Faced with a competitive market-place and rapidly-changing consumer preferences, more and more manufacturers are choosing to extend the lifetimes of their models, often introducing only minor facelifts along the way to boost sales. To allow consumer to make a fair comparison to new models, Euro NCAP has updated the ratings on several of recently facelifted cars. Apart from the Toyota Yaris
, that could keep its five-star rating, most of these cars have dropped to three stars in this year’s safety tests. The list includes the Toyota Aygo
(four stars with optional safety equipment), the Alfa Romeo Giulietta
, Ford’s C-MAX
and Grand C-MAX
, the Opel Karl
and the DS 3
. The most extreme example, however, is the FIAT Punto
, which has been on sale since 2005 but is still a strong seller in Italy. The aging supermini is outclassed by every car tested in recent history and becomes Euro NCAP’s first car ever to be awarded zero stars.
Euro NCAP Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, said, “We have seen a lot of good cars in 2017, able to meet Euro NCAP’s 5-star requirements. Superminis like the new Polo, the Fiesta and the Ibiza now come with advanced safety technology as standard, offering the best in crash avoidance and crash protection. The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind, as these results clearly show.”
Euro NCAP’s rating scheme requires cars to score a minimum number of points in all four areas of assessment to qualify for even one star. In areas like adult and child occupant safety and pedestrian protection, the Punto still performs well enough to qualify for at least two stars. It is let down in driver assistance and crash avoidance: with only a seatbelt reminder system for the driver as standard, no points were scored in this part of the assessment.
Michiel van Ratingen, “This is perhaps the strongest example of a manufacturer continuing to sell a product that is well past its best-before date, at the expense of the unsuspecting car buyer. We would urge consumers to check our website for the latest ratings and to choose cars with the most up-to-date five-star ratings, many examples of which we have seen in 2017.”
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