Mustang undented by crash test blow

The Mustang crash test result has reverberated through the owner circle, but so far left them unshaken.


SOME Kiwi Mustang owners have expressed concern about their favourite ride being savaged by the country’s crash safety watchdog, but no forward orders have been cancelled.

That’s the world from Ford New Zealand’s spokesman a week after the shock two stars out of five score, one of the lowest ever meted by Australasian New Car Assessment Programme, was announced for the car.

“Customer reaction has been mixed,” acknowledged Tom Clancy. But there have been “no cancelled orders as of yet and we still have a waiting list for the Mustang.”

However, he admits the result, announced last Wednesday night, had caused a lot of comment.

“The ANCAP media release in particular with the added editorial commentary raised a lot of concern.

“However, when they (owners) look at the actual test results, they realise it got a four star result on adult occupation.”

He said customers have also been reassured to learn that the car received a five star score from a well-known independent crash testing organisation in the United States prior to the ANCAP result being determined.

Is it also being explained, however, that the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) result has no status in New Zealand – that here only NCAP results out of Australia and Europe are given credibility?

Also crucial to consider is that the North American model has an automatic emergency braking system absent from the export car, including examples sent here.

The export car’s lack of AEB was specifically criticised by the Euro NCAP safety organisation, which conducted the crash test whose result is adopted by its sister body, ANCAP.

Ford has already said it will fit AEB on an updated version of the car, revealed at the start of last week.

However, while that car will be available to European customers who order after September, Kiwis are unlikely to see it for more than a year. When commenting last week about the facelift, Clancy suggested it was unlikely to be seen here until the end of 2018.

Asked about this again yesterday, he reiterated only that the car would not receive any additional driver assistance technology in its current form.

Ford New Zealand has not explained why AEB does not feature on the current car. However, Ford Europe has explained it determined not to include the tech when they launched the model in 2015 was due to low demand from target customers.

Euro NCAP/ANCAP also penalised the Mustang for insufficient inflation of the driver and front passenger airbags that caused the crash test dummies' heads to make head contact with the steering wheel and dashboard.

Protection for children seated in the back of the car was also criticised. The car scored 32 percent for child occupant protection.

Euro NCAP changed the way it scored crash test results to include automatic emergency braking last year, citing research in the United Kingdom and Germany showing that the technology could prevent one in five fatal pedestrian collisions.

Ford said if the Mustang been tested before this new protocol was established, the car would have scored much higher. Euro NCAP scored the Mustang four stars out of five for adult occupant protection.

Euro NCAP rarely tests sports cars because of their low volume, preferring to focus on more popular cars. However, Mustang seems to have made itself irresistible because it has been a massive sales success. It is the top-selling coupe in New Zealand last year and one of Ford NZ’s better-selling passenger cars.