The illusion of safety
Yesterday’s announcement of the 2019 Global NCAP AA South Africa Crash Test results may have been a positive step forward with a three and two four-star results, versus some recent scores that suggested certain new vehicles in this market should be sold with a death certificate. But another unfortunate South African car safety trait has once again raised its ugly head .
It seems common practice for certain local car brands to remove critical safety aspects from the cars they sell and significantly lower that South African model’s perceived safety rating, while never actually admitting to or outlining those critical differences. In this case, the manufacturer even boasts that the car in question lives up to its own high safety standards, when in reality, the vehicle lacks the most critical aspects that made it so safe in other markets.
The Suzuki Ignis is sold with a Safety Pack option in Europe to achieve a 5-star Euro NCAP rating (in picture) and set an expectation that all top-end models are so equipped. Sadly this is not necessarily the case.
On its South African launch a year or two back, Suzuki’s media release proudly claimed that new Ignis boasted, “high safety levels,” and that it, “lives up to Suzuki’s high safety standard thanks to ... an extensive list of active and passive safety features.” So when one considered the Euro NCAP results back then, what would you deduce?
The release indeed goes on to admit that, “Ignis' Active and passive measures include dual SRS airbags in front, door-mounted side impact protection beams, and three-point inertia reel seatbelts front and rear,” and that, "Ignis is fitted with ABS anti-lock brakes, incorporating electronic brake distribution and electronic braking assistance.”
Global NCAP however points out that, “Comparing this car with the same model for Europe, while the South African Ignis has two airbags and ABS as standard, the European version of the car offers as standard: 6 airbags (2 frontal, 2 side body and 2 side curtain airbags) and Electronic Stability Control.” Surprisingly Suzuki’s propaganda conveniently and completely fails to mention that Ignis’ airbag count is four down, never mind that ESP is omitted versus its European kin.
The NCAP report goes on to contradict Suzuki’s claims of a rigid passenger safety cell and slates the company for failing to recommend an adequate Child Restraint System, both aspects that are pretty normal NCAP fare. But that a local car does not offer the same levels of safety as the same 5-star rated model does overseas, is surely is cause for concern?
That especially when a maker claims that the car in question lives up to its own high safety standards, when its most critical safety kit is indeed omitted here? Misleading? I'll leave that to you to decide…
Is it also not high time that local carmakers removing critical safety spec from cars that boast such spec in other markets, be compelled to make it clearly understood, that those items are not included in a local variant of any model?
That would certainly go a long way to remove any grey area that concerns the wellbeing of any car’s occupants in the unfortunate event of an accident... - Michele Lupini