The New Car Assessment Program for Latin America and the Caribbean (Latin NCAP) has published its crash evaluation results for the widely popular Fiat Strada (Ram 700). Surprisingly, the best-selling vehicle in Brazil, showed disappointing results scoring only a 1-star rating, due to, among other things, an unstable structure, poor performing side airbags, differences in the seats between the Regular and Double Cab models for whiplash protection, and a lack of safety assistance systems, the report stated.
Built at the Betim Assembly Plant in Brazil, the Fiat Strada / Ram 700 Regular Cab models feature two frontal airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard equipment. However, the subcompact pickup only achieved a score of 47.47% in Adult Occupant protection, 22.08% in Child Occupant protection, 40.23% for Pedestrian and Vulnerable Road User protection, and 41.86% for Safety Assist.
Double Cab models, on the other hand, feature four airbags (two frontal and two side head-thorax airbags) and ESC as standard equipment. But the added airbags really didn’t help the four-door versions scored slightly with ratings of 41.39% in Adult Occupant protection, 52.96% in Child Occupant protection, 40.23% for Pedestrian and Vulnerable Road User protection, and 48.84% for Safety Assist.
Latin NCAP uses the worst-performing score of both versions of the vehicle, to rate the vehicle. In this care a rating of 1-star.
According to the report, the frontal impact showed an unstable structure and unstable footwell area. Side airbags, only standard in the Double Cab model, showed incorrect deployment and reduced size showing poor protection in the dummy readings for the head and chest, which means a high probability of life-threatening injuries in the side pole impact scenario and negatively affecting the side impact score. The performance of the side airbags has raised a concern for Latin NCAP, and they state that it shows once more that the presence of safety equipment does not mean its correct performance and proper protection, as it happened before in other models like the Renault Sandero/Logan/Stepway.
Whiplash protection showed good protection in the seat of the Double Cab while it showed poor protection in the seat of the Regular Cab. The seats have relevant differences which surprised Latin NCAP as they were expected to offer the same performance in the whiplash test.
The report also went on to say, that Child Occupant Protection was good during crash tests, but the total score was affected by the lack of ISOFIX anchors and markings, also the lack of availability of the vehicle’s Child Restraint Systems (CRS) in all markets where the vehicle is available. There was concern about the possibility of the passenger airbag deploying at the wrong speed.
A lack of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Support Systems (LSS), Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Speed Limitation Systems, as well as a seatbelt Reminder (SBR) in the passenger seat of the Regular Cab model also didn’t help the Fiat Strada / Ram 700 with its final score.
“Fiat (FCA) once again disappoints with this poor result after the appallingly low performance of the Argo/Cronos from last year,“ said Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Latin NCAP. “These two models are among the most popular ones in the region. It is a concern that global parts suppliers are still offering restraint systems without the robustness expected in Latin America for the tested scenarios of Latin NCAP, unlike what they do in other markets like Europe, U.S., and Australia.“
“Stellantis, together with GM and Volkswagen is one of the three car manufacturers that have a crash test facility in the region,“ Furas continued. “While GM and Volkswagen have already steered towards safer cars aiming for 5-star results, Fiat (FCA) has not reached more than 1-star in the current protocols. Vehicle safety labeling including the Latin NCAP star rating is an effective solution to these market issues aiming to have independently informed consumers choosing safer cars at the time that car manufacturers voluntarily improve their models.”
“Such a low result for Stellantis is very bad in terms of vehicle safety,“ commented Stephan Brodziak, Latin NCAP Chairman. “With such a popular model in the region, we can only denounce Stellantis for this practice of discrimination against consumers in Latin America and the Caribbean. We know that Stellantis produces cars with very high safety standards, but given the poor performance shown in Latin NCAP’s Fiat Strada / Ram 700 test, we can see that it is incurring the pernicious practice of double standard to the detriment of not only of the occupants of these vehicles but of the population in general and in the degradation of the vehicle fleet in the region,“ he continued. “Star-rated labeling is one of the most efficient solutions for cases of these double standards, we call for the responsibility of the governments of each country to act in this regard”.
Source: Latin NCAP