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Chinese Car Crumples

DW staff (sms)
June 22, 2007

The low-cost sedan with which Chinese carmaker Brilliance hoped to conquer the European automobile market failed a crash test, reducing fear among German car companies about an impending Chinese car invasion.

Chinese carmaker Brilliance hoped to take the European market by stormImage: ADAC

The BS6 sedan made by Chinese carmaker Brilliance won only one out of five possible stars in the crash test carried out in accordance with Euro NCAP regulations at ADAC's crash test laboratories, the ADAC, Germany's largest car association, said on Thursday.

It was the second time in less than two years that a Chinese-made car has failed the test, following the spectacular failure of the Landwind sports utility vehicle (SUV) made by Jiangling Motors 18 months ago, said ADAC spokesman Maximilian Maurer.

"A person in an actual accident scenario would hardly have a chance at survival," Maurer said.

The test consisted of a frontal and side crash at 64 kilometers (40 miles) per hour, and the front crash showed that the safety cell of the Brilliance BS6 was too soft and not stable enough, ADAC said.

Most European-made cars win four or five stars in the crash test, so the result is not encouraging for the BS6, which was slated to compete against the likes of the Volkswagen Passat and Audi A6 when it launched at March's Geneva Motor Show.

Disappointing results

Deutschland China Auto ADAC Crashtest Brilliance BS6
The airbag would be of little help in an actual accident, the ADAC saidImage: ADAC

But HSO, that company that handles Brilliance's imports to the European market, said the BS6 would undergo modifications and that sales of the car, 350 of which are on roads in Germany and the Benelux countries, would continue.

"We are not happy with the test and will consequently improve our car," HSO head Hans-Ulrich Sachs told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on Thursday. "A prototype will undergo the ADAC crash test at the end of July."

The BS6, which sells for slightly less than 20,000 euros ($26,866) is the first Chinese-made sedan to be sold on the European market. Sachs added that Brilliance would not stand in the way if any BS6 owners wanted to return their car based on the crash test results.

Thomas Böhm of the Germany-based Association of International Vehicle Manufacturers told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the association looked at the crash test results in a "relaxed" manner and was confident "that the market would regulate the problem."