Carmakers looking to lock in a five-star safety score ahead of significantly stricter requirements are racing to book cars in for crash testing before 2018.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (Ancap) will adopt tougher rules next year that will make it significantly harder to win full marks from the independent crash body.
The updated safety regime mirrors changes to the EuroNcap test scheme, putting the crash bodies on an even footing that eliminates differences between the two.
Testers will place more emphasis on crash-avoidance technology such as autonomous emergency braking, and cars will go through a new full-frontal crash assessment that builds on the current offset arrangement. A vehicle's ability to protect children will also be called into question.
While car companies are reluctant to admit it, experience with the existing crash scheme makes it easier to design cars to be successful in standardised testing.
Acknowledging buyers are currently spoiled for choice by a range of vehicles with five-star ratings, Ancap chief executive James Goodwin says the current scheme still has the potential to surprise. A remarkably low rating due to be released in the near future "could shock the industry", he said.
Ancap is Australasia's leading independent vehicle safety advocate. Ancap provides consumers with transparent advice and information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided by different vehicle models in the most common types of crashes, as well as their ability - through technology - to avoid a crash. Since 1993, Ancap has published crash test results for over 590 passenger and light commercial vehicles sold in Australia and New Zealand. Vehicles are awarded an Ancap safety rating of between 1 to 5 stars indicating the level of safety they provide in the event of a crash. The more stars, the better the vehicle performed in Ancap tests.
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