Best in class cars revealed by EuroNCAP
01 February 2012
Euro NCAP’s ratings reflect the progress being made by manufacturers, highlighting cars designed to exceed consumer expectations on safety and those that fall short.
Last year, Euro NCAP published the results for 53 new car models available on the European market, among which were the first commercially available electric vehicles. Eleven cars achieved four stars whilst Euro NCAP’s poorest result was achieved by Dacia Duster with three stars. To be selected the safest cars in their categories the following vehicles achieved a five star rating and showed good scores in each of Euro NCAP’s four areas of assessment.
The top achievers per category are:
• Small off-road 4×4 category: Audi Q3
• Supermini category: Chevrolet Aveo
• Small Family category: Ford Focus
• Small MPV category: Mercedes B Class
• Large Family category: Volvo V60
The runners-up in each category are the Chevrolet Malibu, Mercedes M Class, Toyota Yaris, Lexus CT200h, Opel Zafira Tourer, Hyundai ix20, and BMW X1.
Special mention should be made of the Ford Ranger, the only pickup tested by Euro NCAP in 2011. The Ranger is the safest pickup yet tested by the organisation and scored highly in all areas of assessment, most notably in pedestrian protection.
With electric cars hitting Europe's roads this year, the organization released the results of four EVs. Plug-in vehicles are exposed to the same test conditions as their gasoline counterparts, while special attention is paid to battery integrity after a crash. The Nissan Leaf was the first of its kind to achieve Euro NCAP 5 star overall rating, placing itself amongst this year’s best small family cars.
Euro NCAP rewarded several car makers for their advanced safety features not yet included in the rating scheme. The Ford Focus, offered with optional Active City Stop, Driver Alert Forward Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, made headlines as the first high volume car receiving four rewards.
Top achievers Mercedes B Class and Volvo V60 also were rewarded for Collision Prevention Assist and City Safety respectively, both are Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems (AEB).
Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general said: “With Euro NCAP Advanced, we have already recognized a number of technologies offering safety benefits to consumers. The safety case for AEB systems is very strong and we are therefore strongly encouraging manufacturers to increase the availability of such systems on new cars. We are well underway to add the assessment of these systems to the overall rating and to make these systems a requirement for five stars in the future.”
In 2012, Euro NCAP introduces stricter standards by increasing the minimum score in the pedestrian assessment from 40% to 60%, reflecting the stepwise improvements introduced by automakers of the last years in this field. While a number of carmakers have already demonstrated that cars can be engineered to pass the new limit, the increased demands will challenge others to improve the safety for vulnerable road users.
Commercial vehicle registrations up 7.5% in Dec
31 January 2012
In December, new commercial vehicle registrations in the EU amounted to 166,739 units, or 7.5% more than in the same month of 2010.
Registrations grew in France (+2.5%), the UK (+13.4%) and Germany (+16.3%), while results were negative in Italy (-0.8%) and Spain (-14.2%). Over the year 2011, a total of 1,935,392 new vehicles were registered. This is 9.9% more than in 2010 but still about one-fifth below pre-crisis levels when annual volumes averaged 2.5 million units. In 2011, France remained the largest market, with 482,823 new vehicles and an expansion of 5.6%. Germany registered 334,822 units, a growth of 18.7%, followed by the UK (+17.6%) with 306,488 new vehicles. The Italian (-3.4) and the Spanish markets (-6.6%) contracted.
In December, registrations of new vans grew by 5.4% in the EU. While growth prevailed in France (+1.6%), the UK (+7.8%) and Germany (+22.6%), Italy (-14.4%) and Spain (-15.7%) faced a double-digit downturn. In total, 136,404 new vans were recorded in the month. From January to December, the EU recorded1,586,255 new vans, or 7.0% more than in 2010. Results were different across markets as France (+2.7%), the UK (+16.7%) and Germany (+18.8%) performed better, while Italy (-6.1%) and Spain (-10.1%) declined.
Heavy trucks recorded the highest increase across segments (+20.8%), with 19,482 new units in the EU*. Spain (-4.1%) was the only major market to shrink. Elsewhere, results were positive, ranging from +0.6% in Germany to +11.0% in France and +39.0% in the UK. Over twelve months, all significant markets experienced growth. Spain saw demand for heavy trucks increase by 20.6%, while growth was 23.3% in Germany, 41.5% in France and 42.5% in the UK. Overall, the EU* recorded 236,512 new heavy trucks in 2011, which is 36.0% more than in the previous year.
December results in the truck segment showed a 20.5% upturn in the EU which recorded 26,846 units. Looking at the most significant markets, Spain (-3.5%) was the only one to contract, while Germany remained stable (+0.9%) and France (+13.2%) and the UK (+46.3%) posted double-digit growths. From January to December, growth prevailed across major markets, leading to an overall 29.0% upturn. Demand for new trucks rose by 19.8% in Germany, 19.9% in Spain, 31.3% in the UK and 37.7% in France. A total amount of 315,447 vehicles was recorded in the EU.
Toyota withdraws from UK panel van market
26 January 2012
With no Euro 5-compliant diesel available for the Hiace, Toyota has dropped it from the 2012 UK light commercial vehicle line-up, leaving the Japanese manufacturer bereft of a panel van offering. And there are no plans to re-introduce Hiace at a later date.
VW up! 5-door
26 January 2012
Volkswagen has unveiled a more practical, five-door version of its up! city car
BMW M diesels
26 January 2012
BMW officially reveals diesel-powered M models, including an M550d capable of 44.8mpg