Why Don't Luxury Cars Have NCAP Safety Ratings?

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

If you're one to nitpick about the level of safety offered by the cars you intend to buy, a safety rating from a qualified New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) may be the first thing you look at. You may also have noticed that high-end luxury cars and supercars don't have these safety ratings. Which makes you wonder, are ultra-expensive cars exempted from crash tests? And does that mean that they are less safe than tested cars?

It's worth noting that all cars sold on the market must pass standard safety tests set by international and local safety agencies, and this rule applies to high-end luxury cars as well. These safety standards dictate that all new cars must come with airbags, child safety mechanisms, anti-lock brakes, stability control, crumple zones, etc. Failure to adhere to these standards can result in serious consequences, and so car manufacturers have no choice but to follow them to the letter.

That said, car manufacturers are not compelled to undergo testing by the likes of NCAP in Europe and Asia, which are independent non-profit organizations. Their independent status means that car manufacturers don't have to submit their cars for testing voluntarily, and so at times, NCAP has to buy the cars with its own money. As a result, you'll never see any NCAP ratings for any new luxury cars.

Working with a limited budget, NCAP will most often pick a single trim of a car model for testing, and stay away from the pricier models altogether. That's why you'll see that the agency has information on the likes of mid-level BMW X1 and X3, but not the top-tier 7-Series.

"It is not possible for Euro NCAP to test every new car that comes onto the market, nor can it test all variants of each car offered by the manufacturer," the European version of NCAP says on its website.  "To provide the broadest range of consumer information, each year a selection is made of the most popular and interesting models."

So how can a car buyer know for sure if an expensive luxury car is safe? You ask the manufacturer about the safety tests that the car has gone through, which more often than not, they are happy to provide. After all, with their cars costing millions, proving the safety of their products is the least they can do.

Supercar maker Koenigsegg recently revealed as much when it showed how it subjected one of its cars to multiple crash tests, with techniques ranging from the crude (beating the surfaces with mallets and sledgehammers) to the high-tech (simulating crash tests with supercomputers and virtual reality).

Instead of using a dozen cars to satisfy its testing requirements, luxury car manufacturers like Koenigsegg simply keeps repairing the one car they have allocated for testing. In the end, the car passes all safety standards, and the manufacturer reduces the amount of money it has to spend on crash and safety tests.

Read All

Featured Articles

Recommended Articles For You

Read All