In the world of vehicle sales in Australia, safety is often at the forefront of consumers’ minds. However, a recent revelation has shed light on a concerning gap in the safety evaluation process for new vehicles.
Contrary to common belief, it isn’t mandatory for new vehicles sold in Australia to undergo crash testing by the safety authority, ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program). This means that there are several popular models on the market today that have never been assessed locally, leaving consumers potentially unaware of their safety performance.
Adding to the complexity, a new six-year ratings validity period came into effect on January 1, 2023. This change has led to a slew of vehicles losing their safety ratings, prompting concerns about the transparency of safety information available to consumers.
ANCAP has been proactive in addressing these issues, encouraging vehicle manufacturers to submit new or updated models for assessment/re-assessment throughout their lifecycle. They maintain a close dialogue with manufacturers to facilitate safety upgrades and ensure compliance with current criteria.
Several manufacturers have already responded to this call for reassessment, with models like the Isuzu D-Max and MU-X, Mazda BT-50, Toyota Hilux, and Volkswagen Polo undergoing evaluation. ANCAP anticipates further reassessments in the coming year, highlighting the ongoing efforts to improve safety standards.
However, despite these initiatives, there remains a significant number of vehicles without ANCAP ratings or with expired ratings. From popular models like the MG 3 and Mitsubishi ASX to luxury vehicles like the BMW X6 and X7, RAM 1500 and Toyota Land Cruiser. The lack of safety evaluation raises concerns about the transparency and reliability of safety information for consumers.
Even vehicles with ratings from other safety authorities, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US, may not have been assessed by ANCAP.
As consumers navigate the crowded market of vehicle options, it’s crucial for car brands to prioritize safety and transparency. With the evolving landscape of safety standards and assessment protocols, collaboration between manufacturers and safety authorities is essential to ensure that consumers have access to accurate and up-to-date safety information when making purchasing decisions.