Fiat Panda Becomes Second Car Ever To Earn ZERO Safety Stars
Whilst the Fiat Panda is hardly the car of choice for fleet drivers, it’s hopes of ever becoming a popular company car (if it had them) are now almost certainly dashed. It’s become the second car in history to receive a ‘zero’ safety rating from the highly-regarded Euro NCAP; a car safety performance assessment programme.
The announcement will be a depressing one or Fiat, especially given that the first car to receive a zero rating was actually another of the Italian manufacturer’s models; the Fiat Punto. The Panda also has the dubious accolade of having the lowest child safety rating assigned by Euro NCAP at an abysmally low 16%. For some perspective, the average score is 79%. More generally, the car failed to achieve a score of more than 50% in any of the test’s four categories; which include ‘Adult Occupant’, ‘Child Occupant’, ‘Vulnerable Road Users’ and ‘Safety Assist.’
What makes all of this so damaging for Fiat is that the car is aimed at young drivers and families. The Director Of Research at Thatcham Research, Matthew Avery, said “most troubling is that the FIAT Panda is seen as a good choice for young drivers and fledgling families. But the only safety technology fitted were seatbelt reminders and the rear system failed to meet requirements, so wasn’t even rated.” He added, “as the bare minimum, a standard-fit Autonomous Emergency Braking system should be available with the Fiat Panda. This is especially important since the car offers so little protection in the event of a collision. These shocking Euro NCAP test results demonstrate an inconsistent commitment to safety, as Fiat has produced four and five-star cars in the past.”
A spokesman from Fiat told Auto Express that “we take the safety of our customers and other road users extremely seriously. The Fiat Panda complies with all safety legislation in every country in which it is sold.” The Panda is an old model and has only recently been given a face lift. It was first released in 2011 and initially secured four out of five safety stars from the same test. In this case, then, it’s simply a question of the car falling victim to far tougher testing standards and not keeping up with the latest technology.
Another poor showing came from the Jeep Wrangler, which secured just one paltry star. Unlike the affordable Panda, the Wrangler costs a whopping £50,000. Avery said, “unlike the Fiat Panda, the Jeep Wrangler is an entirely new vehicle and doesn’t come cheap. Buyers outlaying over £50,000 on a car should expect more than a one-star safety rating.” He added, “no AEB system is fitted, which is unheard of in this price bracket.”
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