In the latest Status Report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the institute touches on the subject that safety isn’t a global standard and that some regions lag behind the U.S., Europe, and Australia in protecting people in crashes.
While car buyers in developed countries get the benefit of automakers competing for the highest top crash test safety ratings, developing markets are an entirely different story. Since there aren’t strong government safety regulations in emerging markets, automakers are able to sell vehicles that aren’t as safe as those sold in larger markets. Consumers in those emerging markets may not even realize that their vehicles aren’t as safe as similar models sold in other parts of the world since their countries don’t have crash test programs.
There are groups hoping to make that all change however, including the Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP). Both IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are Global NCAP members in addition to ASEAN NCAP, the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP), the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), Japan New Car Assessment Program (JNCAP), Korean New Car Assessment Program, and Latin NCAP.
The biggest issue is that crash test performance can differ by market, causing a huge discrepancy in the safety of a vehicle that’s sold in an emerging market versus one sold in say, the United States. For example, the Nissan Micra earned a four-star rating in the Euro NCAP’s assessment but the Nissan March, built for the Brazilian market, earned just two stars in the Latin NCAP’s offset front test. Those tests illustrate the difference between two models from the same automaker, but built for different markets.
“Vehicle ratings programs are working worldwide to reduce crash injuries and deaths,” says Adrian Lund, IIHS president. “It’s remarkable how much progress we’ve seen in just the past 20 years. At first, automakers in the U.S. were reluctant to address design issues highlighted in NHTSA’s tests and ours. That changed as consumers started to factor safety into their purchase decisions. Now, manufacturers are quick to make changes in response to tougher crash tests.”