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Four star car

Commodore 4: It may only score four stars, but the VE is the safest Commodore that Holden has ever built.

Holden admits that the VE Commodore can only be a 'good four-star car'

20 Jul 2006

THE new VE Commodore is the safest car Holden has ever built, but it will not lift its current four-star ranking under the independent NCAP crash-test regime.

GM Holden executive director of engineering Tony Hyde has revealed to GoAuto that the VE sedan will achieve a "good four-star" result. "You can’t call it a five-star car. It will be a ‘good four-star’ car," he said.

"From our point of view, it is (the safest car we have ever built). People will argue from an NCAP point of view, but we think from an all-round primary safety and then secondary safety point of view, it is the best car we’ve done.

"And it’s been built for when accidents happen most and not necessarily some other peoples’ ideas of that – that’s their position and we have ours." As announced earlier, ESP stability control will be fitted standard across the range. However, side and curtain airbags will be restricted, as a standard item, to the SS V, Calais and Calais V model variants. That means owners of the baseline Omega, mid-series Berlina, sports SV6 and even the SS will be required to spend extra for these.

When will Holden make them standard? The response from GM Holden managing director Denny Mooney was: "When most of our customers say that they want them standard. We still have some customers that don’t want to option up to side airbags." Questioned further, Mr Mooney admitted that Holden’s decision to introduce ESP standard was not in direct response to customer pleas.

"I happen to think we’re a little bit ahead of what customers are going to really ask for. I don’t think customers really know the importance of ESP," he said. "I like ESP better than airbags because I frankly don’t want to get into the point where an airbag deploys, and I think that stability control is accident avoidance. I mean, how many airbags are you going to put on a car? I mean, I don’t want to hit anything.

"I don’t think consumers understand yet how important stability control is, but the data is starting to come out … and as more and more cars are equipped with stability control, and then more data comes out, they’ll get more statistical data on how many of those cars are in collisions versus how many aren’t. The data will start, I think, to become overwhelming, pretty compelling.

"I made the final decision (on ESP) but, once again, I guess I’ve had a lot of experience with ESP. There’s always some disagreement when you’re doing a product program, especially when you’ve got to add costs to a car, because you’re trying to get price points that are affordable for everybody. You know you could put all of this stuff on every car – and then your base car gets out of the affordability range." He also pointed to the strategic location, and greater use, of super-high-strength steel across the vehicle and claimed that the car met all new side-impact requirements.

"I’m confident there won’t be many safer cars on the road than this car right here," he said. "We’re very confident of the crashworthiness of this car. Trust me." At a glance: VE safety
  • Holden expects a four-star NCAP result
  • Curtain airbags optional on Omega, Berlina, SV6, SS
  • Side airbags optional on above models
  • ESP fitted standard to all cars
  • Ultra-stiff body structure
  • Expanded use of high-strength steel

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