In the latest set of cars and SUVs crash tested by EURO NCAP, popular hatchback Fiat Punto scored zero stars on the safety front and failed the crash tests conducted by Euro NCAP. The tested model, European spec Fiat Punto 1.2, 5-door hatchback comes with dual air-bags in the front and also gets side crash protection for the front passengers.
The third generation Fiat Punto was launched in 2005 and has been in the market for over 12 years now. Many global markets including India and United Kingdom did not get it due to the infamous recession in 2008 and the older car hasn’t been able to keep the pace up in safety.
Euro NCAP Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, said “The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind, as these results clearly show.”
The passenger compartment of the Punto remained stable in the frontal offset test. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of both the driver and passenger but structures in the dashboard were thought to present a risk of injury to occupants of different sizes and to those sat in different positions. Protection of the passenger’s chest was rated as marginal, based on dummy readings of compression.
In the full-width rigid barrier test, protection of the chest of the rear passenger was weak, and that of the neck was marginal. Protection of the driver was good or adequate for all critical body regions. In the side barrier test, chest protection was rated as marginal, based on rib compressions. A side pole test was not performed as the Punto does not have a standard-fit head protecting airbag.
In the frontal offset test, measurements of tensile forces in the neck of the 10 year dummy indicated poor protection for that part of the body. Protection of the neck and chest of the 6 year dummy was marginal in this test. In the side barrier impact, decelerations indicated poor chest protection and weak head protection for the 10 year dummy. Protection of the 6 year dummy in that test was good for all critical body areas.
The protection provided by the bonnet to the head of a struck pedestrian was predominantly poor or weak, although good in places. The bumper provided good protection to pedestrians’ legs and protection of the pelvis was also good or adequate.
A report on Autocar quotes a Fiat spokesman saying, “Safety is of the utmost importance to the FCA group. When Punto was launched 12 years ago, it was the first 5-star Euro NCAP car, in its class. The importance of safety to the FCA group is demonstrated by the number of new models achieving 5 stars.”
Locally made Fiat Punto is on sale in India since 2009 and also received a facelift in 2014 that re badged the car as Fiat Punto Evo. With new safety norms and crash testing being mandatory in India starting 2018 might put the Punto in a difficult place to score if not replaced.
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