Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Harsh Reality Behind the Glitz

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Harsh Reality Behind the Glitz

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Hughes

An indication of just how far European vehicles have moved forward in terms of safety comes in the guise of latest crash test results from China.

The Chinese showed a new SUV at this month's Frankfurt motor show and it is about to go on sale in the world's most populated country.

Now it has been independently crash tested and the reality behind the motor show glitz is frightening.

Available in Europe at the bargain-basement price of just pounds 10,000 it shows that even when it comes to safety you only get what you pay for.

The vehicle was subjected to an impact equivalent to crashing into a wall at 40mph and the results were catastrophic.

As the vehicle virtually disintegrated upon impact the injuries caused to occupants were horrific. If by any chance they survived they would have been hideously maimed and disfigured.

The front of the vehicle collapsed and one of the road wheels was pushed back into the foot well.

The legs of the crash test dummy were forced up and back against its chest, with the seat belt pulled tight around its neck. The steering wheel was pushed next to the dummy's head and the steering column was dislodged in such a way as to impair the effectiveness of the air bag.

The test was not carried out by any official Chinese safety lobby or motor manufacturer but by the German equivalent of our Automobile Association.

Adrian Hobbs, the general secretary of Euro NCAP, which is the body that carries out all official European crash testing says that one of its inspectors witnessed the test and described the vehicle's performance as appalling.

It coincides with the latest round of Euro NCAP tests in which vehicles such as the Mazda5 MPV gained a maximum five-star safety for the protection of its occupants.

A few years ago even the best of the European models were as bad as this new Chinese offering, which illustrates the dramatic strides that have been taken. …

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