Nissan has reacted with disappointment to the latest round of Euro NCAP crash test results, in which its Navara pick-up truck scored just one star.
It is the first time Euro NCAP has tested pick ups, and the organisation has rebuked manufacturers for not making safety a priority in the vehicles’ design.
As well as the poor showing from the Navara, Isuzu’s D-MAX/Rodeo scored just two stars, although Mitsubishi’s L200 fared better with four.
Nissan said the score for the Navara was compromised by a delayed airbag deployment, an issue it said applied to a limited number of 08-plate Navaras made between May and December last year.
Earlier Navaras do not suffer from the problem.
Since the crash test Nissan has updated the software on the airbag control unit and recalled affected models for upgrades at Nissan dealers.
A second crash test has been carried out on the upgraded Navara, and Nissan said it was looking forward to the publication of the results.
European pick-up registrations rose by 7.2% between 2006 and 2007, and manufacturers are increasing vehicle specification in an attempt to lure consumers as well as commercial customers.
Dr Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: “Euro NCAP must act as a guardian of car safety for consumers – testing these vehicles becomes imperative when we realise they are no longer simply being used for the carriage of goods.
"Manufacturers must realise we will test all cars that could have an impact on the safety of European consumers.”