News

Australian Motorists Miss Out on Safety Features

9.7.2007

Australian motorists are being deprived of world-leading vehicle safety technology through the decision of some manufacturers to withhold safety equipment on some imported vehicles.

Australia’s peak motoring organisation - the Australian Automobile Association - has called on manufacturers to ensure vital safety technologies such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and side curtain airbags are fitted in the interests of motorists and their families.

AAA Executive Director Mike Harris said the vital safety features, which were standard in vehicles manufactured and sold overseas, were sometimes not included in the same imported models on sale in Australia.

Mr Harris said the practice of not fitting safety features from the imported vehicles was known as de-specification - or “de-speccing”.

“Australian motorists are missing out on these vital life-saving technologies which are available in the same models overseas - and that’s not good enough,” Mr Harris said.

“While some manufacturers do include these life-saving technologies, we look forward to seeing these included as standard safety features on all models.”

Research conducted in Europe, Japan and the US all show significant reductions in crashes for passenger cars and 4WDs fitted with ESC - up to 50% in rollover crashes in the US. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program - the vehicle crash testing and star rating program of which AAA is a member - estimates side curtain airbags can reduce fatalities by more than 10%.

Mr Harris said the challenge for the industry is to import cars with these important safety features and the Federal Government should monitor vehicles coming into Australia to ensure they are not de-specced.

“Further, both Federal and State governments should use their considerable market advantage as major fleet buyers to purchase cars fitted with ESC and curtain airbags,” he added.

The AAA stands ready to work with industry and all levels of government to ensure cars with these life saving features are available to Australian motorists.

AAA has issued a list of imported vehicles with and without ESC and curtain air bags (attached) for consumers to refer to in deciding upon their vehicle purchase.

 

Table 1 - Comparison of Availability Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Table 1.1 - Small and Medium Passenger Cars

 Vehicle make and model

 Australia

EU 

USA 

 Ford Fiesta

 O

 

 Ford Focus (i)

 1

 Holden Astra

 O

 

 Holden Barina

 X

 Honda Civic

 O

 Honda Jazz

 X

 Hyundai Accent

 X

 Hyundai Elantra

 O

 

 Hyundai Getz

 O

 

 Kia Rio

 X

 Mazda 2 (i)

 X

 

 Mazda 3

 1

 Mazda 6

 O

 Mitsubishi Lancer

 X

 

 Peugeot 307

 O

 

 Subaru Impreza (I)

 X

 Subaru Liberty

 O

 Suzuki Swift

 O

 

 Toyota Corolla

 X

 Toyota Camry

 O

 

 Toyota Yaris

 X

 VW Polo

 O

 

 VW Golf

 1

Table 1.2 - Small and Medium Passenger 4Wheel Drives (or SUVs)

 Vehicle make and model

Australia 

EU 

USA 

 Honda CR-V

 1

 Ford Escape

 X

 

 Mazda Tribute

 X

 

 Mazda CX-7

 1

 Mitsubishi Outlander

 O

 

 Nissan X-trail

 X

 

 Subaru Forester

 X

 Toyota RAV4

 O

 

 1

 Holden Captiva

 1

 

 Subaru Outback

 O

 

 Available on all variants

 1

 Available on some variants

 O

 Not available on any variant

 X

 Not sold in market or data not available

 

Note:   (i) An upgraded model is due to be released.

Table 2 - Comparison of Availability of Side Head/Curtain Airbags

Table 2.1 - Small and Medium Passenger Cars

 Vehicle make and model

 Australia

EU 

USA 

 Ford Fiesta

 O

 

 Ford Focus (i)

 1

 Holden Astra

 O

 

 Holden Barina

 X

 Honda Civic

 O

 Honda Jazz

 X

 Hyundai Accent

 O

 

 Hyundai Elantra

 1

 

 Hyundai Getz

 O

 1

 

 Kia Rio

 O

 1

 Mazda 2 (i)

 1

 

 Mazda 3

 1

 Mazda 6

 1

 Mitsubishi Lancer

 O

 

 Peugeot 307

 1

 

 Subaru Impreza (i)

 1

 Subaru Liberty

 O

O

 Suzuki Swift

 O

 

 Toyota Corolla

 1

 Toyota Camry

 1

 

 Toyota Yaris

 1

 VW Polo

 1

 

 VW Golf

Table 2.2 - Small and Medium Passenger 4Wheel Drives (or SUVs)

 Vehicle make and model

Australia 

EU 

USA 

 Honda CR-V

 O

 Ford Escape

 O

 

 Mazda Tribute

 1

 

 Mazda CX-7

 1

1

 1

 Mitsubishi Outlander

 O

 Nissan X-trail

 X

 

 Subaru Forester

 1

 Toyota RAV4

 1

 

 Holden Captiva

 1

 

 Subaru Outback

 O

1

 

 Available on all variants

 1

 Available on some variants

 O

 Not available on any variant

 X

 Not sold in market or data not available

 

Data for Figures 1 and 2 from:

  • Australian vehicles specifications taken from vehicle manufacturer websites.
  • EU specifications from Euro NCAP website, www.euroncap.com
  • US vehicle specifications from US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website. www.safercar.gov.

 

 

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