Safety stars shine for new car buyers

More than 80% of new car buyers would not buy a car with a Euro NCAP safety rating below 4 stars.

This is according to research conducted by What Car?, which also found that used buyers are more comfortable purchasing vehicles with lower safety scores.

The research of 937 in-market buyers found 80.75% of new car buyers said they would not consider a car which achieved less than 4 stars in the current Euro NCAP safety tests. Just 12.10% of new car buyers said they would consider a car with 3 stars or more, though 3.76% said they would be comfortable buying a 0-star car.

Of the 188 used buyers surveyed, 60.11% said they would not buy a car under 4 stars, while 26.60% were happy with three stars or more and 6.91% said they would also consider 2-star cars.

In 2020 Euro NCAP updated its testing standards to include a vehicle’s crash protection as well as its active safety systems, such as automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and other features, for a combined rating. Cars without active safety systems can score poorly in the new format despite high scores in crash testing.

Steve Huntingford, editor, What Car?, said: “While things like design and performance are often at the forefront of buyers’ minds, safety is clearly one of the most important factors for buyers – to the extent that if a vehicle doesn’t achieve a high enough score it is ruled out by the majority of buyers.”