KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) — The first time I heard about NCAP, it was many years ago during an overseas car launch and the subject was brought up by Singapore journalists.
What is NCAP or New Car Assessment Programme? It’s a safety rating system that is based on scientific destructive testing by independent and non-governmental research organisations such as universities.
The good news is that 85 percent of the new cars sold in Malaysia are safety rated at four-star stars and above.
“It’s difficult to find a vehicle with three stars safety rating,” said Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim, the Secretary General of the ASEAN New Car Assessment Programme.
SAFETY RATINGS ON THE UPGRADE
“Going forward, ASEAN NCAP will gradually upgrade its star rating system starting from 2017 to 2020.
Instead of a separate rating for adults and child occupants, there will be a single rating system where adult occupant protection contributes 50 percent of the overall rating, 25 percent from child occupant safety and 25 percent from active safety including electronic stability control, autonomous emergency braking and seatbelt reminder, explained Yahaya Ahmad, Research Officer, Crash Safety Engineering Unit, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS).
“When we had a dual rating system, some car manufacturers were selective in choosing which NCAP to boast about. If they had a high child occupant protection safety rating, they would advertise this but ignore the low safety rating for adult occupant protection,” added Salina Mustaffa, Communication Officer, ASEAN NCAP operationalization unit.
“NCAP and safety testing are popular with consumers,” said Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim, the Secretary General of the ASEAN NCAP.
“It’s a different story with most of the car manufacturers. They are wary of NCAP organisations generally speaking,” Khairil said.
“The Japanese car makers are quite OK with NCAP but the South Koreans are not so happy,” he sighs.
“The problem is that there are double standards. Developed countries get safe cars while newly industrialising countries get the same model cars which are not so safe,” he said at in interview in his MIROS office in Taman Kajang Sentral, Kajang, Selangor.
“In 2012, we had the case where a small South-Korean B segment car, the i10, scored a 2-Star NCAP and in 2015 when we tested it again, it scored a zero-Star in the NCAP rating.
MALAYSIA FIRST IN ASEAN
Malaysia was the first in ASEAN to have a crash testing lab and MIROS conducted the first ASEAN NCAP first crash test at its laboratory in Malacca in May 2012. MIROS is also the ASEAN Road Safety Centre.
This made MIROS and its PC3 crash test laboratory the leader in the New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) for the ASEAN region.
The ASEAN NCAP is administered by MIROS and like all the other NCAP programme administrators in the world, MIROS is funded by Non Governmental Organisations chief amongst which are the FIA and Bloomberg.
THE ORIGINS OF ASEAN NCAP
And how did the ASEAN NCAP come about? In December 2010, during the FIA Foundation annual general assembly in New Delhi, India, a memorandum of understanding was signed between MIROS and Global NCAP to establish an ASEAN NCAP with MIROS as the secretariat for the ASEAN region.
The FIA’s action was in the context of the United Nation’s Decade of Action for Global Road Safety 2011-2020.
The ASEAN NCAP is the ninth NCAP region in the world and the fourth in the Asian region after Japan, South Korea and China.
Because the FIA is the pinnacle of international motorsports authorities, this ASEAN NCAP initiative was supported by its affiliated national motorsports authorities including the Automobile Association Malaysia (AAM), the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP), Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS), Automobile Association of Cambodia (AAC) and the Royal Automobile Association of Thailand.
To bring the ASEAN NCAP message of safety star rating, MIROS will hold its 4th ASEAN Automobile Safety Forum (AASF) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in two weeks, from May 30-31.
The theme of the event will be ‘Improving Safety Beyond Ratings’, one of the six strategic approaches of ASEAN NCAP. Next year’s AASF will be held in Manila, the Philippines.
The first AASF was in Bangkok, Thailand in 2014, the second was in Bandung, Indonesia, last year.
Participation in the AASF is free of charge, however seats are limited. Interested participants are encouraged to register early by contacting Mr. Yahaya Ahmad at [email protected]