China – Under The Hood: Quality Control Casualty – Chery Brilliance BS6

04-July-07 at 11:27pm

If you are in the PR business here you have hit the jackpot in terms of career choice. 

The latest casualty in a wave of scrutiny that threatens to undermine the China’s reputation as the superstore to the world is Chery’s Brilliance BS6.

Yet again exposes a weakness in China’s economy: the government’s challenge to keep pace with growth to ensure that exporters meet health and safety standards in markets around the world.

Has the local media here in China reported this story? Does anyone here drive one of these death machines? Take a look at this Youtube video

China’s Brilliance BS6 is a recent entry into the European (car) market, positioned as a premium-style import sedan at a budget price. Well, after seeing the videos of the car undergoing crash testing using Euro NCAP guidelines at the ADAC (Germany’s AAA, essentially) test centre, one thing’s certain: buyers get what they pay for. The BS6, as currently constructed, appears to a complete piece of crap. The horrifying 40 mph offset frontal crash test video shows damage that can be described as catastrophic at best. The A-pillar collapses and folds up like a cheap suitcase, forcing the driver’s door to pop largely out of its frame, while the lower portion of the car buckles like it’s made of recycled pop cans. We wouldn’t want to be the driver’s legs…or any other part of him for that matter. To open the mangled door afterwards, the ADAC techs needed to use a huge crowbar to get it to budge. ADAC notes that the pedals intruded a foot and a half (32 cm) into the driver’s space, while the IP moved in almost 8 inches (20 cm). Needless to say, the BS6 failed the test, garnering just 1 star.

The side-impact video’s no picnic, either, as the driver’s upper body takes the impact so hard, the injuries sustained would likely prove fatal. For all the crowing about Chinese cars and how they’re an inevitability, if this is the kind of safety that they’ll bring with them, have fun finding buyers. Back in April, Brilliance’s head honcho said that this very model, the BS6, would be imported to the US either later this year or in 2008. You know what? Keep it.

After seeing the car’s stellar crash performance in Deutschland, we wouldn’t be caught dead in one. The good news for Europeans is that this disastrous test result might be enough to halt sales. That’s what happened after the Jiangling Motors’ Landwind SUV failed the same test in even more spectacular fashion in late 2005 (listen to the ADAC guys crack up after they see the Landwind result in that second link)

Until Chinese automakers get very serious about making and exporting cars that meet commonly-accepted occupant protection standards, the idea of them having any impact whatsoever in the safety-conscious United States market is laughable?”

Wonder if they tested the tyres? Appears that the focus is on mass producing the cars before caring if people die in car accidents.That being said the Korean Hyundai Sonata, which first appeared on European roads in 1988, was also considered a death-trap. Now it is consistently ranked a top five best-selling car in Europe. Which goes to show once they knock the safety problems on the head Chinese car makers will start to challenge their Korean and Japanese counterparts. However, it is reckoned the test has set back aspirations of creating a healthy export business to Europe / US for Made-in-China cars by at least 10 years.

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