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Chinese cars still yet to earn five-star safety

By Ryan Lewis, 25 May 2016 News

Chinese cars still yet to earn five-star safety

ANCAP says Haval H9 needs structural improvements and construction changes

A Chinese-built vehicle is still yet to earn ANCAP’s highest rating for crash safety.

Chinese SUV manufacturer Haval is “very surprised” today after its flagship vehicle failed to achieve ANCAP’s five-star crash safety rating. ANCAP awarded the Haval H9 SUV a four-star score of 30.65 points out of 37.

Haval, a subsidiary of Great Wall, is one of the newest brands to enter the Australian market. It is China’s leading manufacturer of SUVs and sells three models locally; the H2, H8 and H9.

The H9 seven-seater is its largest vehicle, and was found lacking in ANCAP’s frontal offset forward collision test. It scored a single point out of a possible four for lower leg protection. ANCAP also notes a “slight risk of serious chest injury for the driver” in the H9’s technical report.

“Our engineers have been working very hard to deliver a five-star safety rating and all our testing indicated that we would achieve this result. The results of the ANCAP test were clearly unexpected,” said company spokesman Andrew Ellis.

“We have to go back and look at everything we’ve done,” said Ellis. “The data from the test is with the head of R&D, it’s on his desk. We’ve taken it to the top person we can.”

Haval intends to retest the H9 as soon as possible but it’s not clear how soon that will be.

“Our engineers are looking at the model cycle plan for when things are going to happen,” said Ellis. “It’s going to depend on ANCAP protocols. There will have to be some extra safety features added in to qualify for a testing by ANCAP.”

Haval -H9-Crash -test -dummyEllis said the company would look to include active safety equipment like lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control in the H9.

But ANCAP responded saying that additional equipment was not necessary.

“[Haval] would have to make structural improvements, change construction and provide evidence in order to qualify for a re-test,” said ANCAP’s spokeswoman Rhianne Robson.

“[H9] didn’t fall down in any other areas. It’s not lacking in technology. If Haval make structural changes and frontal offset tests improve, it will then need to do a pole test and it should be in the realms of five stars.”

Hyundai went through a similar process with its Tucson SUV.

“Tucson underperformed in the same frontal offset test. Hyundai implemented changes, provided evidence then applied for re-testing and achieved five stars,” said Robson

ANCAP’s push for Australian buyers to “accept nothing less” than five-stars puts pressure on Haval to improve its product.

“We’re committed to a five-star rating,” said Ellis.

A four-star score for the H9 is a marked improvement for Chinese-built vehicles, though. Haval’s parent company Great Wall copped a two-star ANCAP rating for its V240 dual-cab ute in 2010.