Toyota Etios achieved four stars for adult protection in crash tests. File picture: Global NCAP.
Johannesburg - The Automobile Association of South Africa is pushing for the safety ratings of vehicles to be displayed on models in showrooms to educate consumers.

AA public relations managaer Layton Beard also confirmed on Monday that the relationship established with Global NCAP, which resulted in the launch in November of #SaferCarsforAfrica was continuing. It culminated in the first independent crash-test assessment of five of South Africa’s most popular compact and small cars.

Beard said the AA and Global NCAP were in discussions at present and were looking at doing another round of vehicle testing in 2018 and possibly also in 2019.

The decision about which vehicles to test was made by Global NCAP, with the AA presenting them with a list of the best-selling vehicles in the country and recommending which vehicles they believed should be tested.

Marketing tool 

He said the AA wanted safety stickers to be displayed on all vehicles, similar to what was happening in the United States. The AA had already had a meeting with members of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA technical committee over this issue, he added.

“We obviously want to get their buy-in for safer vehicles," he said. "We want it to be voluntary and manufacturers taking this forward themselves.

“We also recognise it’s a great marketing tool for manufacturers to have a safety rating on their vehicles, especially in certain classes where a consumer would look at a specific vehicle and compare that to another vehicle and say this one is maybe the same price, but is rated higher in safety."

Beard said the AA initiative with Global NCAP applied not only in South Africa, but to Africa to prevent unsafe vehicles being dumped on markets on the continent.

Star ratings

The safety-assessment tests conducted in 2017 included the VW Polo Vivo, Datsun Go+, Toyota Etios, Renault Sandero and Chery QQ3.

The Toyota Etios achieved a four-star rating for adult occupant protection in the frontal crash test at 64km/h ; the Renault Sandero and Volkswagen Polo Vivo a three-star rating; the Datsun GO+ a one-star rating; and the Chery QQ3, which is no longer available on the South African market, a zero-star rating for its poor adult occupant protection, particularly for the driver’s head and chest.

Naamsa director Nico Vermeulen said the NCAP safety ratings worldwide were a voluntary marketing tool and Naamsa’s position was that it was up to individual companies to decide whether and to what extent they wanted to make use of the NCAP ratings.

“But quite frankly consumers do not pay any attention to it, certainly in our experience," he said. "We go to all the trouble of putting these stickers on the cars, but the consumers buy the car for other reasons and don’t even look at it,” he said.

However, Vermeulen stressed that all Naamsa members were committed to improving safety in motor vehicles and road safety.

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