‘Safety of our customers is our top priority’

Last year the first round of Global NCAP testing of South African cars included the Datsun Go+‚ which scored one star for adult protection and two for children.

At the time it had just one airbag‚ a driver’s frontal one‚ and lacked ABS (anti-lock braking system).

In late 2014 Global NCAP wrote to Nissan‚ which owns the Datsun brand‚ urging the company not to launch the Go into the Indian market and others‚ including South Africa‚ pending an urgent redesign of its body shell because is was “so clearly sub-standard”.

Nissan launched it anyway.

But facelifted versions of the Go and Go+‚ to be launched on the local market next week‚ will have two airbags and ABS standard across the range.

A Nissan spokesman said VDC – vehicle dynamic control‚ Nissan’s name for stability control – “will be introduced in the next months”.

That would make the Go one of very few cars on sale in SA for less than R200,000 which is equipped with that key safety feature‚ along with the VW UP! and Renault Sandero.

Of the three hatchbacks crash tested by Global NCAP this year along with that Nissan bakkie – Toyota Yaris‚ Hyundai i20 and Kia Picanto – only the Picanto was found by NCAP engineers to have a stable body shell.

But it scored only two stars for child safety‚ because one of the child seats‚ fitted according to Kia’s instructions‚ unlatched on impact.

All three hatchbacks scored three stars for adult protection‚ and‚ like the Picanto‚ the Yaris scored two stars for child protection.

The Yaris‚ the only hatchback with three-point seatbelts in all five seats‚ scored three stars for child protection.

Responding to the Picanto rating‚ Kia’s communications manager Christo Valentyn said: “The safety of our customers is our top priority‚ and we are working closely with KIA Motors Corporation to investigate these results.

“We will comment fully once these investigations have been completed.”

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