Half a century ago “Made in Japan” was not the best recommendation; — but ’look at me now’!
Only a quarter of a century ago, the Chinese auto industry came to the attention of the world, but it is fast catching up to produce practical and worthwhile alternative transportation – already now.
Rewind and quoting: ”In 1978, NHTSA [National Highway Transportation Safety Administration] began assessing the occupant protection capabilities of new cars by conducting high speed frontal barrier crash tests to support the requirements of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act. It was the first program to provide relative crashworthiness information to consumers on the potential safety performance of passenger vehicles. The program’s goals were, and continue to be, to provide consumers with a measure of the relative safety potential of automobiles and to establish market forces which encourage vehicle manufacturers to design higher levels of safety into their vehicles.”
Since 1979, “NCAP [New Car Assessment Program] is a dual effort involving both the engineering aspects of research and testing and the communication efforts to determine what kinds of vehicle safety information consumers want and need and how best to convey that information to them. By all indications, the program has worked. More and more consumers have a heightened awareness of vehicle safety and are placing a higher emphasis on it in their buying decisions. This, in turn, has moved the industry to design cars that perform well in NCAP tests. Numerous studies have correlated improved NCAP performance with reduced fatalities and injuries on the nation’s roads. This progress has been repeated around the world, where Australia, Japan, and Europe [and now China] have developed successful NCAP programs.”
We recently learned that European companies performing tests equivalent to the NHTSA tested 33 cars in 2013 in various classifications from super-mini, mini, compact, small family cars, and on to large family cars.
It turned out that the built-in-China compact sedan Qoros 3 is the safest car of the year 2013 under the EuroNCAP crash-test procedure. It earned a five star rating after different safety features were evaluated, with a 95 % result for occupant safety.
Under NCAP, the same tests are applied around the world: vehicles are tested for pedestrian safety, occupant safety on all seats, child safety, frontal and side impact, corner impact, and impact with a pole.
Points are given in each category and added up, to arrive at a percentage of an optimal safety potential at the current ‘state of the art’.
Not surprising to insiders was the excellent result the Qoros 3 achieved, because the car was completely developed in Europe, and well-known suppliers produce components used in assembling the car in China.
Most western automakers have been producing cars and trucks in China for decades now in joint ventures with local businesses. As a result, China has become the world’s largest producer as well as the largest market for all types of vehicles in a relatively short time. When more people in the world’s largest country’s own and drive home-made cars and trucks, export of many makes and models will supply the rest of the world.
At that time we can be confident that “Made in China” will stand for well-made automobiles, as is already the case for Qoros.