In a submission to the ACCC, ANCAP said it was receiving correspondence from new-car buyers who felt they may have been misled over the safety rating of their purchases.
Carmakers in Australia and New Zealand increasingly covert the maximum 5-star safety rating, as customers increasingly demand nothing less than 5-stars when shopping for a new car. Further, numerous carmakers have gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure every model in their range comes with a 5-star rating.
But ANCAP says some customers have been incorrectly informed about safety ratings, with salespeople at the dealership matching 5-star ratings with models rated as 4-star (or perhaps less).
The Program added that some operators were happy to use the ANCAP 5-star logo next to certain models when advertising, but forgo the rating sticker if the model scores below 5-stars.
ANCAP CEO James Goodwin said the information afforded to some consumers was “just wrong”.
"Our concern is that people are deceptively using the ANCAP ratings or deceptively misleading consumers in relation to the rating," Mr Goodwin said, speaking with the ABC.
"It's [also] selective use, so where the car has a good safety rating they'll use it, but when it doesn't they won't use it."
Mr Goodwin said some carmakers were advertising their own safety claims, such as standard electronic stability control. However, ESC is a requirement for all passenger cars sold in Australia.
ANCAP called for mandatory labels for new cars to inform buyers of the ANCAP safety rating, in the same way that fuel usage and emissions must be displayed on a windscreen sticker.
"We're concerned that perhaps people are using the wrong information to make that sale. This becomes particularly important when different models of that car have different ratings," Mr Goodwin said.
Goodwin said some models achieved a 5-star rating only in the best-equipped variants, while entry-level models may instead reach a 4-star rating.
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