Nissan’s self-proclaimed ‘king of African pick-ups’, known as the NP300 Hardbody, has posted a shocking zero-star safety score, after testing by Global NCAP as part of an initiative to improve road safety in South Africa.
The secretary general of Global NCAP, David Ward, was scathing in his assessment, declaring the zero star score for the Nissan NP300 as “shockingly bad”.
“The NP300 Hardbody is ridiculously misnamed as its body shell has collapsed,” he said in a statement. “Nissan also claim the car benefits from a so called ‘safety shield’, but this is grossly misleading. Our test shows that the occupant compartment completely fails to absorb the energy of the crash resulting in a high risk of fatality or serious injury.”
The vehicle in question is based on the previous generation D22 pick-up that was sold here as a Nissan Navara between 1998 and 2014. A D22 4x2 cab-chassis tested by Australian NCAP in 2008 scored three stars.
The current model in Australia is known as the D23 Navara, and has been awarded a five-star ANCAP rating.
Concerns over South Africa’s incredibly high road toll has pushed the country’s Automobile Association to take action, targeting entry-level models from Hyundai, Kia and Toyota.
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More than 14,000 people died on South African roads in 2017, compared to 1224 in Australia for the same period. There are 56 million people in South Africa.
As the frightening video shows, the NP300 Hardbody ute – colloquially known as a ‘bakkie’ in South Africa – comprehensively failed to prevent life-threatening injures to the front-seat occupants.
The car’s cabin was branded as ‘unstable’ after it collapsed after impacting an offset crash barrier at 64km/h, while the supposedly collapsible steering column also failed, inflicting severe ‘injuries’ to the dummy’s head and chest.
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The crash test data concluded that there was a “high probability” of life-threatening injuries to front-seat passengers.
“It is astonishing that a global company like Nissan can produce a car today as poorly engineered as this,” said Mr Ward.
A car company is only required to build cars to the standards and laws required by each market they trade in – but companies often build down to a price, rather than up to highest safety standards, in markets with more lax safety laws.
India’s government, for example, enacted federal laws compelling car companies to install basics safety device like airbags only this year, in response to a road toll that kills 40 people a day.