I thought you might know: What’s up with so many recent cars incorporating an oversized, black plastic, gaping maw in place of what’s been normal-sized grilles on cars? Lexus comes to mind first, with a visage that any Predator could love. But also, Hyundai Veloster, the revamped Yaris, various Audis, and so forth.
Is this related to some Euro pedestrian law, compliance with which mandates some high percentage of very breakable plastic up front? Darned hard to explain otherwise. At least for me. So I thought I’d ask.
Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen told AutoExpress that he expected all new cars sold in Europe to have such a system by 2017. Van Ratingen is hoping to halve the number of deaths resulting from auto accidents by 2020. Lane departure warning systems are also expected to be evaluated in the coming years – with the hopes that the new generation of safety systems will follow in the footsteps of stability control systems and become standard across the board. Hooray.
Ask a Westerner what he or she thinks of Chinese cars, and the answer will be predictable: unsafe. Thanks to China’s slower crash test speeds and low-cost manufacturing, Chinese cars have largely not met global safety standards, and Youtube videos have long cemented the impression that Chinese cars are fundamentally unsafe. But as with any growing industry, the Chinese are stepping their game up. Far from a global embarrassment, the latest Geely Emgrand even earned four stars in Euro-NCAP testing. That’s not enough to erase China’s reputation for unsafe cars, as five star performances are rapidly becoming the standard in Europe. But it is enough to match the achievements of other modern European cars, most notably the updated Fiat Panda. Though the Panda is considerably smaller than the Emgrand, and therefore is at something of a safety disadvantage, the price difference between the two cars is likely to be negligible, making the comparison quite interesting. Meanwhile, there are other four-star (or should we call it “Chinese Quality”?) cars in NCAP’s latest round of testing, including the considerably more expensive Jaguar XF and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Check out the reports for the XF, Panda and Emgrand in the gallery below, or surf on over to Autobild for more details on where these cars came up short on safety…
Chinese automakers are delaying exports to Europe and the US until after 2015, largely because they admit their products aren’t “ready for primetime.” And few issues demonstrate that fact as well as the scandalous crash test videos that have defined internet perceptions of Chinese cars for years now. But with even more recent Chinese export-intenders continuing to put up lousy safety results, Autobild reports that, starting in 2012, China will improve its crash test standards to near-European levels. (Read More…)