Australia's crash safety body has hit out at Chinese car maker Great Wall for offering "inferior protection for occupants". ANCAP tested Great Wall's V200 ute and found it couldn't match safety offered by five-star rivals. But the test also highlighted a major loophole in ANCAP's crash test regimen.
The ute scored 6.07 points out of 16 during a front impact that put it to the test. By comparison, Ford's five-star Ranger ute scored 15.72 in the same test. The Great Wall scored 0.07 out of 4 and 0 out of 4 for chest and lower leg protection, areas in which some rivals received a perfect score. The safety body said the Chinese ute's passenger compartment "lost structural integrity in the frontal offset crash test" and that steering and dash components could have injured occupants.
At $25,990 in New Zealand for the drive-away in diesel, all-wheel-drive form, the V200 is around considerably cheaper than most rivals. But ANCAP chair Lauchlan McIntosh says cheap imported utes may not be worth the trouble. "Price is of course one of the key factors when it comes to deciding which car to buy, but that shouldn't mean we compromise on safety... There is no reason why light commercial vehicles should be built to lesser standards than passenger cars."
Yet the Great Wall received a satisfactory three-star rating thanks to an ANCAP policy that gives large vehicles a hypothetical perfect score in side impact tests without analysing a vehicle's performance.
ANCAP's crash report for the Great Wall ute says "experience shows that large vehicles like the V200 can be expected to perform well in this test. ANCAP has adopted a policy of awarding these types of vehicles a default score of 16 points out of 16". The Great Wall ute does not have side or curtain airbags to protect occupants in side impact collisions. A lack of safety features coupled with a worrying loss of body integrity in a frontal crash test suggests that the ute may have received a score lower than three stars if truly put to the test.
Great Wall's other ute, the V240, received a similar benefit in 2010 after scoring 2.36 out of 16 in its front crash test and a hypothetical 16 out of 16 in a side impact. The V240 received a two-star score.
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