Do car buyers really care about safety ratings?
WHEN it comes to buying a car, do you really care about safety?
Chances are, like most people entering showrooms, you have an underlying expectation of safety features - but motivating factors are price, looks, colour and brand.
The Ford Mustang has just been slapped with a two-star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program. Ford's iconic pony car performed poorly in three of the four areas of assessment - adult occupant protection, child occupant protection and safety assist.
Will those already behind the wheel of a prized Mustang, and those in the long queue care? No. Probably not. The majority will give ANCAP the forks as they unleash the pony's power.
Car manufacturers undertake their own research to define motivating factors behind buying decisions. Safety has moved up the rungs in recent years, but most often it's the style, price, warranty and features which sit higher in the rankings.
Often buyers are confused by industry acronyms which describe the latest safety features. How many hear radio and television ads and tune-out when they start talking ABS, AEB, ESC, LDW, BSM and FMS?
Some will shrug shoulders at the two-star rating. But they shouldn't. Buyers need to take notice.
The latest safety features available on modern vehicles are outstanding, and have the ability to save lives. Features such as radar cruise control (which keeps you a safe distance from the car in front), fatigue detection (constantly analyses your driving and tells you when to take a break), lane departure warning (that stops you from straying out of your lane without indicating) and cameras (which have the ability to peer around corners to warn of cross traffic) all help avoid accidents and save lives.
These features are no longer just on premium models. They are filtering into mainstream brands.
New car buyers should rightfully expect to be in vehicles which have the best of what's available.
Bravado is no defence. Yes, Australians like fast cars and we like performance. But we also have the technology to make them safe.
Most think we're superior to others on the road...the "it won't happen to me" syndrome is rife. Sorry, but even the "Stig" has had accidents.
And while Mustang is currently in the firing line, expect more to sit in the ANCAP cross-hairs. There will be some nervous manufacturers following these latest results.