The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has questioned the Australasian New Car Assessment Program's (ANCAP) motive for re-testing older vehicles in Australia.
The FCAI raised concerns after ANCAP today announced it had assessed the 2021 Mitsubishi Express commercial van and given it a zero-star rating. This is despite the fact its ‘sister’ vehicle, the Renault Trafic with which it practically shares everything but a badge, went on sale in Europe in 2015 with a three-star Euro NCAP rating.
“Euro NCAP and ANCAP claim they are effectively harmonised, however, this is not reflected in ANCAP’s actions,” said FCAI chief executive Tony Weber.
“Why is ANCAP spending potentially up to $500,000, which includes taxpayer dollars, to undertake a test on a six-year-old vehicle that has already been assessed by its sister organisation Euro NCAP in 2015?”
“It makes no sense, can send a confused message to Australian car buyers and is not the best use of taxpayer funds,” Weber said.
On announcing the Express’s zero-star rating, the first zero-star result since ANCAP began independently testing cars in 1993, its chief executive Carla Hoorweg said the Express’s specifications do not align with today’s safety expectations.
She explained that while ANCAP often awards ratings solely based on EuroNCAP scores, the Trafic commercial van remained unrated in Australia as the European three-star result applied specifically to mini-van versions only.
And even if the Renault Trafic van earned three stars here, ANCAP does not carry over vehicle ratings across brands if the new vehicle is released in a calendar year more than two years after the date stamp of the original assessment.
“The ANCAP rating system has evolved to move the industry forward, and with the Mitsubishi Express being newly released into the Australasian market just last year, it has been assessed against our current [2020-2022] criteria," Hoorweg said.
But Weber suggested Australian vehicle buyers will be understandably confused at the two different ratings for essentially the same vehicle.
“Rather than seeking a headline, ANCAP would better serve the Australian public by seeking a harmonised adoption of the test and measurement protocols as well as consumer messaging. This ensures consistency and clarity for everyone concerned,” he said.
“Alignment with global standards is the best way of ensuring Australians can have the highest vehicle design standards at the lowest possible prices.”