Nissan Hardbody vs Navara crash test reveals double standard on vehicle safety in Africa

By Beatrice Obwocha

A crash test of one of the best-selling pick-up model in Africa, Nissan NP300 Hardbody into a second-hand Nissan Navara NP300 has revealed a double standard applied by some car manufactures to vehicle safety in Africa.

The test by Global NCAP showed that the second hand Nissan Navara NP300 manufactured in Europe in 2015 was fitted with life-saving crash avoidance anti-skid system, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) while the new African version 2019 Nissan Hardbody was not.

“The crash test driver dummy in the new African Nissan would have likely sustained fatal injuries while the driver of the equivalent second-hand European model would have likely walked away from the crash,” a statement by Global NCAP indicated.

The statement added: “the difference in safety performance between the new African model and the second-hand European version is a matter of life and death.” 

The crash test results were released to coincide with the Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm, Sweden last week. The two crashed vehicles were on public display at the Stockholm Central Railway Station.

The results elicited angry reactions with David Ward CEO and President of Global NCAP terming the difference in safety of the two vehicles as extraordinary. 

“A new car in Africa is not necessarily a safer car. Second-hand imported cars from regions with tougher regulatory requirements for safety, and environmental performance, can offer consumers much greater protection,” he said.

Mr. Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of the FIA Foundation said such unethical behavior needs to be stamped out if the target of reducing traffic deaths by half is to be achieved by 2030.

“Does Nissan believe an African life is worth less than a European life? If not, how does the company explain the shocking safety gap between these two vehicles demonstrated by Global NCAP,” he posed.

Nissan South Africa however in a statement said the company is committed to highest safety standards in all markets they operate in without exception.

"The locally produced NP300 Hardbody meets all safety regulations within Africa, where it has built a strong reputation over many years for reliability and customer satisfaction. Nissan continues to  introduce advanced safety technologies and features into our global product range, including Africa, and we actively encourage and support advancements in safety regulations and requirements for the benefit of our customers,” the company stated.

According to Global NCAP, the Nissan NP300 was previously tested in 2018 as part of the #SaferCarsForAfrica campaign and received a zero star safety rating. 

The vehicle structure collapsed and was found to be unstable during the test. The high forces placed on the crash test driver dummy pose a significant risk of fatal injury. The NP300’s bodyshell was so unstable that the airbags were ineffective.

On the other hand, the Nissan Navara NP300 was tested by Euro NCAP in 2015 and achieved a four star adult occupant rating.

CLICK HERE to watch the Hardbody vs Navara crash test.