Tuesday, February 14, 2006

China can't make cars

The first Chinese car to be sold in Europe has scored zero — the worst-ever score — in safety tests.

The JiangLing Landwind was displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week and is expected to arrive in British showrooms within months. It is already on sale in Holland, Germany and Belgium and has been billed as the vanguard of a new invasion of Chinese vehicles.

The two-ton 4x4 scored zero stars in crash tests last week by the ADAC, the German automobile club, which carries out tests for Euro NCAP. “It had a catastrophic result,” said a spokesman for the ADAC. “In our 20-year history no car has performed as badly.”

Testers calculated that a driver would be unlikely to survive a head-on collision at 40mph, and in a side-on collision at 30mph the driver would suffer severe head and chest injuries due to a lack of side protection.

“This car seems to belong in the 1990s in terms of engineering,” said Chris Patience, head of technical policy at the AA Motoring Trust. “We will wait for the official Euro NCAP results, but if it really is that bad we hope people will think very carefully before buying this car.”

With an expected £10,000 price tag, the Landwind is designed to rival cars such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, both about £5,000 more expensive. The Chinese maker plans to sell at least 1,000 models before July 2006.


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