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Zero stars for Mitsubishi Express, industry reacts

ANCAP awards zero-star safety rating to Mitsubishi Express delivery van

2 Mar 2021

THE Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has handed down its first-ever zero-star safety rating this week, with the vehicle in question being the Mitsubishi Express mid-sized van.


According to the leading safety body, it was the Express’ inherent lack of safety systems and “marginal performance in physical crash tests” that let it down.


Specifically, the van received a score 55 per cent for adult occupant protection, 40 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and just seven per cent for its safety assist systems.


Chest, knee and neck injuries were all noted as being serious risk areas during frontal impact testing while partial ejection was identified as a major risk during the side impact and pole tests.


ANCAP chief executive Carla Hoorweg expressed her disappointment in the results and said the recently released Express’ specifications “do not align with today’s safety expectations”.


“Unfortunately we saw below-par performance for protection of occupants and vulnerable road users from the Express, with results lowered even further due to a fundamental lack of active safety systems,” she said.


“Safety rating criteria and consumer expectations have evolved, as have manufacturers’ desire and ability to introduce improved levels of safety.


“We know Mitsubishi can deliver vehicles with high levels of overall safety and a wide range of modern safety technologies and we encourage them to accelerate the introduction of these features into their van product.”


Mitsubishi Motors Australia Limited (MMAL) has defended the results however, citing the Express was designed in accordance with the 2015 Euro NCAP protocols, just like the Renault Trafic on which it is based.


“There has been significant movement in the application of driver assistance technologies since that time, which has been reflected in the new NCAP protocols against which this van has been tested,” an MMAL spokesperson said.


“The Express meets all Australian Design Rules (ADR) standards for vans, and the results of the crash testing by ANCAP indicates a good level of adult occupant protection overall.


“Compared to competitor peers of a similar age, the vehicle holds a competitive position in terms of NCAP rating.”


When the current-generation Trafic was tested in Europe back in 2015, it was award a three-star safety rating with MMAL citing the donor vehicle is deep into its lifecycle.


It would seem the brand is not alone in condemning the test results with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) weighing in and questioning ANCAP’s motive for re-testing vehicles in Australia.


According to FCAI chief executive Tony Weber, more needs to be done to ensure greater consistency between ANCAP and Euro NCAP testing with situations like this likely to prove confusing for consumers.


“Euro NCAP and ANCAP claim they are effectively harmonised, however, this is not reflected in ANCAP’s actions,” he said.


“Alignment with global standards is the best way of ensuring Australians can have the highest vehicle design standards at the lowest possible prices.


“Why is ANCAP spending potentially up to $500,000, which includes taxpayer dollars, to undertake a test on a six-year-old vehicle that has already been assessed by its sister organisation Euro NCAP in 2015?”


“The Australian vehicle buyer will understandably be confused at the two different ratings for essentially the same vehicle. It serves no purpose for the customer and it serves no purpose to the industry.”


As previously reported by GoAuto, ANCAP aligned its testing protocols with Euro NCAP testing procedures and protocols back in 2018 with the latest round of standards coming into effect as of June last year.

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