First five star safety rating awarded by updated Latin NCAP tests

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The Volkswagen Taos has been awarded the first five star rating following updated testing, says the Latin America New Car Assessment Programme (Latin NCAP), while another, the Fiat Argo/Cronos received zero stars for its poor safety provisions, including for pedestrians. The independent consumer crash test initiative is supported by the FIA Foundation.

The five star Volkswagen Taos, produced in Argentina and Mexico, comes with six airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard, and is the first model to achieve five stars under Latin NCAP latest protocols. Latin NCAP tested both Argentinean and Mexican versions and the models both performed extremely well. This first five star model under the latest Latin NCAP protocol shows the potential of local industry to offer state of the art safety to Latin American consumers in the short term.

Disappointingly, another market leader, the Fiat Cronos/Argo, produced in Argentina and Brazil, failed to achieve a single star during testing. The standard model tested had just two frontal airbags, no standard ESC and achieved just 9.91% in its Child Occupant score and 6.98% in the Safety Assist score. Latin NCAP identified that the model had the lowest pedestrian protection score ever rated since the introduction of the assessment in 2020.

Fiat responded to the Latin NCAP results, announcing plans to improve the model and will volunteer for testing to demonstrate the improvements.

Additionally, Latin NCAP performed an audit test on the 2019 Fiat Argo/Cronos model, which originally received a three and four-star rating for adult and child occupants, respectively. Latin NCAP has the right to audit any voluntary test and during new testing the safety rating for the model was downgraded to a zero star rating for adult occupant protection.

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “The latest Latin NCAP results show the best and worst of the vehicle manufacturing industry. The first five star rating with new testing measures shows that safe vehicle design in the region is absolutely achievable and essential, while the zero star rating for the Fiat Argo/Cronos shows how reckless many manufacturers continue to be with Latin American lives. The work of Latin NCAP shines a light on how best practice is achievable and how manufacturers can, and must, prioritise people over profit.”

Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Latin NCAP said: “Taos’ five stars is a milestone in Latin NCAP’s latest protocols and triggers the challenge to all manufacturers to aim for a top star rating. The Taos is a locally made product that offers global standards of safety to its occupants and Vulnerable Road Users. On the other hand, the Cronos/Argo disappointed with a zero stars result but Latin NCAP welcomes and remains expectant towards the commitment to improve the model. Latin NCAP congratulates Volkswagen for this achievement and looks forward to see these protection levels in models on sale soon. At the same time Latin NCAP encourages Fiat to improve the Argos/Cronos as soon as possible. Latin NCAP believes that consumer information known as labelling can dramatically and quickly improve the safety level of cars as a result of a voluntary action.”