By on September 27, 2013

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Automotive startup Qoros Auto Company has an interesting business model. Backed with the manufacturing know how of China’s Chery corporation, and the funds of the Israel Corp. holding company, controlled by the Israeli Ofer family, Qoros is designing cars in Europe to be sold in Europe, but built in China.

 

Of course it’s planning to sell cars in China as well but Qoros is hoping that success in Europe will allow it to be the first Chinese car company to compete well with the Europeans in its home market. Chinese consumers, like many consumers worldwide, do not have the highest regard for the perceived quality of Chinese products. To succeed on the continent, though, Qoros is going to have to overcome the image of Chinese cars in Europe, an image tainted with some of the worst crash test results ever achieved in European testing. A 2010 Landwind CV9 minivan made by Jiangling Motors Corp. got only two stars in Euro NCAP testing. That was actually an improvement over the Landwind X6 SUV whose 2005 crash testing was described by the German lab that performed the tests as “catastrophic.” The video of those catastrophic crash tests  (seen below) was widely circulated. It appears that Qoros must have done their homework because earlier this week the compact Qoros Sedan 3 earned a five-star crash test score from Euro NCAP, the highest possible score.

“The small family car showed good overall protection with high scores in all four areas of assessment and is a significant step up from previous Chinese exports,” Euro NCAP said.

Roger Malkusson, who is in charge of vehicle development for Qoros, said the score would help the auto maker distinguish itself from Chinese rivals when the Sedan 3, Qoros’ first model, goes on sale in a few weeks.

“It is important for us to show we are different,” Mr. Malkusson said in a phone interview with the Wall Street Journal. “We want to show that we are a high-quality brand…that we are really unique.”

Joining Mr. Malkussan, who came from the currently defunct Saab Automobile AB, at Qoros is Gerd Volker Hildebrand, who helped launch the Mini brand for BMW AG. They’ve hired veterans of Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen to fill out their executive ranks, and they’ve chosen respected European suppliers like Magna Steyr and AVL, both based in Austria, to provide components.

The Qoros Sedan 3 is being assembled at a completely new factory near the Shanghai coast and it will initially go on sale in China and in Eastern Europe before expanding into the rest of the EU. The Sedan 3 is planned to be the first of seven all new vehicles to be made by Qoros, and it is expected to be priced at around €20,000 ($26,946) in Europe.

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16 Comments on “China’s Qoros Earns 5-Star Crash Rating in Euro NCAP Testing...”


  • avatar
    friedclams

    Seems like unusually thin sheet metal in the Qoros, look how the roof ripples at the point of impact. I realize that this does not signify safety or lack thereof.

    At $27K does this present a compelling value play in Europe? I wonder…

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      That’s the infamous Landwind SUV not the Sedan 3. As bad as the 1950′s Chevy sedan crashed by the IIHS and shown here earlier this year.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      In a crash that severe you’ll see most roofs ripple. I will also add that the Qoros actually performed very, very well in that pole side impact test-that’s a very hard test for most cars to ace and the Qoros took the pole impact like a champ. It’s actually one of the best I’ve ever seen. It scores identically as well as a Mercedes Benz C-Class coupe in the side impact crash tests, and in fact very much outscores the Mercedes Benz C-Class coupe overall (I’m using the coupe because the EuroNCAP site’s newest C-Class is the coupe, they only have ratings for the older sedan from 2009).

      It didn’t just earn 5 stars, it excelled in crash testing even amongst 5 star rated cars, scoring the same number of points overall as a BMW 3 series (and actually doing better for child occupant safety ratings while equaling it in adult ratings, though it’s lower in pedestrian and safety assist ratings which is why they tie overall)

      http://www.euroncap.com/results/qoros/3/528.aspx

      For comparison:
      http://www.euroncap.com/results/mercedes_benz/c_class_coupe/2011/466.aspx
      http://www.euroncap.com/results/bmw/3_series/476.aspx

      Very impressive and I think it’s about time that a Chinese car company did this. They’ve made a lot of strides but people focus on the horrible models based on 1980s/1990s Japanese cars that nobody in China even buys. There are a lot of pretty darn safe modern Chinese cars for sale already, but I think this will send the message nice and clear that Chinese cars can be every bit as safe as even the best European cars. Though of course I still think the safest car of all is built with American ingenuity (aka the Tesla Model S) but that’s a wee bit pricier.

