Monday October 30, 2017
By Richard Bosselman
THEORY about the more you spend on a vehicle, the safer you’ll be seems to have just been blown out of the water – at least in respect to the massive one-tonne ute sector.
The just-landed LDV T60 has just scored a significant safety score in a recently-landed doublecab turbodiesel format that, in spanning from $33,338 to $40,238 with goods and services tax included, significantly undercuts every other rival save the Mitsubishi Triton.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP), an independent Melbourne-based crash testing specialist part-funded by the New Zealand Government (as well as the NZ Automobile Association) and whose safety scores have highest priority with legislators here, has determined that the derivative is officially one of the safest utes on the market.
The T60 also stands out as being the first Chinese product of any kind sold here to score five stars for safety in an ANCAP (and NCAP) test and also represents a great leap forward for Chinese ute design. The safety authority has in the past given much lower scores for traydecks from fellow Chinese brands Great Wall and Foton.
Five star scores are not uncommon for doublecab utes now but are still considered vital for any model to achieve consideration for fleet use, especially with Government departments. Certainly, it will be a Godsend for establishing the model’s credibility with customers.
The T60’s outcome, announced today, will also probably rattle the established big brands in the sector, because its individual score was very good: 35.46 out of 37 points from a series of crash tests.
That puts the T60 ahead of some other five star utes - the Nissan Navara (35.01), Holden Colorado (34.89), Toyota HiLux (34.45), Volkswagen Amarok (32.99) and Isuzu D-Max (33.58) – and only bettered by three: The Mazda BT-50 (35.72), Mitsubishi Triton (36.22) and Ford Ranger (36.72).
The result will delight LDV, a ute and van specialist is owned by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), China’s largest car maker, and has certainly been welcomed by the national distributor, Great Lakes Motors.
LDV New Zealand chairman Rick Cooper, said it means New Zealand consumers “can have full confidence in LDV.”
Curiously, having taken the big name brands to task a couple of weeks ago in respect to pricing, GLM chose not to name and shame the big sellers that it outscored, instead simply noting that the T60 had shown up “other utes produced by mainstream ‘established’ manufacturers.”
ANCAP’s comment about the result suggests it is specific to the four-wheel-drive dual cab, the T60 flagship model here. A single cab derivative yet to show here may, or may not, be considered as robust if ANCAP choses to test it.
AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says the T60 dual cab sits within a popular vehicle segment and is likely to become a strong competitor against the traditionally popular brands. It stacks up as a “real contender” in the ute market.
“Over the last 10 years a number of Chinese-built vehicles have entered the market with low prices but they’ve fallen well short in the safety stakes.
“We’ve challenged Chinese manufacturers to lift their game in the safety stakes and this year they clearly have which is a win for Kiwi car buyers.”
The T60 dual cab has a range of safety assist and crash avoidance technologies on board as standard, though it lacks the roadcar must-have of autonomous emergency braking.
Meanwhile, the Chinese-made Haval H2 compact SUV also earned five-stars for safety in the latest round of crash tests after the larger Haval H9 SUV only scored four stars late last year. Haval is the passenger car and SUV brand for Great Wall Motors.
The latest scores are the first provided from ANCAP since the Australian car-making industry ceased completely, with the closure of the Holden plant in Adelaide a fortnight ago.
The organisation initially came into being to judge whether cars designed and built in Australia were up to world standard. Some have questioned whether ANCAP has any ongoing role to play, but its advocates say the regime can still give useful guidelines to Australia and New Zealand.
But it is only advice: ANCAP does not have the power to stop a vehicle from going on sale. It performs crash tests to provide consumers with comparable occupant protection data.
And although almost 600 vehicles have been crash tested since ANCAP began in 1993, the regime only focuses on new cars – which means there is no useful relative data for Japanese domestic market models that come here as used imports.