Fleet News

New storm erupts as NCAP crash-tests upper medium cars

A STORM has once again erupted over the validity of the New Car Assessment Programme, with manufacturers lambasting the crash tests as unscientific and simplistic. The NCAP consortium hit back immediately, arguing that the public has a right to know how safe one car is compared to another, and that the tests offer clear guidance of a car's relative safety performance.

According to Andrew McIlwraith, senior editor of Which? (involved through the participation of 23 European consumer groups): 'Manufacturers' brochures list many safety features for their cars, but you can't actually tell which will best protect you in a crash. 'These tests highlight how vital it is to consider safety when choosing your car - and the safety levels we've been led to expect from some manufacturers were simply not there.'

With official minimum safety standards in place, car makers dispute the need for additional, arbitrary tests to establish what they believe is misleading. Ernie Thompson, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said that if the NCAP tests were to have any meaning, more models should be tested (Honda, Toyota, Fiat, Hyundai, and Mazda were all conspicuous by their absence), and more examples of each model.

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