Car companies removing safety tech

G’day, I’ve read a couple or articles in the last week about car companies removing electronic safety equipment from their new vehicles going to being sold in Australia because of computer chip shortages in the overseas factories. They’re doing this so as to not stop production (as some other makers have chosen to do) for certain models. This is a terrible outcome. Some have removed air bags or other warning/anti collision devices. They could remove comfort/convenience/aesthetic items before safety ones.

I think Choice should make a “big deal” about this practice, and “call out” the ones doing it?

Car companies are all about making claims about their safety tech, and I’m sure some purchasers make buying decisions based on this (I did).

Rant over, Thanks.


The consumer should be the one making the ‘big deal’. Defer buying a new car or look at others which provides the options one feels is necessary. Doing so will be the strongest message to the car companies.


If it is safety equipment I agree there should be movement at a level of Government that stops these modifications being undertaken and still being allowed to pass ADR regulations and approval. I understand there are changes made to suit our market but safety should remain of paramount importance.

I also understand @phb 's point about how sales can make manufacturers change their ways, sadly we are a small market and what may happen regardless of who takes the stance to stand up to the car makers, is that the cars will just be removed from our market leaving a further hole in choices we can make.


With the changes, from what I have read, doesn’t result in vehicles not meeting ADR - if this happened they couldn’t be sold in Australia. Possibly the only impact, other than to the consumer, is on ANCAP ratings, where a lower score would now be the result.

An outcome may be ANCAP may need to review scoring in light of manufacturing changes mid model run, as the ANCAP ratings may significantly change to those originally tested.

It is unlikely the government would have any powers to force the vehicle manufacturers not to change a vehicles specifications mid model. The only way to do so is to change ADRs so that all vehicles across all manufacturers have the safety features removed due to the chip shortage, mandated as compulsory. This would then mean that other vehicles which currently don’t have such features as an option would need to be removed from the market place.


We have had sunsetted regulations before such as seat belts, lead based fuels. This sunsetting type of legislation could easily cover those earlier models to allow some time for them to either be removed from sale eg on Trade in that they cannot be on sold again or to allow them to die a natural death of age and lack of spares to repair them.


From my reading some marques are removing anything they can get away with because they are so short of computer chips. The outcome of this may mean that the model’s badge will be demoted to the outfitting level of a lower badge model with less mod cons. The big problems are firstly that customer are not always informed of the missing features, and secondly the price may not be dropped to compensate for the lower fit-out.


The car industry functions and survives by selling vehicles which fit a predetermined “segment” .Just over 18 months ago you could still by a small hatch back from Toyota , Kia , Hyundai and Suzuki for under $20,000 .

I priced some vehicles today , mine was in for a half day service , and found a base Suzie Swift is around $23K plus on roads . The GXL Turbo is nearly $30,000 and the Swift Sport is $34K if you can get one . KIa has the Rio GT line but has stripped features of it to hold it under $30K .
Basically the adaptive cruise control and lane divergence .

I’m in the market for a new vehicle at the moment . I know my requirements . I have good connections in the industry so a Suzie swift Navigator turbo or a Swift Sport will be my next purchases . Reason . That don’t have CVT auto transmissions . I don’t know just can’t come to grips with them . Just my opinion .

Yes there could be a chip shortage but loading the market at certain price points has always been part of the motor vehicle retail scene . I remember going to a lunch with a rival manufacturer and discussing pricing points and trying to find a sweet spot price wise that benefitted both of us .

The motor industry “knows” its’ market very well . Even though this is off topic never venture into a dealer and say to the salesman you are “just looking” . Know what you want .What you can afford and take it from there . Oh yeh get them to break down capped price servicing for you too . It might be a real eye opener . Chinese vehicles , Havil , MG , Great Wall . Getting there but parts can be an issue if break downs occur .

I’ll check up on this chip shortage . Interesting who and why they would be creating a shortage .


Most of the chips are manufactured in Taiwan, they had a drought and chip manufacture requires huge amounts of water. So chips became a victim of drought, it affects computer parts for PCs etc as well eg CPU, RAM, Graphics cards (whose prices really went through the roof); all of these are starting to become more available and prices and supply are returning but not yet returned to more normal levels.


There are myriad sources of information.

From wikipedia, a non-authoritative overview.

and another from BBC

for starters. A complex sequence and interaction of related events.


For the prospective purchaser it is a warning to not rely solely on past reviews. Important to be careful to determine which safety features a vehicle has along side it’s ANCAP ratings.

Most vehicles have current reports.
EG Toyota Camry
Toyota Camry | Safety Rating & Report | ANCAP
In the report the rating applies to all variants including the base model. The rating will apply even if some of the enhancements offered in the more expensive models are not provided.

The same site provides access to all ANCAP vehicle reports.


ANCAP still only has a 5 star maximum, instead of increasing safer cars to 6 or 7 stars. The 2021 5 star standards are far safer than 2015 5 stars, so remember that when purchasing. Check with ANCAP & ask your local motoring association.


