concur with both Alejandro and David that these results are worrisome and cause for concern. Since the #SaferCarsforAfrica programme’s first results were launched in 2017 we’ve been calling for an improvement in the safety standards set by government. These results again confirm the urgent need for this to happen; we simply cannot have unsafe cars on our roads any more.
“We have spoken to the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards about standards and, though the evidence is clear, we are eager to see movement in this regard. Action is needed, and needed now because it’s about protecting South African citizens.”
Great Wall Steed 5
Pick ups, also known as “Bakkies” here, are a popular category of vehicle in Africa. After the 2018 crash test of the Nissan NP300 Hardbody, Global NCAP selected the Great Wall Steed 5, which competes on price with the Nissan in the pick up category.
The Steed 5 is tested in the basic version without airbags. Driver dummy readings showed a red head and brown chest and neck, which translates into poor protection for head and weak protection for neck and chest. Those body parts are considered critical body regions.
The structure was considered as unstable as was the footwell area. The deformation in the passenger compartment and movement of the steering column questions if an airbag would be able to prevent serious injuries to the driver.
As the manufacturer decided not to recommend a Child Restraint System (CRS) for the test, zero points were awarded for the child occupant dynamic assessment score. The three-year-old dummy CRS broke during the impact due to the poor performance of the restrain system. The Steed 5 does not have ISOFIX anchorages for the child seats in the rear and lacks three-point belts in all seating positions.
The Haval H1 is one among the popular new vehicle segment of small SUVs. The H1 offers two airbags as standard. The injuries recorded in the driver and passenger head and neck showed good protection. Driver chest showed weak protection and passenger chest showed good protection.
Feet showed poor protection, which together with the driver readings, unstable structure and unstable footwell area explain the two star rating for adult occupant protection.
Child occupant protection was negatively affected because the manufacturer refused to indicate a CRS for use in the test, bringing dynamic points to zero. The CRS selected by Global NCAP used the ISOFIX anchorages available in the car.
Both child dummies' heads contacted the car during the test, threatening the safety of the child occupants. Lack of proper ISOFIX markings and the lack of a passenger airbag disabling switch resulted in a two star child occupant protection rating for the H1.
The Renault Kwid was tested by Global NCAP when it was launched in India in 2016 and its structure has since been improved. A version manufactured in Brazil was later tested by Latin NCAP where it achieved 3 stars, with side body airbags added to frontal airbags and ABS.
In Africa the Kwid with the recent facelift offers 2 airbags as standard. The protection offered to the driver head was rated adequate and good for the passengers. Both necks show good protection but the driver chest showed weak protection.
An unstable body structure, unstable footwell structure and pedal movement, explain the two stars for adult occupant protection. The child occupant protection showed poor performance as the head contacted the interior of the car.
The lack of three point belts in all seating positions and lack of ISOFIX anchorages contribute to the 2 star rating for child occupant protection.
A word on child occupant protection
Global NCAP awards a separate child safety rating to each car to highlight the different levels of protection vehicles provide to child passengers on the rear seats. Global NCAP tests a CRS recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Because the only safe way for young children to travel is properly restrained in a child seat, the assessment checks how compatible the car is with the child seats, as well as crash protection.
Only one of the vehicles tested offers ISOFIX as standard, which is a major concern knowing the major advantages of this feature.
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