FORD'S Mustang sports car has been awarded a dismal 2 star ANCAP safety rating, raising concerns about the strong-selling car's ability to protect its occupants.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin, said the result was "simply shocking for such a newly designed and popular model."
We have become accustomed to most new cars scoring the maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating, with even a 4 star award considered a failure by some manufacturers.
The last car awarded just 2 stars in an ACNAP crash test was the Chinese-imported Chery J11 small SUV, a car tested back in 2011.
The fact the Mustang is a sports car is no excuse said Mr Goodwin. "The safety of adult occupants, child occupants and the ability to avoid a crash all form the basis of our ratings and the Mustang falls short in each of these areas.
"There's strong consumer expectation that a new vehicle will be 5 stars and a sports car is no different - safety should never be compromised."
The result will be of concern to those who have bought the latest Ford Mustang variant - the first official right hand drive Mustangs sold in Australian Ford showrooms - which arrived late 2015.
Some 6200 Mustangs were delivered to Australian customers in 2016 alone, while the long waiting list means many buyers have the current model on order and awaiting delivery.
The Mustang was Australia's best-selling sports car of 2016 by a considerable margin, and a sales champion for the brand, being second only to the Focus in Ford's passenger car sales last year.
The Mustang's 2 star rating was given due to its poor performance in three of the four areas of assessment - Adult Occupation Protection, Child Occupant Protection and Safety Assist.
The Mustang's worst performance was in Safety Assist - it scored 2 points out of a possible 12 - on account of it lacking the active safety features becoming commonplace on modern vehicles. The score also reflects how much stricter ANCAP has become recently in marking down cars not featuring such safety systems.
"It's disappointing speed assistance systems, lane support systems, autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning and rear seat belt reminders are all missing from the Mustang," Mr Goodwin said.
Ford spokesman Martin Gunsberg told The Australian the car had done well on the US tests, even earning a five-star rating from the US equivalent of ANCAP.
"When you look at the technical report from ANCAP, it achieved a four-star result for adult occupant protection, a three-star result for child occupant protection and five stars for pedestrian protection.
"However, a two-star result in the safety assist pillar determined the overall result of a two-star rating."
Mr Gunsberg added that although the crash test dummies struck their heads on the dashboard, "there wasn't significant injuries to the dummies".
In the crash testing - performed on the Ford Mustang GT V8 Fastback model - concern was raised with the full width frontal test showing a risk of serious head, chest and leg injury for the rear passenger.
ANCAP also reported there was insufficient inflation of both the driver and front passenger airbags in the frontal offset test which allowed the driver's head to contact the steering wheel and the passenger's head to contact the dashboard.
Also of concern was the driver's door opening in the pole test, while ANCAP said the whiplash protection for rear-end collisions was marginal.
Mr Goodwin said he "would encourage Ford to swiftly introduce design and production changes to improve its safety performance."
The 2018 model year Ford Mustang was revealed last week featuring active safety systems such as autonomous emergency braking and lane-keep assist; inclusions which should improve the crash test result of future models.
Read Ford's full statement below:
Official statement from Ford Australia:
We are disappointed by the Ford Mustang Euro NCAP rating.
Mustang is a safe vehicle meeting, or exceeding, all applicable safety standards globally.
Mustang's safety credentials are further demonstrated by the five-star NHTSA NCAP rating awarded in the US as well as a 'good' IIHS rating.
Customers can continue to enjoy their Mustang knowing that it features advanced safety features and a structure designed to manage crash energy under a variety of crash modes.
The overall Euro NCAP rating is based on four pillars, with a very strong focus on family car safety characteristics and specific safety assist features, which are usually not part of the standard equipment of cars in the Mustang category.
Mustang delivered a four-star result for the front occupants and a five-star result for pedestrian safety.
However, the two-star result in the Active Safety Assist pillar determined the overall result of a two-star rating.
Ford is committed to continued improvement in vehicle safety, and the 2018 Mustang in Australia will be equipped with driver assistance features such as AEB and Lane Keeping Aid.
Ford currently has 11 vehicles with a five-star rating according to Euro NCAP in its current portfolio.
In Australia, these include the Mondeo, Focus, Fiesta, Transit, EcoSport, Everest and the Ranger, which was the first pick-up to score a five-star ANCAP rating.
More recently, the Ford Escape was the first vehicle to be awarded a five-star ANCAP rating in 2017.
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