Consumers in Latin America and the Caribbean will now be able to compare the safety performance of new cars from leading global brands following the launch of Latin NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme).

The launch of Latin NCAP has taken place simultaneously in Montevideo, Uruguay and São Paolo, Brazil. The new association has released test results of nine cars from the popular small vehicle class using the same frontal impact test that is included in Euro NCAP’s test programme.

According to Latin NCAP, Latin America is a rapidly growing automobile market and source of vehicle production but it is also experiencing high levels of road fatalities and serious injuries.

Latin NCAP is the first independent programme to be established in Latin America, it says.

The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), FIA Foundation, ICRT (International Consumer Research and Testing) and GRMF (the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Foundation) with support of the IDB (the Inter-American Development Bank), have joined forces in setting up Latin NCAP.

Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, said: “We congratulate the partners in Latin NCAP for taking this important step for the Latin American and Caribbean region. Latin NCAP will not only contribute to raising the standards of car safety and to increasing the levels of protection given to drivers, adult passengers and children, but also help increase much needed public awareness about the importance of safer road transport.’

The nine cars recently assessed by Latin NCAP have been subjected to impact crash testing and safety equipment, including airbags and seatbelts, for drivers, passengers and children has been rated. Separate star ratings for the safety of adults and children have been given with five stars awarded for the best possible performances. Details of the results can be found on the Latin NCAP website: www.latinncap.com.

There are already six NCAP programs in the world: US NCAP, Euro NCAP, Japan NCAP, Korean NCAP (South Korea), China NCAP and Australian NCAP. There is also the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with its crash test program similar to Euro NCAP. As well as Latin NCAP, Indian NCAP is currently also being developed.