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Low Speed Collisions Can Be Costly

Feb 3, 2014

A range of top selling small cars were put to a walking-pace speed collision test by NRMA, and results show repairs can cost up to 70% of their new purchase price.

Australia’s nine top selling vehicles were put on spotlight to see how the bumper performed when involved in collision. NRMA tested the front and rear bumpers of each vehicle by simulating a low speed crash which is the most common type of road crash, even travelling at only 10 km/h, many of the cars were found to have poor-performing bumper design which resulted in high collision repair costs. The tests show the importance of having insurance as well as serving as a reminder that your car choice could impact your premium. Consumers were urged to consider repair costs when looking for a new car as their insurance premiums could vary greatly.

The tests help determine whether it is economical to repair a car after a collision based on the damage and the percentage of the new purchase price it costs to repair the car. Tests revealed a vast difference in repair costs across the range of top selling small vehicles. Of the vehicles tested, rear collision repair costs range from around $1,200 on one car to more than $7,600 on another.

When comparing damage for a front and rear collision, the Toyota Yaris and the Honda Jazz were the most expensive to repair. The Yaris cost 70.8% of its new purchase price to repair and the Jazz 69.5% of its new purchase price. The Holden Barina was the test’s best performer, which had a repair cost for a front and rear collision of 14.3% of its new purchase price. The Barina's damage was isolated to the bumper components because of its effective bumper design, thus did not suffer much structural damage. Poorly designed bumpers can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles in a collision.

The low speed crash test program was designed to urge car manufacturers to make improvements to bumper bar design and help keep the cost of collision repairs affordable. The crash apparatus uses a 'roller coaster' type device to simulate a 10 km/h collision which replicates impact with another car, allowing NRMA to accurately compare the costs of repairs. The low speed crash test program is a collision repair cost test and is not an indicator of vehicle safety features. Almost all of these cars have been awarded five stars in safety rating, except the Nissan Micra.

Here’s the result of the test for front end bumper collision

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