      I’m sure if this thing ever reached American shores it’d be a lot cheaper than the $26K European price, I’m assuming that price is with lots of VAT and whatnot tacked on.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      In a crash that severe you’ll see most roofs ripple. I will also add that the Qoros actually performed very, very well in that pole side impact test-that’s a very hard test for most cars to ace and the Qoros took the pole impact like a champ. It’s actually one of the best I’ve ever seen. It scores identically as well as a Mercedes Benz C-Class coupe in the side impact crash tests, and in fact very much outscores the Mercedes Benz C-Class coupe overall (I’m using the coupe because the EuroNCAP site’s newest C-Class is the coupe, they only have ratings for the older sedan from 2009).

      It didn’t just earn 5 stars, it excelled in crash testing even amongst 5 star rated cars, scoring the same number of points overall as a BMW 3 series (and actually doing better for child occupant safety ratings while equaling it in adult ratings, though it’s lower in pedestrian and safety assist ratings which is why they tie overall)

      http://www.euroncap.com/results/qoros/3/528.aspx

      For comparison:
      http://www.euroncap.com/results/mercedes_benz/c_class_coupe/2011/466.aspx
      http://www.euroncap.com/results/bmw/3_series/476.aspx

      Very impressive and I think it’s about time that a Chinese car company did this. They’ve made a lot of strides but people focus on the horrible models based on 1980s/1990s Japanese cars that nobody in China even buys. There are a lot of pretty darn safe modern Chinese cars for sale already, but I think this will send the message nice and clear that Chinese cars can be every bit as safe as even the best European cars. Though of course I still think the safest car of all is built with American ingenuity (aka the Tesla Model S) but that’s a wee bit pricier.

      I’m sure if this thing ever reached American shores it’d be a lot cheaper than the $26K European price, I’m assuming that price is with lots of VAT and whatnot tacked on. On Jalopnik they’re saying that it’s already for sale in Slovakia for $21K so I’m guessing the $26K number is just some sort of European average or maybe someone took the number for one particular country. $21K is still quite a bit of money though for a company without much of a track record but if everything is engineered this well they might honestly have a shot. Of course things like reliability will take a few years to shake out but it’s certainly an impressive start. Will be interesting to say the least to have a real competitor out of China. Hyundai/Kia would probably be the companies that should be the most concerned for now.

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    Is it possible to game these crash tests like with the EPA’s mpg figures ? If you know the crash barrier will be 48 inches wide, 16 inches from center then it would be possible to design a car to specifically ace the test. Not that I’m saying that’s what they’ve done here, but without some kind of variables to the test the results seem as contrived as official mpg numbers.

  • avatar
    BC

    I am sure that the Quoros was designed with all original engineering work and no foreign intellectual property acquired under suspect circumstances was used. China, stay classy.

    • 0 avatar

      I am sure this isn’t just an unfounded insinuation that it was designed with intellectual property acquired under suspect circumstances…

      Even domestic Cherys have been steadily improving in the safety aspect over the years. This isn’t an overnight success; it’s the culmination of years of effort in safety engineering. And this car was designed specifically for the European market. There was no doubt it would achieve a five star score.

      Instead of giving credit where credit is due, it seems some folks always find something wrong with Chinese products, even when there’s no evidence pointing to do that being even slightly true.

      BC, stay classy.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      I am sure that too. Because the cars are supposed to be sold in Europe. You wouldn’t think that the European courts would let them go without a scratch, right?

  • avatar

    It’s really only a matter of time before Chinese cars begin to flood the market.

  • avatar
    Slab

    Got my skeptical face on. If it isn’t for sale yet, the crashed cars weren’t taken at random from dealer stock. How do we know they weren’t specially built for the crash tests?

  • avatar
    Kristjan Ambroz

    You can be absolutely sure that someone like ADAC (German Automobile Club) will carry out voluntary tests of their own, like they did with the earlier products, to test out, if the car will pass the same standards as the beloved German competition. If they do not produce anything, one can be absolutely sure that the normal Qoros off of dealer lots will be every bit as good as the 5 stars.


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