As part of its ‘Safer Journeys’ strategy, the Government has been assessing used cars with a view to banning the future import of used vehicles that don't meet certain safety standards. We're fully supportive of raising the safety standards of the aging New Zealand fleet. However, the assessment system has caused confusion and many popular brands, including Suzuki, have ended up in the headlines.
As the owner of a New Zealand new Suzuki you can rest assured that safety has always been of the highest priority when specifying the vehicles we sell. Each time we release a new vehicle in New Zealand it incorporates a number of the latest safety features and technology available. In 2005, Swift was one of the first compact cars to include side and curtain airbags. When the new 2011 model was introduced we made ESC and 7 airbags standard on all Swift models to achieve a 5 star ANCAP safety result at the time of testing. Then in 2017 Swift was one of the first compact cars to offer automated emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning, sway warning, and adaptive cruise control.
One area not clearly understood is that in New Zealand new vehicles are assessed using ANCAP (Australian New Car Assessment Programme) whereas used vehicles are rated using a completely different system. One of the most important things you need to know about ANCAP safety ratings, is that test standards are constantly improving. As new active and passive safety systems are developed they're added to the requirements a vehicle needs to have in order to achieve the top rating. This means manufacturers have to strive for better safety every year. What this means is that ANCAP can really only be used to compare vehicles from similar model years. A car that earned five out of five stars in 2012 probably wouldn't get the same high rating if it was re-tested against new cars in 2019.
As far as used cars go, there are a huge number of 'used Japanese imports' in yards across New Zealand. Many of them have been specified for their domestic markets. In Japan for example, driving conditions are different so models may only have two airbags and no electronic stability control. Unfortunately these vehicles get imported and we have no control over them. It is these vehicles that the government is trying to eliminate from our "carpark' to increase the overall safety of New Zealand drivers and pedestrians.
Suzuki is 100% behind steps to make our roads and vehicles safer. We believe a big part of this is educating the public to know what safety features they should be looking for in a vehicle so they can make the right choices. We suggest a minimum of Electronic Stability Control and side and curtain airbags.
Luckily, there's a way to be confident your car is safe. If you have bought a Suzuki from any authorised Suzuki dealership - whether it's a brand new or a 'New Zealand new' used Suzuki, you can feel secure it has the very highest standards of safety and reliability. Suzuki is a world leader in automotive technology and is internationally renowned for design, quality and driving enjoyment. Your Suzuki will continue to provide you and your family with many years of safe, satisfying motoring.