The Global New Car Assessment Programme, made up of member bodies like the local ANCAP, has called for agreement on minimum safety standards in all new vehicles sold worldwide.
Carmakers in emerging markets such as India, China and Russia have been accused of robbing their new models of crucial safety features, usually available in wealthier established markets, to keep purchase prices down.
This has led to models hitting the showroom floor with a safety rating equivalent to ‘zero stars’ when compared to new models on sale in other markets.
Some countries, such as India, have appalling road safety statistics, which some argue has resulted in a market more willing to accept low standards of safety from their new cars.
Speaking at the United Nations' Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations in Geneva, Global NCAP Chairman Mr Max Mosley said that millions of new cars are failing to meet the UN basic safety standards for front and side impacts.
"Safety improvements stimulated by legislation and consumer awareness campaigns in high income economies that have saved hundreds of thousands of lives are not yet systematically available for drivers and their families in rapidly growing lower income markets," Mr Mosley said.
"For example, crash test standards introduced 20 years ago for cars sold in Europe are yet to be met by many new cars being sold today in leading middle income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This is entirely unacceptable."
Mr Mosley accused carmakers of treating customers from these emerging markets as “second class citizens”.
Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward referenced his own report into road safety standards in calling for minimum crash protection requirements to be met in all new car markets by 2020.
Mr Wards called for global standards governing airbags, electronic stability control, crumple zones and more - a position supported by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
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