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Holden defends two-star Barina sedan crash rating

Twins: Holden's first Barina sedan is based on the Chevrolet Aveo, which itself is a facelifted version of GM Daewoo's Kalos sedan.

Holden hits out at the two-star crash rating achieved by its new Barina sedan's twin

Holden logo27 Feb 2006

By MARTON PETTENDY

HOLDEN has challenged the dismal two-star crash rating achieved in the latest round of Euro NCAP crash tests by GM Daewoo’s Aveo sedan, which is sold as the Chevrolet Aveo in Europe and was launched in Australia two weeks ago as the Barina sedan.

Aveo was singled out by Europe’s leading independent crash test body for having what it describes as "the unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury to the driver's chest.

"As a result, the car's final star was struck through. Although the Aveo scored enough points overall to qualify for three stars, Euro NCAP insists on a minimum level of performance in each of the frontal and side impacts.

"While the Aveo's performance in side impact was good, it did not score enough points in the frontal test to be given a three-star rating," said Euro NCAP.

ENCAP uses a "strike through" to show there was a serious risk of "life threatening" injury to one body region. In Aveo’s case, the driver was found to be at severe risk of injury in a frontal impact test at 64km/h.

But GM Daewoo Auto & Technology has asked for Aveo to be retested by NCAP and Holden says it disagrees with Euro NCAP’s crash test methodology, which it claims is inconsistent with its own crash test results.

"As is the case with all ENCAP tests, regardless of the results achieved, we fundamentally disagree with the test methodology," said GM Holden spokesperson Jason Laird.

Holden also pointed out that, in terms of pedestrian safety, Aveo out-scored many more expensive models in ENCAP’s latest round of testing, the results of which were announced late last Friday.

Of the six cars tested by Euro NCAP, only two achieved the top five-star accolade for occupant protection – despite the recent calls to introduce a new benchmark via a sixth star following the increasing number of cars that have obtained top marks for adult occupant protection in Euro NCAP tests.

But it was Aveo’s two-star result that led Euro NCAP to issue a scathing "wake-up call for the motor industry".

"I am pleased to see that two of the six cars have achieved a maximum five-star rating for adult occupant protection," said Euro NCAP chairman Claes Tingvall. "It is reassuring that more and more car companies are now placing an emphasis on safety and we are happy to recognise their achievements.

"However, we want to encourage the highest levels of safety in all cars and, in that regard, there is still work to be done." Aveo wasn’t the only car to come under Euro NCAP scrutiny, with Kia’s Cerato found to offer a high risk of injury to the driver’s chest in the side impact test.

In contrast, Peugeot’s new 207 joined the growing list of light hatches to be awarded the five-star Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant protection.

And while the new 159 sedan became the first Alfa Romeo to score a five-star adult occupant protection rating, the 156 replacement (due on sale here mid-year) achieved only a one-star result for pedestrian protection.

"I am pleased to see that Alfa Romeo achieved the coveted five-star Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant protection, yet I am disappointed that they have not shown the same commitment to pedestrian protection," said Mr Tingvall.

"There is no reason why cars cannot now provide a high level of protection to all road users." Kia Motors, which takes over Australian distribution of its vehicles from March 1, was unavailable for comment, while Alfa Romeo Australia spokesman Edward Rowe told GoAuto: "Pedestrian safety is an area Alfa Romeo is working hard on and will improve dramatically in coming models".

Aveo is a facelifted version of the Kalos sedan sold here as a Daewoo between April 2003 and December 2004. It’s now available here as Holden’s first Barina sedan - alongside the Barina hatch, which is a Lion-badged version of the five-door Kalos hatch that was also previously sold here as a Daewoo.

Euro NCAP says it was advised that the Daewoo’s three and five-door Kalos will be available until 2008, when it’s expected to be replaced by an Aveo-badged hatch.

"It has been indicated that the facelift includes improvements in safety and Euro NCAP can only conclude that the safety performance of the Kalos will not be as good as the Aveo," said Euro NCAP.

"In any case, as our assessment was made on a saloon car, we can not be sure that the three/five-door car will have the same performance." Aveo’s crash test result is worse than that of the previous-generation Holden Barina, which was built by Opel in Europe and achieved a four-star rating back in 2002.

The new model’s poor showing in ENCAP’s Phase 17+ tests is another blow to Holden’s Korean sourcing policy.

Last May the JD Power and Associates 2005 Initial Quality Study ranked the Suzuki Forenza-branded version of the (Daewoo Lacetti-based) Holden Viva in last place for new-vehicle quality behind 35 other brands sold in the US.

Of the other cars tested, the Suzuki SX4 and Hyundai Tucson all-wheel drive models achieved four stars for occupant testing.

Latest Euro NCAP crash test results:

Alfa Romeo 159
Occupant Protection: 5 stars
Child Protection: 4 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 1 star Kia Cerato
Occupant Protection: 3 stars
Child Protection: 3 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 1 star Chevrolet Aveo
Occupant Protection: 2 stars strike through
Child Protection: 3 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 3 stars Peugeot 207
Occupant Protection: 5 stars
Child Protection: 4 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 3 stars Suzuki SX4
Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Child Protection: 3 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 3 stars Hyundai Tucson
Occupant Protection: 4 stars
Child Protection: 3 stars
Pedestrian Protection: 1 star

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