Double standard for vehicle safety in Africa

Global NCAP has released the information of their first Car to Car crash test

Not all cars are built of equal safety standards and the latest information from the Global NCAP Car to Car crash test highlights this. Africa, and in particular South Africa, often gets the cold shoulder in terms of vehicle safety features in cars.

Europe has stringent safety standards that new cars have to pass or they won’t be sold. End of story.

South Africa- not so much the same story. We incorrectly assume that government has some sort of basic safety requirements in place to protect its citizens, it doesn’t.

Several years ago there was an influx of small, cheap cars with zero safety standards. Motoring journalists highlighted this lack of safety that in time led to public outcry. This forced manufacturers to upgrade these vehicles and sell them as standard with a minimum of two airbags and Anti-lock Braking System. Chief culprits in this period were Renault’s Kwid and Datsun’s GO.

The African Nissan NP300 Hardbody was included in the 2018 South Africa NCAP crash testing, the bakkie failed dismally receiving a zero-star safety rating. The vehicle structure collapsed and was found to be unstable during the test, to the effect that the airbags were rendered ineffective.

In a first test of its kind Global NCAP has done a car-to-car crash test, pitting a new African 2019 Nissan NP300 Hardbody against a second-hand European 2015 Nissan Navara NP300 built in Europe. This unique car crash simulates the double-standards applied by Nissan (other manufacturers are guilty too) to vehicle safety in Africa. The damage to the dummy in the African Nissan suggests fatal injuries, the dummy in the second-hand European Nissan would’ve possibly walked away from the crash.

Launched to coincide with this week’s 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Sweden, both of the crashed vehicles will be on public display as part of the ‘People’s Exhibition’ in Stockholm Central Railway Station. Global NCAP is partnering with the Global NGO Alliance for Road Safety in hosting the exhibition. The call to action from the #50by30 themed display will be the adoption of a new target to halve road deaths and serious injuries by 2030 by governments worldwide.

David Ward CEO and President of Global NCAP said,

“This is a very dramatic car to car crash test which uniquely illustrates the double standard in vehicle safety performance between models sold in Europe and those sold in Africa.

“The difference in crashworthiness is extraordinary. The new Nissan Hardbody performs significantly worse than the second-hand Nissan Navara, to the extent that the driver in the new African Nissan would likely have died from their injuries but the driver from the second-hand European Nissan would have walked away.

“A new car in Africa is not necessarily a safer car. Second-hand imported cars from regions with tougher regulatory requirements for safety, and environmental performance, can offer consumers much greater protection.

“Our aim in publishing this crash test result to coincide with the Global Ministerial Conference in Sweden is very clear. As we approach the end of the first UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, and set an agenda for the next ten years, the double standard demonstrated by an auto manufacturer such as Nissan with the NP300 in Africa is utterly unacceptable.”

“Does Nissan believe an African life is worth less than a European life?”

Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation said,

“Does Nissan believe an African life is worth less than a European life? If not, how does the company explain the shocking safety gap between these two vehicles demonstrated by Global NCAP? If we are to meet the 2030 target of halving road deaths we must stamp out this kind of unethical behaviour by some in the car industry.”

Willem Groenewald, CEO of the AA said,

“These results are extremely worrying and point to a major deficiency in the quality of vehicles available in Africa. We have for a long time been concerned that vehicles available in Africa are inferior to those in other markets such as Europe and Asia, and these results seem to confirm that concern.”

“What this car to car crash also demonstrates is a complete disdain for African vehicle consumers and their safety at the expense of profit. It also again highlights the need for stricter regulation of standards and tougher controls in terms of allowing these inferior vehicles on to African roads.”

“On a final note, we endorse David’s sentiments that higher safety-rated second-hand vehicles are a better option than lower-rated new vehicles, especially in light of these poor results which clearly show the devastating impact on families and society of inferior models which are sold in Africa.”

Vehicle safety | South African Nissan NP300 Hardbody | European Nissan Navara NP300 | NCAP | crash testing
Global NCAP results of the Car to Car crash test



images: supplied