New Zero star Latin NCAP ratings for popular car models released

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The Suzuki Swift received a zero star rating in the latest Latin NCAP tests.
The Suzuki Swift received a zero star rating in the latest Latin NCAP tests.
Watch the zero star Renault Duster and the Suzuki Swift undergo Latin NCAP testing.

Two popular car models, the Renault Duster and the Suzuki Swift, have received zero star safety ratings following devastating crash test results published by Latin America’s New Car Assessment Programme (Latin NCAP). The independent consumer crash test initiative is supported by the FIA Foundation.

The Renault Duster, produced in Latin America and Romania, with double airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard, achieved zero stars under Latin NCAP’s latest protocol. The New Duster for Latin America does not offer side body and side head protection airbags as standard like the model sold in Europe under Dacia brand. In the frontal impact the model showed unstable structure performance and a fuel leakage. A side impact test showed high intrusion of the B-pillar and an open door during the test. Door opening in the Latin NCAP side impact test, which has the same configuration as the United Nations Regulation UN95, means that the car would have failed the UN95 test. The fuel leak recorded in the frontal crash test needs further action from Renault, not just to solve the problem in production but to recall all the units sold in the market that potentially have this fuel tank issue in a crash. In the same way the door opening in the side impact requires immediate action by Renault as it poses a serious risks of ejection in the case of side impacts.

The Suzuki Swift, made in India and Japan with two airbags as standard, achieved zero stars. The popular compact car achieved 15.53% in Adult Occupant box, 0% in Child Occupant box, 66.07% in Pedestrian Protection and Vulnerable Road Users box and 6.98% in Safety Assist box. The result is valid for the hatchback and sedan versions.

The zero stars result is explained by the poor side impact protection and an open door during the test, low whiplash score for rear impact test, lack of standard side head protection airbags, lack of standard ESC and the decision of Suzuki to not recommend CRS for the test. This model would not pass Regulation UN95 requirements due to door opening. The Swift is sold in Europe with 6 airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard, while the model in Latin America is not offered with side body and head airbags and ESC as standard. The Latin American version of the Swift still offers as standard a lap belt in the rear centre seating position despite the well-known high injuries risks of its use.

Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Latin NCAP, said: “It is disappointing and upsetting such poor safety performances offered by Renault and Suzuki to Latin American consumers. Latin NCAP calls and encourages Renault and Suzuki to dramatically improve these models standard safety very soon. Latin American consumers are forced to pay more than the basic price to get to the same safety specs that Renault/Dacia and Suzuki offer as standard in markets like Europe and in some cases they are not even available in Latin America and the Caribbean. Basic vehicle safety, which is standard in mature economies markets, is a right that Latin American consumers should claim without having to pay extra for them. These safety features act like vaccines for one of the most severe pandemics like road traffic injuries and fatalities. Consumers have the right to receive the same vaccine supplied anywhere else without having to pay more for it”.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “The latest Latin NCAP test results are deeply concerning. Why, in 2021, despite all their warm words about safety and social responsibility, are car makers still offering sub-standard products and treating consumers in Latin America as second class citizens? It is disgraceful and must stop. We support Latin NCAP’s demand for a recall of the Renault Duster andurge motor executives to examine their consciences. Would they let their families travel in these vehicles?”

Stephan Brodziak, Latin NCAP Chairman, said: “Sadly, we see very bad results for two vehicles that are highly marketed in our region. Once again we see betrayed the trust that consumers place in certain manufacturers. It is very discriminating that, after more than 10 years of evaluating the safety performance of vehicles marketed in Latin America and the Caribbean, we continue to see 0-star cars. In terms of vehicle safety, we are still treated as second-class citizens just so that some manufacturers can save money on vehicle production. The money these manufacturers save translates into fatalities and serious injuries that impact families and the economy of our region. Latin America doesn't deserve more 0-star cars, enough of low-safety cars”.