Imagine that a consumer – concerned about vehicle safety – decides to buy a Renault Duster. He belongs to the reduced group not to think that “accidents only happen to others”.
Then consult the evaluation table of Latin NCAP, a Uruguayan entity that classifies cars according to the protection they offer to passengers. And go ahead with the purchase of Duster which has four out of five possible stars. And three in specific protection for children. Renault’s SUV is therefore among the safest on the market.
The next day, the neighbor sees him in his new car and comments: “Don’t you worry about safety? Duster took a bomb in the Latin NCAP test and didn’t earn any stars in the rating. It is among the worst on the market in this regard!”
The ex-happy owner doesn’t understand anything: after all, is Duster safe or not? Does it or does it not have the four stars that convinced me to buy it yesterday?
Renault’s car is one more to suffer from the consequences of the Latin NCAP, which tested it in 2019 and actually classified it with 4 stars.
Charging more security is essential
However, in 2020, the Uruguayan entity “raised the ruler” and increased the requirements. She is correct and the decision is indisputable. Cars should even offer increased safety for passengers. It has to be supported in this light.
But, inexplicably, Latin NCAP retests the same Duster, applying the requirements of the new protocol. An irresponsible posture, as he knows that no factory is in a position to introduce complex changes in twelve months.
Any requirement made to car manufacturers and involving new design, new technologies and processes, grants a reasonable period that can vary from 3 to 6 years.
This is how it is when the government requires safety equipment such as ABS, airbags or ESP (stability control) or any other that requires structural, design, electronic and mechanical system changes.
Emission reduction plans (Proconve) or Inovar Auto (efficiency) are also established years before the requirement comes into effect. And after exhausting meetings between the government, manufacturers, suppliers, associations and analyzing the characteristics of each market, the driver, society, highways, maintenance, etc.
Latin NCAP still has the knack of “clarifying” that the result of a test with new protocols is registered with stars of another color, as if the consumer noticed such subtlety.
After all, is Duster really insecure?
In addition to complying (of course) with all legal requirements, it goes even further by offering electronic stability control (ESP), blind spot alert, multiview camera and more.
The reliability of the Latin NCAP tests is not in question here, but rather its lack of discretion in testing the same car twice without allowing a reasonable time for the factory to adapt it to the new protocols. It is obvious that if the car is the same but faces a higher standard of demand, the stars are gone. In this light, nothing justifies his stance.
Different in USA and Europe
What makes no sense and confuses the market is, overnight, the same model plummeting from four stars to zero. In Europe and the US, Latin NCAP correspondent entities do not “throw against the wall” the same car right after the protocols change.
We are not defense attorneys for any assembler, on the contrary, but there are other aberrations practiced by Latin NCAP, which harm them and irresponsibly confuse the consumer.
It publishes in Brazil test results of models sold in other countries in South America and with legislation different from ours.
The Ford Ranger in Colombia bombed, where two airbags are not mandatory. The same with the Kia Picanto, without clarifying that the car was not the same one sold in Brazil. The new Hyundai HB20 also lost inexplicable stars in Latin NCAP tests applied to two similar models.
Independent membership is important
It is important to have an independent entity to assess and publicize the level of protection for passengers in each car. And also to gradually increase these requirements.
What is questioned is accusing any manufacturer of omission in vehicle safety from the change of test protocols without granting a minimum period to adapt their models.
The omission, in this case, belongs to Anfavea (association of assemblers), the Brazilian government and non-governmental bodies that should establish criteria to avoid arbitrariness of foreign entities uncommitted to the reality of our market, which harm our companies and confuse our consumer.