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Safety recall for Great Wall ute

Hitting the Wall: Great Wall's V240 ute smashes into the offset barrier during frontal crash testing for ANCAP.

Seatbelt failure in crash test has repercussions as Great Wall’s V240 ute recalled

16 Dec 2009

A CHINESE-made ute that scored just two stars under the independent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) when a seatbelt failed in crash testing has been recalled to fix the belt retracting mechanism.

The $23,990 Great Wall Motors V240 twin-cab – launched as the first Chinese vehicle on the Australian market in June alongside its even cheaper $19,990 sibling, the SA220 – was roundly criticised by road safety experts after the ANCAP result was made public.

ANCAP engineers reported the belt failure to the federal transport department, whose administrator of vehicle standards took up the issue with the importer Ateco Automotive.

The safety recall campaign was announced this week on the federal Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s web site which said the front seat belt retracting mechanism could fail to correctly restrain occupants under extreme loads.

The statement blamed a “manufacturing tolerance” for the potential failure of the seatbelts.

Great Wall Motors spokesman Daniel Cotterill today told GoAuto that the company had received no reports of V240 seat belt failure on Australian roads.

However, he said the recall had been announced so the company could replace the mechanism on 115 cars, while a further 285 vehicles would be checked.

61 center imageSA220 (top and centre), V240 (bottom).

V240 owners have been asked to return their vehicle to their dealer for the rectification work.

Mr Cotterill said there were no plans to recall Great Wall’s other ute, the SA220.

The SA220 – which unlike the V240 does not even have airbags or ABS available – also scored just two stars in the ANCAP testing, while Proton’s Jumbuck ute scored just one. However, the Jumbuck is set to be replaced by a new model in 2010.

The ANCAP problems for the V240 arose in the critical offset frontal barrier crash test when the passenger seatbelt mechanism failed near the peak of the impact, allowing the webbing to unreel.

Even though the passenger airbag deployed, the dummy’s head hit the dash.

To make matters worse, the driver-side dummy’s head struck the steering wheel, despite the airbag deploying.

ANCAP said the passenger cabin had deformed on impact, and components of the steering column and dashboard were also a potential source of injury.

The V240 also lost points under the rating system because it does not have ESC or seat-belt reminders, nor does it have top tether anchorages for child restraints.

When the ANCAP results were announced in September, ANCAP council chairman and VicRoads manager of vehicle safety Ross McArthur said the Great Wall results were particularly disappointing given they were new models on the market.

“The V240 has dual airbags but these failed to protect the driver and passenger from injury in our crash tests,” he said.

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