FCA Group brands suffered at the hands of testers conducting the Euro NCAP vehicle safety tests, with the Fiat Panda scoring a zero stars rating while the new Jeep Wrangler managed just one star.
The Panda hatchback become one of only two zero-rated cars in Euro NCAP’s history – the other was the Fiat Punto (2017) – and was also awarded lowest ever Child Occupant Protection score (16%) in the recent round of tests conducted by Thatcham Research.
Thatcham reported that the 2018 facelift Fiat Panda failed to achieve more than 50% in any of the four key testing categories.
The safety of children seated in the rear was of specific concern to experts, with its Child Occupant Protection score of 16% falling significantly short of the 79% average.
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, said: “Most troubling is that the Fiat Panda is seen as a good choice for young drivers and fledgling families.
“But the only safety technology fitted were seatbelt reminders and the rear system failed to meet requirements, so wasn’t even rated.”
He added: “These shocking Euro NCAP test results demonstrate an inconsistent commitment to safety, as Fiat has produced four and five-star cars in the past.”
VIDEO: Fiat Panda NCAP crash test
Thatcham also delivered a damning verdict on the new Jeep Wrangler, which achieved just a one-star rating and a 50% Adult Occupant Protection score from Euro NCAP.
Avery said: “Unlike the Fiat Panda, the Jeep Wrangler is an entirely new vehicle and doesn’t come cheap. Buyers outlaying over £50,000 on a car should expect more than a one-star safety rating.
Avery said that there were “a number of issues with the Wrangler in impact testing”, including deformation of the footwell and damage to connecting structures, while the make-up of the dashboard was also seen to present a risk to occupants.
Despite the disappointing safety standards served up by new product delivered by the FCA Group, six cars launched in December produced five-star results in Euro NCAP most recent ratings.
The Audi Q3, BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jaguar I-Pace, Peugeot 508 and Volvo V60 all achieved five-star Euro NCAP ratings.
Avery said: “The Audi Q3, Jaguar I Pace, Peugeot 508 and Volvo V60 are all amongst the ten safest cars produced in 2018, with the BMW X5 and Hyundai Santa Fe not far behind.”