Safety ratings for cars in M'sia

Teh Eng Hock in Kuala Lumpur/The Star
Asia News Network

Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - By the end of the month, seven locally available passenger cars will receive safety ratings after being put through crash tests by the Institute of Road Safety and Research (Miros).

Under the first phase of the Asean New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), the brand new cars were bought from the market and crashed at Miros' lab in Malacca.

The institute's director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon hinted that only one of the seven cars had a chance in obtaining a five-star rating - the maximum obtainable for cars with outstanding safety features.

The cars tested are the Proton Saga, Perodua Myvi, Toyota Vios, Inokom i10, Honda City, Ford Fiesta and Nissan March.

During the test, four dummies, including a child dummy and a baby dummy, are placed in a car travelling at 64 kilometres per hour as it crashes into a barrier.

Prof Wong explained that while all vehicles allowed on the road by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) met the United Nations safety regulations, the NCAP was an extra initiative to provide consumers with more information before making a purchase.

"Every car salesman will tell you that his car is the best and the safest. So how does layman differentiate? That's why we have the star ratings for the NCAP," he told The Star in an interview.

All the cars are bought by Miros with funding from UK-based non-profit organisation Global NCAP and FIA (International Automobile Federation) Foundation.

While China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, Australasia, Europe, and South America had their own NCAP programmes, Prof Wong said the ratings from those programmes were not necessarily applicable to South East Asia.

"A car in Europe and the same model here can be manufactured by different plants," he said, adding that the crash test results could be very different.

"Mutual recognition is possible, but that means we have to go to their plant and audit their manufacturing facilities," he said.

He said the Asean NCAP programme was designed to cater to South East Asia, and not just Malaysia, as most cars assembled in the region were marketed here and vice-versa, said Prof Wong.