Is this the real reason Geely bought Volvo?

Published: 19 October 2010

Yesterday’s news that a Chinese-built Geely scored nul points in the inaugural Latin NCAP caused an improntu desktop huddle in CAR’s offices of the sort more often reserved for a new Porsche or Ferrari.

Such communal slideshows more usually happen when the first pictures of a new model land in our inboxes under embargo. We’re fortunate here that we often get to see new cars days, weeks – sometimes months or years – before the public embargoes. The inbox lights up, the recipient pipes up and we all gawp at the latest new metal revealed to the lucky few. We used to do this gathered around an envelope or lightbox; nowadays it’s invariably a computer monitor.

Thing is, yesterday there was a car crash moment. The first ever Latin NCAP results were issued and we were all eager to see what on earth a car could do in a crash test to score nothing. Zilch. The Geely CK1 1.3 did just that – and you can see for yourself the damage in the photos attached.

Latin NCAP? What’s that all about?

The south American NCAP uses the same outline tests as those pioneered in Europe, Australia and the US. It’s the first neutral crash testing undertaken in south America and they do the same 64kph frontal impact for the main passenger protection test as on the Euro NCAP with which we’re more familiar.

Result? Zero stars. ‘Protection for the driver poor for most body regions,’ found the boffins when they looked at the mangled wreckage of the Geely CK. ‘Significant collapse of bodyshell during test.’

Poor? Looking at those photos, with the A-pillar crumpled like an empty loo roll and the roof buckled all the way back to the B-pillar, I’m not sure I’ll ever set foot in a Geely CK again.

But it’s easy to scoff. You’d better believe that the Chinese won’t take this public thrashing lightly and just as their exterior designs are already moving away from the jokes of yesteryear to more modish, globally attractive designs, so you can bet your bottom yuan that they’ll soon be fitting airbags and understanding that safety sells.

Which neatly explains why Geely recently completed its purchase of Volvo from Ford.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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