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Car-safety tests provide home run
2007-07-28 03:32:04 Shanghai Daily

SHANGHAI, July 28 -- CHINA'S home-brand models are proving more reliable, with enhanced ratings in the latest domestic crash tests.

The nation's official vehicle laboratory, the China Automotive Technology and Research Center, gave four stars to the Besturn sedan, China's first self-branded model made by First Automotive Works Group.

The announcement was made on Thursday in a statement posted on the CATRC Website.

This compared to a two-star assessment, the lowest rating, given to the Free Cruiser sedan, developed by Geely Holdings Group, and three stars to the A5 sedan made by Chery Automobile Co Ltd and the F3 sedan made by BYD Automobile Co Ltd in the same assessment program last year.

The relative low ratings on China's self-developed models once caused public concerns over quality issues during a time when national car makers were planing to break into more mature markets in their overseas ventures. All the test results were subject to the Chinese version of the New Car Assessment Program, an independent vehicle-assessment scheme that is similar to Euro-NCAP.

The national standard, launched last July, gave safety ratings on how passengers are protected after undergoing front, side and rear-end collisions. "It's quite encouraging that Chinese-branded models are improving their safety standards after increased investment," said Jia Xinguang, an auto expert in Beijing.

Zhao Hang, director of the CATRC, said: "Chinese car makers need more efforts on equipment like airbags compared with foreign rivals in the same segment."

Nissan's Teana premier sedan and Ford's Focus economy car achieved the top five-star ratings and the institute gave four stars to Honda's Civic.

Zhang said compact cars are still generally short on quality and need further attention.

In the same series of tests, Shanghai-GM-Wuling's Spark subcompact won two stars while Kia's Cerato and Haima Family, developed on a Mazda model, achieved three.

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