Euro NCAP calls for bigger focus on van safety with launch of new rating programme

  • January 3, 2021

Euro NCAP, the consumer car safety rating organisation, says businesses should avoid buying several models of new vans including the FIAT Talento, Opel/Vauxhall Movano, Nissan NV400, Renault Master and Renault Trafic, due to poor safety ratings in its newly launched van rating scheme.

Fourteen commercial vans qualified for an award by Euro NCAP under new criteria that prioritise crash avoidance and driver assistance systems.  Nineteen vans, covering 98 percent of European sales last year, were tested in accordance with Euro NCAP 2018 Safety Assist protocols, that include AEB, Lane Support, Speed Assistance and Occupant State Monitoring.

The new ratings encourage wider fitment of ADAS on commercial vans, show differences between brands in the systems’ performance and will help fleet operators and business owners to make safer choices.  

For the benefit of commercial van drivers and all road users, Euro NCAP calls for:

  • Standardisation of safety equipment on commercial vans ahead of the General Safety Regulation which is still some years away;
  • Better performance of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on commercial vans, to match the state-of-the-art technology fitted to cars;
  • Fleet operators to take responsibility for the safety of their drivers and to demand a minimum silver-level performance in Euro NCAP’s new ranking scheme when making purchasing decisions;
  • Greater clarity from van manufacturers, on websites and in marketing material, regarding the safety features available on their vehicles.

The use of commercial vans has never been greater or more obvious. The worldwide pandemic and the burgeoning stay-at-home economy have resulted in a significant increase in the need for delivery vehicles. 

Regarding fitment of safety technologies, there are regional differences: systems that are standard in one country may be optional in others. And vehicles which are identical except for the badge on the front, also differ in the safety they offer: AEB is an option on the Renault Master but is not available on the Nissan NV-400, which comes off the same production line.

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary-General of Euro NCAP said:

“The first thing that struck us was how poorly vehicles in this segment are generally equipped with safety systems. Technology that is now standard on passenger cars is, almost without exception, an option on vans. Not only that but there is a huge lack of clarity about what is available in individual countries, and what functionalities the systems offer. Manufacturers really don’t make it easy for people to buy these options and we struggled hard to get hold of vans equipped with the systems we wanted to test. So, the results you see represent the absolute best that the vans will perform on the road. In all probability, there are very few vans actually on the road which are as well-equipped as the ones we tested, and that is part of our message today: manufacturers have to start taking the safety of this segment more seriously and fleet buyers should insist on choosing safety options to provide better protection for their drivers and for all road users. We want good-performing safety technology fitted as standard in this segment of the market. Gold award winners Ford, Mercedes-Benz and VW are showing the way.”

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