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ANCAP aligns with Euro safety body

Top score: ANCAP says its new increased standards will keep up with constantly improving cars, such as the Hyundai Genesis which recently scored 36.88 points out of 37.

Australian crash testing standards to mirror European protocol by 2018

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General News logo12 Nov 2014

AUSTRALIA'S leading car safety assessor is tightening its standards, making it harder for manufacturers to score the coveted five-star top score and transitioning to a system aligned with its European counterpart.

From the start of 2015, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) will transition from a unique Australian standard to a program identical to the Euro NCAP system, culminating in 2018.

ANCAP undergoes periodic revision of its standards to stop technology outgrowing tests, but the three year process to align with the European standard is necessary to keep up with more rapidly improving vehicle design and safety.

In the transition period, ANCAP will use a combination of both Australian and European standards to assess vehicles, but by January 1, 2018 all vehicles tested in Australia will have to conform to the same protocol as Euro cars.

ANCAP says the move to a unified system will result in safer cars with harder and more stringent tests and new elements that scrutinise emerging technologies such as autonomous braking, lane departure, active cruise control and advancing ESC systems.

The Australian program currently produces half of its ratings based on information from European testing and ANCAP says the transition to a European model will not be a difficult process.

ANCAP chairman Lachlan McIntosh told GoAuto the two assessment bodies would be working together to develop the new shared standard, which would fit both regions well due to the similar mix of vehicles in either hemisphere.

“A majority of the cars that come to Australia are available in Europe so we are moving to the European protocol,” he said.

“We were in the process of upgrading ours so rather than just upgrade ours alone we thought it would be better to do it together with Europe.

“There's a whole range of new tests coming out and we need to make sure we do this together.

“We've always had good relationships with all the other NCAPs around the world but now under the umbrella of global NCAP we have a much better resourced relationship.

“The program ensures that everyone in the world gets the opportunity to have the best car available.”

But Mr McIntosh said that the merge is not the start of further alignments resulting in a single world standard.

“When Euro NCAP started they used pretty much the same protocols that we had developed from the US,” he said.

“But everybody does something slightly differently mainly because the markets are all a bit different.

“The manufacturers will tell you we could have one standard worldwide but they don't make one standard car worldwide.”

Mr McIntosh said that the process of constantly evolving vehicle tests in all NCAP regions continues to identify both good and bad performers such as the Hyundai Genesis which recently set a new Australian high-score, and the Indian-built Datsun Go that scored zero in NCAP tests.

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