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Small-car crash-repair shock

Hit to the back pocket: The NRMA said a Honda Civic cost $7350 to repair after a 10km/h crash.

NRMA slams Honda over low-speed accident repair costs

4 Feb 2008

CRASHING a Honda Civic at just 10km/h could cost its owner almost a third of the purchase price, according to NRMA Insurance testing that revealed a massive difference in crash-repair costs among small cars.

In simulating a common 10km/h crash, and factoring in parts and labour costs, the NRMA found repair costs for nine of Australia’s top-selling small cars varied from around $1000 to more than $7000.

The Civic was the most expensive car to repair, costing a whopping $7385 – 31 per cent of its purchase price – while the cheapest to repair was the Toyota Corolla, which cost $1018 to fix (4.4 per cent of the purchase price).

Similar tests had also shown the previous model Civic was as expensive to repair, although one of the points Honda highlighted was that the front-end of the (superseded) Civic was designed more for pedestrian safety rather than limiting repair costs.

However, NRMA Insurance head of research Robert McDonald has dismissed the argument that pedestrian-friendly bumpers were unable to also protect the vehicle from damage.

15 center imageLeft: Toyota Corolla.



“Both the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic scored similar leg protection results in the Euro NCAP pedestrian safety program, yet the repair costs of these vehicles differ dramatically,” he said.

The Honda was not the only vehicle to post a poor result in the latest NRMA test. Suzuki’s Swift cost $5547 to repair after the 10km/h impact, which represents a hefty 34.7 per cent of the purchase cost. The Mitsubishi Lancer cost $5467 to repair, and the Hyundai Getz cost $3363.

While the Corolla was the clear star of the crash repair results, the Yaris light car performed poorly with $4016 worth of damage.

Ford’s Focus came in second-cheapest with a repair bill of $2357. Third-cheapest was the Holden Astra on $2626, while the Mazda3 was the fourth-cheapest car to repair with a cost of $2886.

Mr McDonald said a poor bumper design contributed to more damage and higher repair bills.

“The test results show a vast difference in repair prices across the range of vehicles tested, as a poorly designed bumper can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles,” he said.

Mr McDonald said repair costs could hit the wallets of car owners, even if they are insured.

“We are certainly urging consumers to consider repair costs when looking for a new car as repair costs can have a significant impact on the insurance premium they will pay.”

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