Following its introduction in 1997, Euro NCAP has increasingly seen cars receive four or five stars in adult occupant protection.
However, it believes manufacturers need to focus more on pedestrian protection – In 2007 tests, 67 per cent were awarded just two stars in this category.
The maximum rating in Euro NCAP's new system will continue to be five stars.
However, the new overall rating will reflect the protection offered to adult and child occupants as well as pedestrians and will, for the first time, consider the safety potential of advanced driver assistance technologies such as electronic stability control.
The assessment of adult occupant protection will be expanded to include whiplash testing.