NATIONAL NEWS - The vast majority of entry-level cars in South Africa fall short when it comes to safety, according to the latest Automobile Association (AA) safety report.
Only four of 27 entry-level vehicles tested had safety affordability levels that were regarded as acceptable, read the report.
AA spokesperson Layton Beard said the basic safety features considered in the research included electronic stability control, ABS anti-locking braking systems, and the number of airbags, while points were also awarded if the car had been crash-tested.
The safety affordability index considered the safety features in the car, compared to its affordability.
“We want people to start looking at safety features and not just the aesthetics.”
The report considered the safety features of cars priced under R180,000 available in the country.
The price threshold to be included in the latest report is a 12.5% increase from the threshold in the previous report to account for inflation-related increases.
A vehicle is generally the second-largest purchase by a consumer after their house, while entry-level cars account for a large and growing part of new sales.
“If people are paying R180,000 for a car and it doesn’t have all the safety features, they should start asking why the car is so expensive,” Beard said.
- The four entry-level vehicles with acceptable safety affordability levels were the Volkswagen Take up, Renault Sandero 66Kw turbo expression, Toyota Aygo 1.0 and Smart ForTwo.
- A further 15 cars were ranked in the “moderate” category, while eight were in the “poor” category in the safety/affordability index. The eight vehicles in the “poor” category were: Datsun Go+ 1.2 Lux, Kia Picanto 1.0 Start, Nissan NP 200, JMC 4×2 Boarding, Kia Picanto MT 1.0 Style, GWM M4, Nissan Micra Active 1.2 Visia+ and Haval H1.
The AA said the purpose of the entry-level vehicle safety research was to highlight the importance of safety features in new cars, understand how these could save lives and to encourage new buyers to consider safety in their decisions and not only price.
“Price is, unfortunately, a driving factor in people’s decisions to buy vehicles. What we would like to see more of is people considering other elements of the cars they intend buying, such as safety features, which can mean the difference between life and death,” the report stated.