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Holden improves Barina's safety

Upgraded: Revised MY09 Barina adds standard side airbags, seatbelt reminders and a stronger B-pillar - but still no standard ABS.

Holden baby redeems itself by lifting its crash safety rating from two stars to four

6 Nov 2008

HOLDEN’S upgraded 2009 model year Barina hatch has been awarded a four-star crash safety rating under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) – a significant improvement on the sub-standard two-star result that attracted widespread criticism of its predecessor in 2006.

The TK Barina three-door’s solid four-star result from Australia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate, which matches the ANCAP rating achieved by the previous-generation European-sourced Opel Corsa-based XC Barina in 2001, follows the fitment of front head/thorax-protecting side-impact airbags across the range as standard from September.

In the same month, three and five-door versions of the T200-series Daewoo Kalos-based Barina (which replaced the XC here in December 2005) also became available with new sheetmetal from the A-pillars forward, a new dashboard, a seatbelt reminder warning system and what Holden described as structural improvements – including a reinforced B-pillar.

The move brought hatchback versions of the Barina into line with the newer T250-series Barina sedan, which is sold in other countries as the Chevrolet Aveo and was launched here as Holden’s first four-door Barina in February 2006.

So while the latest four-star ANCAP result applies specifically to the Barina three-door tested, there is no reason to believe the similarly-specified four-door and five-door iterations do not offer the same level of occupant protection.

13 center imageBut while the four-airbag Barina’s four-star result matches that of many of its light-car segment rivals (but not the Toyota Yaris and Mazda2, which are five-star cars), Holden’s smallest model remains one of the last remaining light-segment cars not to come with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) as standard across the range.

ABS remains a $1190 option for all Barinas, as part of pack that also includes alloy wheels.

“We are pleased to see a much better safety result for the Barina following the latest ANCAP tests,” said ANCAP chair Lauchlan McIntosh.

“We believe that the previous two-star result affected their market sales. Holden has been keen to improve the Barina’s safety performance and ANCAP representatives met with the car's designers in Korea earlier this year. Holden has put effort into improving the passenger compartment’s structure and reducing the risk of knee injury.

“The company has also made head-protecting side airbags standard and added a driver seat belt reminder. These improvements have contributed to the Barina three-door hatch reaching a four-star rating.” General Motors’ Korean-built Barina/Aveo is sold in 120 countries globally and the Barina has been a Holden model nameplate since 1985, when the MB Barina was released.

Holden has sold more than 34,000 examples of the current Daewoo-designed TK version since late 2005, but sales were down 19 per cent in October. With 9259 sales to October this year, Barina’s market performance is 13 per cent down year-on-year.

Toyota’s top-selling Yaris remains the light-car leader in terms of popularity with 21,764 sales so far this year, which is down 12.6 per cent but still more than double the Barina’s tally, while Hyundai’s Getz is next best at 14,206 (down 17.4 per cent), followed by the new Mazda2 (13,252 – up 95.2 per cent), Suzuki’s Swift (11,173 – down 1.3 per cent) and the Barina in fifth.

“There has been a very positive response to the new Barina’s styling and this announcement confirms the effectiveness of our various safety improvements,” said GM Holden executive director of sales, marketing and aftersales, Alan Batey.

In other ANCAP news, Toyota’s mid-sized Kluger SUV scored a five-star crash test result last month, while Euro NCAP today announced it will follow ANCAP’s lead by making electronic stability control (ESC) a prerequisite to achieving a maximum five-star crash test rating from 2009 “There is no doubt that this new overall rating will provide clear challenges to industry, but at the same time it will create opportunities for manufacturers to be rewarded for their dedication to safety,” said Dr Michiel Van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary-general.

“Euro NCAP needs to continually evolve with innovation and ensure that consumers can be confident that the rating remains updated and a true reflection of the safety performance of their vehicles.”

Read more:

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