Euro NCAP is happy to announce that it is now testing ‘pick-up’ vehicles. Today, the organisation releases the results for three vehicles in this new category: the Nissan Navara, the Isuzu D-MAX/Rodeo and the Mitsubishi L200. Euro NCAP’s stringent crash tests reveal that the safety of vehicles in this category is not a high priority for some carmakers.
Pick-ups have traditionally been bought and used for commercial purposes. In recent years, demand for this kind of vehicle has been rising. In 2007, registrations rose in Europe by 7.2% compared to 2006 and in the new Member States this increase was even greater, at 24.7% . Euro NCAP has also noted a trend where manufacturers are upping the level of options and trims available on pick-ups in order to target consumers who may use such cars as family transport, rather than as commercial vehicles. Tax incentives in some countries may be the cause, but whatever the reason Euro NCAP has concerns about the safety of pick-ups. Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP said ‘Euro NCAP must act as a guardian of car safety for consumers – testing these vehicles becomes imperative when we realise they are no longer simply being used for the carriage of goods. Manufacturers must realise we will test all cars that could have an impact on the safety of European consumers’.
Euro NCAP’s concerns were justified: both the Nissan Navara and the Isuzu D-MAX/Rodeo received poor scores in Euro NCAP’s adult occupant rating. This confirms Euro NCAP’s belief that car manufacturers need to boost their efforts in safety testing across their ranges before cars reach production. Through its crash testing, Euro NCAP has also proven its essential role in upping the level of safety of cars on the road. The Navara achieved an extremely poor rating of a one star strikethrough . Nissan consequently has now announced a service campaign with the intention of improving the airbag software of every Navara on the road since the start of production. Euro NCAP is currently assessing the modified car and will release the result as soon as possible. Isuzu D-MAX/Rodeo also received a disappointing two star strikethrough rating in adult occupant protection with an unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury to the chest region.
The best of all the pick-ups tested by Euro NCAP was the Mitsubishi L200, which received a respectable four star result in adult occupant protection. All the vehicles received disappointing child and pedestrian protection scores.