The Ford Mustang just crashed headlong into a wall of bad European PR.
After landing on the continent in early 2015, the newly right-hand-drive Mustang proved wildly popular, with tens of thousands of buyers cramming waiting lists for a chance to get behind the wheel of a pony car icon.
Well, the sports car sales star just scored two out of five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests — a failing grade not seen on those shores since 2012. The Blue Oval did not receive a gold star.
The Belgium-based car safety assessment program did not go easy on the 2017 Mustang. After a rigorous round of crash tests and an assessment of its safety technology, the model was handed a dismal report card no parent would be proud of.
Adult occupant safety was rated at a mediocre 72 percent, while child occupant safety received a 32 percent rating. The list of flaws was numerous. The Mustang’s front airbags didn’t inflate enough in a front offset collision to spare the driver and front passenger from injuries. Adult rear seat passenger safety was rated “poor” in full-width frontal impacts, thanks to a lack of seatbelt pre-tensioners. Also, children seated in the back stand to receive serious head injuries in the event of a side impact.
On top of these issues, high-tech safety aids — which the Europeans weigh heavily — were notably absent.
Because the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) uses Euro NCAP results, the same two stars followed the Mustang Down Under. The U.S. market enjoys a higher level of standard safety equipment, as well as a significantly better safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and NHTSA. Naturally, Europeans aren’t happy about this.
“Ford did not expect Euro NCAP to test the Mustang, and chose not to fit safety technology in Europe, which is available to its American consumers, and available on several other sports cars for that matter,” said Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen in a statement. “Such an attitude to safety should trouble Ford’s customers, whether they are buying a high-powered muscle car, or a regular family car.”
The director of research at Thatcham Research, the UK’s country’s Euro NCAP center, wasn’t pleased with the results.
“What really concerns me is that Ford has made a deliberate choice,” stated Matthew Avery. “The car has been designed to score well in less wide-ranging US consumer safety tests and only minor updates have been made to meet required European (pedestrian) safety regulations.
“This has resulted in poor adult and child protection scores and the high-tech radar collision warning system that is available to US consumers, not being available here in the UK. The Two Star Euro NCAP rating is the consequence.”
As bad as the crash results are, the Mustang’s two-star reputation likely won’t last long. A refreshed model in due out for 2018, and with it comes a higher level of technology.
According to Euro NCAP, “orders placed after May will receive an updated vehicle, which will be launched later in 2017, and will be equipped with Pre Collision Assist (with Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking) and Lane Keeping Aid.”