Encouraging a market for safer vehicles
Many consumers know that automobile safety standards differ from market to market, especially in a developing market like Latin America or Southeast Asia when compared to Europe and North America.
But not many know that there is a non-profit organization called the Asean NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) that conducts crash tests on motor vehicles produced for the Asean market, and then rates them in terms of Adult Occupation Protection (AOP), Child Occupant Protection (COP), and Safety Assist.
A new addition to the eight NCAP organizations around the world, Asean NCAP was established in December 2011 to elevate motor vehicle safety standards in the Asean community, raise consumer awareness, and thus encourage a market for safer vehicles.
Asean NCAP is headquartered at the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS), which houses the first full scale crash test laboratory in the country.
Asean NCAP is a joint project of MIROS and Global NCAP, which funded its pilot phase, and is also supported by the Automobile Associations of Malaysia (AAM), the Philippines (AAP), Singapore (AA Singapore), Cambodia (AAC), and Thailand (RAAT).
It is the fourth NCAP in Asia after Japan, South Korea and China.
Asean NCAP receives technical support from Euro NCAP, Australasian NCAP, and Latin NCAP, while Korean NCAP provides and shares test facilities.
The first phase in 2012 harmonized Euro NCAP and Latin NCAP protocols including the front crash test, while the second phase (May-August 2013) introduced additional requirements of the UN R95 side impact test and Safety Assist (electronic stability control and frontal seatbelt reminder) fitment.
At the 3rd Asean Automobile Safety Forum (ASSF) in Bandung, Indonesia in 2015, the Asean NCAP Technical Committee released to car manufacturers its Rating Road Map 2017-2020 implementing a single rating system comprising three main domains: AOP (50 percent), COP (25 percent), and Safety Assist ((25 percent).
More recently, the child restraint system (CRS) was given a bigger role in the ratings with 25 percent of the total points to make sure that children are well protected in cars.
Although at present the market for CRS is small in Asean, growth is expected in the next few years.
ASSF in Makati
Two weeks ago, the 7th ASSF was held in Makati City, co-organized by Asean NCAP and the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), an Asean NCAP Steering Committee member and one of its key partners in road safety.
With the theme “Safer Car Consumerism,” the 7th AASF aimed to promote vehicle safety awareness among Philippine consumers and how they have the power to demand for safer vehicles in the market.
Asean NCAP and AAP invited not only vehicle manufacturers like Toyota and Hyundai and suppliers like Bosch to give a presentation, but also the Department of Transportation, the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group, the Thai-German Graduate School of Engineering, and University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies.
Automobile Association Malaysia chairman and Asean NCAP Steering Committee and MIROS board member Tunku Datuk Mudzaffar bin Tunku Mustapha said in his welcome remarks: ”
The Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research as Asean Road Safety Center and Asean NCAP are keen in promoting vehicle safety in the Asean region.
“This forum is an innovative avenue to reach out to the road users, vehicle consumers, road safety advocates, and many others.
“With this action, we aspire that together we will be able to meet the target set by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal—that is to halve the number of road deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.”
AAP board member and treasurer Joe Ferreria welcomed the forum participants in lieu of AAP president Gus Lagman who was out of the country.
He said: “We are proud to host this year’s automobile safety forum with the theme ‘Safe Car Consumerism.’
“We need to educate and engage consumers so that they would evaluate a new car’s safety features before purchasing it.
“Through the Asean NCAP, we can and will encourage—if not challenge—car manufacturers to build motor vehicles for the Asean market that meet world-class safety standards, not only minimal safety standards.”
Asean NCAP is aware that the unequal growth among Asean countries will affect the implementation of additional safety assist technology in the region, and that manufacturers who apply standard safety equipment for all variants will gain the most advantage.
However, there are also points for those who are willing to promote their safety equipment as options.
The forum concluded with the release of the 2016 ASEAN NCAP results.
The ASEAN NCAP Stars
In the results of the 2016 ASEAN NCAP Q1 to Q3, the Nissan X-Trail and the Perodua Bezza each earned 5 stars in AOP while the Toyota Innova, Honda BR-V, Nissan Navara, Suzuki Ertiga, Suzuki Ciaz and Proton Saga each got 4 stars in AOP.
The Innova variant equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) got a 5 star AOP rating, ditto the BR-V variant fitted with ESC and dual seatbelt reminder.
In COP, the Innova, BR-V, X-Trail and Bezza each earned 4 stars while the Navara, Ertiga, and Ciaz scored 2 stars.
All of the above passed the side impact (UN R95) test.
The Kia Morning (also known as the Picanto) and the Hyundai Eon, both without an airbag, rated zero star in AOP and 1 star in COP. They were not subjected to the side impact test.
At the Thailand International Motor Show Expo 2014 in Bangkok, the Nissan Teana received the ASEAN NCAP Safest Car Award after obtaining a perfect score of 16.00 points over 16 for a 5-star rating in AOP and also earned 5 stars in COP assessment with 88 percent compliance.