As the car crash tests get more stringent by each passing year, original equipment manufacturers (OEM) can’t afford to rest on their laurels anymore. Other than engine speeds, make and a plethora of tech features being the norm in almost all the cars, the crash test ratings are closely watched by customers and automakers alike.
Off late these safety test results have been used to sell cars and mock competitors worldwide and play a crucial role in car sales as well. In one such case, the Brazil made Ford Ka+ which is marketed for the Latin American markets and sold in India as the Figo Aspire has scored zero out of five stars in the latest Latin-NCAP crash tests. The zero-star rating is quite a contrast to the Aspire, which received a 3-star safety rating in India, a few years ago.
According to a report by RushLane, the American automakers’ Brazilian subsidiary led the development of its hatchback Ka (Figo) and the Ka+ sedan (Aspire) were meant help churn sales volumes for Ford in the global B-segment vehicle class. While both models had good initial years in South America’s largest nation, it fell short of expectations back in India and Europe which is Ford India’s export market. As sales dwindled, the Indian-made Ka was discontinued in Europe recently.
The Brazil-made Ford Ka+ sedan, which is marketed across Latin American markets, is slightly longer than its Indian counterpart. It measures just under 4 metres to take advantage of Indian compact car excise duty benefits. The sedan fared poorly in the latest round of Latin-NCAP crash tests as it lacked the standard safety equipment.
It is interesting to know that the Ford Ka+ received a 0-star rating despite being equipped with dual front airbags as standard and its structure being rated stable. However, its 0-star rating might stem from the footwell area which has been rated as unstable and knee protection for both the front occupants of the car being weak. Additionally, the car’s ability to protect its occupants in case of a side-impact showed chest protection as weak. Overall the Ka+ scored 34 per cent in the adult occupant safety results released by the Latin-NCAP.
The Ka+ also showed poor results in the whiplash tests and scored a paltry nine per cent for child occupancy safety despite its rear outboard seats boast ISOFIX anchorages. Even though the car comes with a standard seat belt reminder and pre-tensioner for the driver, however, it goes missing for the front seat co-passenger.
Ford’s cost-effective sedan does not offer the Electronic Stability Program (ECS) as standard and that also seems to be a factor in its overall rating. The Ka+ was also found not to meet the Un127 standards in the pedestrian protection rating, it could only score 50 per cent in this department.
We hope that these results compel global automakers to set the same safety levels across their line-ups that are meant for emerging markets especially like India and Brazil. As there are far too many instances where a car sold in an emerging market varies in safety measures and levels to the one sold in developed markets.