Great Wall Motors (GWM) has finally broken its silence over the results of recent crash tests which featured two of the Chinese carmaker’s vehicles.
The company says it “meet and exceed the standards as set out by the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards” in a press release issued by Haval Motors South Africa, which forms part of the GWM stable.
The crash tests, which was conducted by Global NCAP in conjunction with the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) and the Safer Cars for Africa programme, featured the GWM Steed 5 double cab, the Haval H1 and Renault Kwid. Following in the footsteps of the only other bakkie tested since the programme inception in 2017, the Nissan Hardbody NP300, the Steed 5 scored zero stars for driver and front passenger and one star for child occupants.
The H1 and Kwid obtained two stars for both driver and front passenger safety as well as child occupants. Although the AA raised concern over the safety rating of all three vehicles, the Steed’s test results in particular that received the most attention as it “demonstrated a high probability of life-threatening injury”. Haval insists in its statement that safety remains a top priority for the manufacturer.
“We at Haval Motors South Africa rank the safety of our clients as paramount, so much so that it is one of our core corporate values. For that reason, we have spent over $650 million per year on research and development alone. We as a company are surprised at the results of this round of testing which included two of the vehicles in our stable as we proudly meet and exceed the standards as set out by the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards,” it reads.
“It is regrettable that vehicles are tested that have been in production for quite some time and are fitted with basic passive and active safety aids due to them being of a lower specification in this area to obviously assist in bringing the overall price of the vehicle down making it more accessible than vehicles with all the safety aids. We have thousands of happy and safe motorists using our products and that’s why we continue to invest in safety technologies of tomorrow.”
Renault on Friday responded to The Citizen’s approach for reaction by saying “Renault South Africa chooses not to comment on this topic”. Like in the case of the NP300 that is still being sold, the poor crash test results are not expected to affect the Steed 5’s presence in the local market. What the AA does hope to achieve through continuous crash testing is to try and get government to raise the minimum safety requirement for new vehicles.
“Since the programme’s first results were launched in 2017 we’ve been calling for an improvement in the safety standards set by government. These results again confirm the urgent need for this to happen; we simply cannot have unsafe cars on our roads anymore,” says Willem Groenewald, AA CEO.
“We have spoken to the National Regulator for Compulsory Standards about standards and although the evidence is clear, we are eager to see movement in this regard. Action is needed, and needed now because it’s about protecting South African citizens.”