Renault Zoe goes from hero to zero in latest Euro NCAP testing

08 December 2021 - 14:56 By Reuters
The Renault Zoe scored zero stars in its latest Euro NCAP crash test.
The Renault Zoe scored zero stars in its latest Euro NCAP crash test.
Image: Euro NCAP

French carmaker Renault on Wednesday received a blow for its popular Zoe electric model as the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) gave it a zero-star safety rating in tests that are standards for Europe.

Renault, which is cutting costs and working to turn around its performance after overstretching itself over years of ambitious global expansion, received a one-star rating for its lower-cost electric Dacia Spring model.

"Renault was once synonymous with safety," Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said. "But these disappointing results for the Zoe and the Dacia Spring show safety has become collateral damage in the group's transition to electric cars."

Renault said the Zoe was a safe vehicle, which met all regulatory safety standards.

"These standards are constantly evolving and becoming more and more strict in all areas, especially in terms of security. Renault is therefore continually improving its offer to comply with the regulations applicable where its vehicles are sold."

The Euro NCAP ratings are not binding as it does not certify vehicles for road use. But European consumers pay attention to the tests and carmakers aggressively market good ratings.

This is only the third time Euro NCAP has given a car a zero-star rating and if it hurts sales of the Zoe it could pressure Renault into a swift upgrade or accelerate the launch of the next version of the car.

Euro NCAP said the latest Zoe had a worse seat-mounted side airbag than earlier versions. It noted the Renault Laguna had been the first car ever to receive a five-star rating in 2001.

Renault did not address the airbag issue in its statement.

In the year through October, the Zoe was the third top-selling fully electric car in Europe, behind Tesla's Model 3 in first place and Volkswagen's ID.3.

The Dacia brand said the Spring goes above and beyond European safety regulations, but does not add advanced features that customers will not pay for.

In a press release titled "Hero to Zero," UK insurance group Thatcham Research noted the Zoe had initially received a five-star rating in 2013.

"It's a shame to see Renault threaten a safety pedigree built from the inception of the rating," said Matthew Avery, Thatcham's chief research strategy officer and a Euro NCAP board member.

Eleven cars were rated in Euro NCAP's final round of tests for 2021, which did not include Tesla models.

A number of other vehicles received five-star ratings, including BMW's electric iX, Daimler's electric Mercedes-Benz EQS, Nissan's Qashqai and Volkswagen's VW Caddy.



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