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EuroNCAP's new rating scheme: Five stars impossible without ESP


6th November, 2008

Nissan Pathfinder at EuroNCAP Euro NCAP moves closer to its vision “for safer cars” with the release of details about the scoring behind the organisation’s new car safety rating. With the implementation of the new rating scheduled for 2009, vehicles tested by Euro NCAP from this date will undergo a much tougher and more comprehensive assessment. Euro NCAP also reveals its high ambitions for manufacturers: without ESC (ESP), the achievement of five stars will no longer be possible.

Euro NCAP’s new scheme will see the introduction of a new 5-star single overall vehicle safety rating replacing the current star ratings in use since 1997. This new star rating, Euro NCAP believes, will provide the simplest and clearest advice to the consumer about the overall safety performance of his/her chosen vehicle. The overall rating will be composed from scores achieved in four areas of assessment Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian Protection and a new area: Safety Assist. This Safety Assist component will allow Euro NCAP to consider driver assistance systems and active safety technologies, which play an increasingly important role in accident avoidance and injury mitigation. The new scheme provides Euro NCAP with the means to actively drive safety forwards in critical areas, maximising the potential impact (so to speak) on road casualty reduction on European and other roads.

Under the new scoring system, vehicles will need to do well in each area of assessment to achieve a good overall result. In particular, it will be impossible for a car maker to achieve five stars in the tested vehicle without the standard fitment of electronic stability control (ESC) (more commonly known as electronic stability programme - ESP) in the majority of variants sold. Statistics reveal that ESC plays such a major role in reducing deaths on European roads. Euro NCAP believes no car should be able to achieve five stars without it.

First results for vehicles tested under the new rating system will be released in February 2009. From this date, consumers should look out for the new overall Euro NCAP star rating for their vehicle. This shows the car has been subject to a tougher assessment in the achievement of its final award.

Dr Michiel Van Ratingen, Secretary-General of Euro NCAP says “There is no doubt that this new overall rating will provide clear challenges to industry, but at the same time it will create opportunities for manufacturers to be rewarded for their dedication to safety. Euro NCAP needs to continually evolve with innovation and ensure that consumers can be confident that the rating remains updated and a true reflection of the safety performance of their vehicles.”

Consumers interested in a particular area of assessment such as adult protection or child protection will still be able to compare different vehicles as the individual scores that make up the overall rating will also be available.

Euro NCAP has also begun testing seats of vehicles crash tested in 2008 to gauge their performance in rear impact and whiplash protection. From 2009, this whiplash test will automatically be included as part of Euro NCAP’s first area of assessment in Adult Occupant Protection.

Euro NCAP will be releasing the results for these initial Whiplash tests on Wednesday, 26th November 2008 at a special launch event to be held at Thatcham, the Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre in the UK.

Since 1997, Euro NCAP ratings have become known as THE reliable indicator of independent consumer information about car safety.

Euro NCAP’s test results are released on a quarterly basis.

Next Car often reports these results.

Other Crash Test content: here.

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