Compare crash test press releases

An interesting opportunity to compare press releases on the same story today.   has released its independent assessment of the safety performance of four small cars. 

In the NCAP release Cars with big aspirations: Fiat 500 and Kia Cee’d, it is interesting to see the Cee’d commented upon – as there is news value in it being the first Kia model to achieve a five star rating (even though its pedestrian protection achieves fewer stars than the Peugeot 308).

I am surprised there is no information about Euro NCAP in the release – automotive media will be familiar with the organisation and its system, but a simple statement, even as a Note to Editor could provide official clarification, which might be used in reports read by the general public. 

The release contains useful links to more test information for each of the models tested – but didn’t specifically state this.

Different styles and approaches can be seen in the individual releases from:

Again, none of these releases explains .  Although Catherine Riley, Motoring Editor of recently claimed the system was understood, she still explained it:

Most of us, when we buy new cars in Britain and, in fact, across Europe, are familiar with the term “Euro NCAP rating”, a mark, out of five stars, that has been accepted as the standard for safety ratings. Of course, these are not in-depth, totally comprehensive crash tests of every car on the market, as manufacturers are expected to conduct these themselves. They are, however, “a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe”, according to Euro NCAP, which is also known as the European New Car Assessment Programme.

It has been in existence now for 10 years, providing motoring consumers – that’s both you and me and car manufacturers – with a standard by which we may judge a car’s safety. It has got some weight behind it, too – Euro NCAP is backed by five European Governments and the European Commission, as well as motoring and consumer organisations in every EU country. When it was first conceived, manufacturers shunned it, but the programme gained acceptance once it was seen to be technically correct – not forgetting, of course, that cars which received good ratings saw an increase in sales figures and those that did badly saw a decrease.

I’m not convinced there is a high level of understanding among the general public and mainstream media of Euro NCAP, despite the system being 10 years old.  In any case, just because something may be obvious within an industry and to its specialist media, can it hurt to clarify by providing additional information? 

I think this also applies to issuing individual releases in the case of this story.  Although most of the online coverage seems to have been picked up from the Euro NCAP release, specialist media will be interested in information from particular perspectives – such as the for Kia).

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.