New sales data released this week reveals that Australian motorists are putting safety first, with more than 37 percent of new cars sold in 2010 carrying a 4-Star ANCAP crash safety rating.
Cars with the top-shelf 5-Star rating came a close second however, at 33.39 percent.
As more carmakers move to meet higher safety standards, the number (and acceptance) of brand-new 3, 1 and 2-Star passenger vehicles is falling off - a fact reflected in last year's sales, with 3-Star cars making up only 7.94 percent of sales.
Vehicles with an official 2-Star ANCAP rating are limited to the Great Wall SA220 and V240, and the Mahindra Pik-Up. In 2010, these cars accounted for just 0.37 sales.
“Consumers are demanding safer vehicles on our roads and these figures send a message to manufacturers about Australian road users’ central focus on road safety," Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, Catherine King said.
“This year the Australian Government led the way on safer vehicles by strengthening its fleet purchasing guidelines to ensure new vehicles purchased have high safety ratings.”
ANCAP Chair Lauchlan McIntosh said the data showed a promising focus on safety for Australian motorists.
“Buying a new car is one of the biggest decisions for an individual or family - it is pleasing to see the increase in 4 and 5-star vehicles being sold each year,” Mr McIntosh said.
“We look forward to the day when that figure of 71 per cent for 4 and 5-star cars approaches closer to 100 per cent – safer vehicles save lives and reduce the incidence of road trauma and tragedy for road users, their families and the whole Australian community.”
It is important to note however that the figures, released by data collection agency Polk, do not account for sales of vehicles that have not been tested by ANCAP.
The Australian Government joined ANCAP as a member in May 2010 and is providing ANCAP with $5 million in the period 2009-10 to 2013-14, aimed at increasing ANCAP’s crash test program.