The Continental: Greetings from Vienna with BMW, Hyundai and Volkswagen Powertrain News
An Unsafe Benz?
The controversial Euro-NCAP organization has delivered a painful blow to Mercedes-Benz and its Citan light commercial vehicle. Little more than a rebadged Renault Kangoo, it has gotten flak for cynical brand exploitation. But that’s nothing against the misfortune of its Euro-NCAP safety rating: At three stars out of five, the Citan falls short of Benz’s own impeccable standards. Its side and curtain airbags failed to perform as expected—a problem Mercedes promises to rectify. Pedestrian protection was described as “poor” in several areas, and Euro-NCAP criticized several minor points, such as the manual maximum speed setting, which delivers only a visual warning and therefore “did not meet Euro NCAP’s requirements.” The Citan’s rating is somewhat surprising as French vehicles typically fare very well in the test, for which they are specifically developed. Would I buy a Citan? No way. But any supposed lack of safety has nothing to do with it.
EVs Aren’t Making Inroads
European electric-vehicle sales numbers for February are in, and at 2039 units, their market share amounted to a sorry quarter of a percent. And this figure includes plug-in hybrids. According to the sales figures, 505 electrics were registered in Germany, a country where the government has blared that a full million would be on the road by 2020. A whopping eight EVs were sold in Italy, thought that’s more than in Greece, where sales amounted to zero. Perhaps some Eurocrats should be spending their time at the Vienna engine symposium instead of coming up with worthless advice.
By Jens Meiners