Global NCAP and the Automobile Association of South Africa have released a statement calling for “urgent action” by African governments to prevent the sale of zero-star vehicles such as the Nissan NP300 “Hardbody”.
The news comes after the SA-built bakkie scored zero stars for safety during the second round of Global NCAP evaluations of vehicles sold in South Africa earlier in November 2018.
David Ward, who holds the position of secretary general at Global NCAP, and Collins Khumalo, the CEO of AA South Africa, have written to the African Union, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank calling for urgent action by African governments (read the full letter here).
“In our view, remedial action to strengthen the NP300’s bodyshell is now urgently needed. This is a concern not just in South Africa but elsewhere as Nissan has plans to increase exports of this vehicle across Africa,” Ward said.
“We believe action should be taken now to prevent the sale of zero-star cars like the Nissan NP300 anywhere in Africa,” he said.
Khumalo added that the results were “outrageous and show unsafe vehicles are being sold to the people of Africa, which no manufacturer would consider selling in other markets”.
“Aiming to meet or exceed minimum standards is not the same as making vehicles with acceptable safety standards, and manufacturers know this. These standards must change, and we need urgent intervention from policy makers to make this happen,” Khumalo said in the statement.
Nissan South Africa, meanwhile, tweeted that the Hardbody was “a tried and trusted partner for businesses and entrepreneurs, providing reliability and affordability for customers”.
“We remain committed to continuing the local production of the NP300 and will continue to investigate further improvements,” the local arm of the Japanese automaker added.
The global safety organisation had earlier reported the Hardbody exhibited “poor adult occupant protection mainly in the driver head and chest areas in the frontal crash test at 64 km/h”.
Global NCAP said the vehicle structure “collapsed” and it was rated as “unstable”. The steering column, meanwhile, did not collapse, penetrating the passenger compartment and “creating an additional risk for the driver as it moved straight into the dummy chest”.