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ANCAP to place ‘use-by date’ on safety ratings

Crashed out: After 2018, ANCAP ratings will be withdrawn on older models if no safety updates are done.

Australian crash safety agency looks at withdrawing ratings on older cars from 2018

27 Jun 2016

THE Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) will apply a “use-by” date to the scores of older cars as part of revisions due in 2018 designed to reinforce its ties with Euro NCAP.

Currently, ANCAP’s ratings are date-stamped so that consumers who are shopping for an older car can cross-reference models relative to their year of production.

ANCAP CEO James Goodwin told GoAuto that a rating from ten years ago is still valid when comparing it against similar vehicles.

“We only introduced the date stamp in 2014, so we know we’ve got to do some more work to get that (message) out there,” said Mr Goodwin. “But that’s the new message look for the five-star (rating) but also look for that rating year.

“If we are assuming that people have a five-star car, but what is it? Is it a (MY16), is it a fifteen or is it a fourteen? If you are getting much older (vehicles) in a few years you might be wanting to double check whether it’s the most current rating.”

In a response to a question about adjusting ratings from year to year, Mr Goodwin revealed that the body will introduce an expiration date on tested cars from 2018.

“There will be some changes in 2018 in alignment with Euro NCAP where effectively it will have a use-by date for a current rating,” he said. “It’s not to say that the rating can’t be updated, but if a car is getting (to be) six years old, it would pass the use-by date. If it’s not been changed, then that rating will expire and we’ll withdraw that from the market.”

Mr Goodwin maintained that the proposed change is designed to push car-makers into continually improving safety in cars that have been in the market for some time.

“The reason to do that is not to punish that brand, but it’s actually to encourage them that when they do a facelift to the vehicle, don’t just put the new grille on it and add new colours you should be upgrading safety as well,” he said.

“When manufacturers come to us from 2018 to ask for an update on their facelift, we are going to say, ‘we’re rating it to the year that you want it facelifted’, so that’s where the rating year will become much more important going forward.

“We will be assessing or reassessing vehicles against the year that the facelift occurs as well.”

Mr Goodwin does not foresee a reduction in local crash testing, even with the impending alliance with Euro NCAP and the end of local manufacturing, and pointed out that models that are more popular in Australia are often not tested overseas.

“At the moment about half the ratings that that ANCAP publishes come from Euro NCAP data,” he explained. “We do a lot of local testing but we also don’t want to double up where the result can be used we still do a desktop analysis and make sure that those ratings are applicable before we apply them locally.

“I don’t see that the mix of testing is going to change come 2018, we still have a responsibility to be testing those vehicles that come to the Australian market first and we will then be doing it for the rest of the world.

“A lot of the vehicles that are popular here – dual-cab utes for instance – either they don’t have or will never have a Euro NCAP rating, but going forward, by 2018, it will be able to have a Euro NCAP rating that will be using Australian region data.”

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