Skip to content
Experts warn crucial safety equipment still remains inadequate on LCVs
Experts warn crucial safety equipment still remains inadequate on LCVs

Press release -

FIAT Ducato secures world-first Platinum Commercial Van Safety Rating, but crucial safety equipment still remains inadequate on LCVs

  • Overhauled FIAT Ducato’s test score improves by 60%, promoting it from Bronze to first Platinum-rated vehicle
  • Tests come as van sales continue to rise sharply with a 26% increase in LCVs compared to a 6% rise in new cars[1]
  • Per mile travelled, vans and LCVs are involved in more deaths of other road users than any other vehicle type[2]
  • Nissan’s Interstar (formerly the NV400) was the worst performer, receiving a Not Recommended rating

The world’s only Commercial Van Safety Rating programme, administered by vehicle safety experts at Euro NCAP and Thatcham Research, has awarded Fiat’s Ducato model a Platinum rating – marking the first time a manufacturer has ever received the highest accolade available.

The independent rating programme was first introduced in 2021 amid growing concerns for the lack of safety-critical equipment that is available on new vans, compared with new cars. Scores are based on the availability of emergency braking, speed limiter, lane support, and seatbelt reminder systems, as well as the performance of active safety technology.

Per mile travelled, vans and LCVs are involved in more deaths of other road users than any other vehicle type. And, with UK van sales continuing to rise sharply safety experts want van manufacturers to do more to ensure their vehicles offer collision-avoidance technology that has been proven to protect other road users.

FIAT is the manufacturer that has raised its game the most since the first batch of test results were released in 2021. Its Ducato previously only just secured a Bronze rating, with a score of 28%. But fast-forward to the latest results and the re-worked Ducato’s score has increased to 88% – ensuring its status as the first van to ever receive a Platinum rating.

Its 60% score increase was attributed to the all-round strong performance of its AEB and speed assistance systems, as well as its improved lane support capability, with the addition of Lane Keep Assist (LKA) which helps steer the van back into its lane.

Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research’s Chief Research Strategy Officer, said: “FIAT have completely raised the bar this year and we welcome the brand’s response to our calls for improved safety on vans. To jump 60% from one assessment to the next is very impressive and we congratulate the brand for achieving the world’s first Platinum rating.

“It is also good news that this Platinum rating has been achieved by a shared van platform within the Stellantis Group. The Ducato’s performance has the potential to benefit a huge chunk of the market because the Vauxhall Movano, Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay share the same production platform. We hope the Ducato’s features will be made available on these vans too.”

Other headline performers

Results showed that other manufacturers have also reacted positively to calls for improved van safety. Eight other vans increased their score in 2022, with five achieving a higher rating. Ford’s Transit Custom, currently Britain’s best-selling van, moved from the Silver rating band into Gold.

The Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Movano also recorded significant score improvements. The Trafic, which was Not Recommended in 2021, scored an additional 34% this time around, thanks mainly to the addition of AEB and lane support technology. This earned it a Silver rating. The Movano meanwhile, increased its score from 7% to 33%, elevating it from Not Recommended to Bronze.

The worst Commercial Vans Safety Rating performer in 2022 was the Nissan Interstar (formerly the brand’s NV400 model). With very little safety equipment – including AEB – available as an option, the Interstar scored 18% and was therefore the only van among the 19 tested to be handed a Not Recommended rating.

The Interstar shares the same Stellantis Group Large Van platform as the Bronze-rated Renault Master, so Matthew Avery was disappointed to see Nissan has not followed Renault’s lead in offering a safety-critical AEB system.

“This is a great example where a manufacturer, in this case Nissan, has decided to dismiss the value of a critical safety feature and put marketing before engineering,” he explained. “That’s disappointing and doesn’t reflect the good safety performance of the brand’s passenger cars.

“The 2022 results clearly show fleet operators and business owners which vans they should be choosing. Specifying ADAS technology has a value. It can help prevent an expensive vehicle being off the road for repairs, drivers being off sick, and any reputational damage that can be caused to a company after an accident. ADAS has the power to keep businesses moving and delivering for their customers.”

Find out more about the testing here:

Commercial Van Safety - Thatcham

Driving for higher safety standards

This year’s Commercial Van Safety Rating results show that some manufacturers – particularly FIAT and Ford – are listening to the calls for improved van safety. The fact the Ducato earned a Platinum rating and there was only one Not Recommended rating in 2022, compared to five in 2021, shows progress has been made in the last 12 months. But Thatcham Research has cautioned that more still needs to be done to close the safety system deficit between new vans and new cars.

“These results are a step in the right direction and we applaud the brands that have moved forward. But the fact remains it’s difficult to buy a new car without Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) technology, whereas it’s still difficult to buy a van with ADAS,” Avery said. “These are two vehicle types that share the same road space, so they should have parity.

“With next year’s Commercial Van Safety Rating assessing standard fit safety systems rather than available technology, van manufacturers still have a lot of work to do. “Together with Euro NCAP, we’re raising the van safety bar much higher in 2023.

“This will support our determination to reduce the frequency of van collisions, create greater safety system parity between vans and cars, and ultimately, protect other road users from serious injury or death.”

WATCH our latest video explaining the Commercial Van Ratings and why they are important:

References

[1] DVLA sales data, Sept. 2020 – Sept. 2021

[2] PACTS ‘What kills most on the roads’ report, Dec. 2020

--ENDS--

Subjects


Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety, security & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’, while driving standards in vehicle security.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research develops repair methods amongst a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

In addition, Thatcham Research has administered the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) Group Rating system for the past 50 years. Group Rating is an advisory system intended to provide insurers with the relative risk of private cars and light commercial vehicles.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.

Press contacts

James Smith

James Smith

Press contact Head Of Communications 01635 293101
Tom Flisher

Tom Flisher

Press contact PR Manager 01635868855
Kate Bailey

Kate Bailey

Press contact Communications Executive PR & Communication +44 7384 830 461
Francesca Turton

Francesca Turton

Press contact PR Executive PR & Communication +44 7943 848 528

Thatcham Research

Safer cars, fewer crashes...

As the UK's only insurer funded automotive research centre, Thatcham Research enjoy a wide remit at the forefront of the latest vehicle technology. Thatcham's leading work in vehicle safety and security has a vital role in shaping the designs of new vehicles, whilst the centre is also seen as a key industry player at the forefront of driving standards in vehicle body repair.

Thatcham's Crash Laboratory is the only official UK crash testing centre for consumer safety body Euro NCAP and are viewed as a centre of excellence when it comes to active vehicle safety, particularly the evaluation of new Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) which provide the foundation for future vehicle autonomy.

Enjoying an increasingly global influence in both the insurance and automotive sectors, Thatcham Research expertise is in great demand with a range of opinion leaders being regularly asked to provide their experience and know-how at high profile events and in the media, living up to their reputation as ‘Experts in Safety, Security and Crash Repair’.

Thatcham Research
Colthrop Way
RG19 4NR Thatcham
United Kingdom