Easier said than done. I bought a new Subaru and took delivery not long ago, including some OEM accessories, figuring this is usually the safe choice. It seems that dealer couldn’t get a genuine towbar and fitted an aftermarket one. Old mate dealer gave Mrs pineapple the car and separately the tongue/towball unit which is somehow inserted vertically into the towbar. Now basic safety tech would be instructions or a manual on how to install, but nope, nada. I can see from this experience how stuff like this happens

cheers skip


We’ve previously added various options to vehicle purchases. For each item the dealer has specifically asked if we would accept after market in place of OEM, usually at a discount. No comment on the ploy, noting some after market products may include extra features that one might prefer. The purchase contract has always listed each item as OEM or the alternate supplier/trade brand. Also important for the insurance declaration.

Our Toyota has an OEM tow bar with removable hitch. Agree correct fitting details should be provided in some form. The removable roof racks on the Ute probably fall into the same grey hole. Although I suspect being a big brand name I can Google for the correct refitting procedure and bolt tightening requirements.


Doesn’t it just! And similar to many well researched and marketed products the people making and selling it have worked out how to know us better than we do while having a wonderfully conducive relationship with Govt.

I think what’s also clear is that car companies and the like have mastered the art of obfuscation, know exactly what they can get away with, and that for many (most?) consumers baubles/trinkets and FOMO outweighs just about anything else including safety. Throw in the dumbing down of Fair Trading agencies and not much is weighted in favour of the consumer these days so capitulation is often on the radar apart from a few determined souls who are resourced well enough to press their grievances.

Take the Mustang for example with its 2* ANCAP rating mainly due to lack of safety for rear seat occupants. How is the thing even sold here…and yet Ford can’t meet demand and people still put kids on the back.

In many ways it’s supply and demand too, just like the building industry which is nothing short of farcical. IMHO and as stated above the most effective option, if you can, is to delay purchase so one doesn’t end up in the same boat as the poor buggers who’ve bought real estate lately.


It’s actually 3 stars for the model as of 2018.
Plenty of controversy, but that seems to be a point of difference with Ford.

Ford have added safety tech to squeeze a higher score. Why the vehicle does not get to 5 stars as does an 8th generation late 2019 Toyota Hilux twin cab, it’s a significant difference. Especially given the difference in design, supposed handling and purpose.


Because many consumers buy cars with their hearts and not with their head. Discussing new car purchases with friends and family, only about half consider safety as an important consideration. Things like brand/model, colour, price, accessories included in the price (keeping up with the Joneses) etc seem to drive purchase decisions for many. Some have safety, efficiency, brand reliability and then the other criteria as driving decisions.


Sorry yes it’s true the 18+ is 3*. The tech was probably just a windfall ie not putting things in was uneconomical, not so with blind spot monitoring which US cars have but sadly their mirrors don’t work on our cars (LHD/RHD visibility) and are different size. Back seat safety hasn’t changed but there doesn’t seem to be much imperative, based on sales figures, to do so. Also I’m not sure they could without changing the shape of the back end. Reading that article was a reminder that these companies know exactly what they can get away with ie say/do anything to obfuscate and mislead for the sake of profit, and with no accountability. ‘It’s safe…bang on where it needs to be…ANCAP is outdated…’ :face_vomiting:

Yes…sadly short term gratification, baubles and trinkets seem to be the main considerations across many decisions… :slightly_frowning_face:


Is ANCAP a mandatory standard?

The answer - ANCAP testing is not mandatory.
It does not necessarily imply vehicles sold without an ANCAP rating are unsafe or less safe. Although those whose Australian livelihoods depend on ANCAP might argue otherwise. Each model not tested in Australia and rated needs to be considered on it’s merits and on other standards that the vehicle has been tested to.

We no longer have a local car manufacturing industry. There are other recognised international vehicle safety standards, including Euro NCAP.

One informed comment, on the potential risks and contradictions.

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Hmm, I just read the carsales article linked above and some of the statements don’t add up?

In meeting the latest Australian protocols, car-makers have been forced to fit their vehicles with significantly more on-board technology, thereby raising the entry price.

The obvious example is the 2020 Toyota Yaris, which climbed nearly $7000 in entry price after adopting class-first dual center airbags as well as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with a turn assistance feature which minimises the chance of colliding with oncoming vehicles at an intersection.

Followed by…

Hoorweg defended ANCAP’s charter, arguing that “safety-related costs are one relatively small component of a vehicle’s total price”.

I started this topic because companies would rather remove unseen (and possibly never used, but life saving) saftey tech rather than always used “entertainment” tech just to meet production supply issues.

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Is there are particular example of this practice we should consider? Brand, model and specification against ANCAP rating vs the latest offering from the dealers. Note the base models often set the ANCAP rating.

P.S. (edit added)
There is commentary from the motoring press, and observations. Some relates to what had happened in the European market, and not necessarily Australian supplied vehicles. There are other examples of several vehicles where the imported product is no longer able to be supplied optioned with a higher specification. That certain vehicle models are being withheld from the market or no longer available with previously advertised options is disappointing (EG Skoda, Peugeot).

As noted prior ANCAP ratings are not mandatory. For those vehicles ANCAP have rated, which is most models,

Importers and retailers have obligations under ACL to be clear in which options are included with a particular vehicle prior to sale. It has recently hurt Ford where they promoted the Mustang based on a US spec which was not subsequently available to the Australian market.

Ford agreed to an owner compensation package which will have a significant financial impact. The options included a full refund of the purchase price if an owner chose. Further details in the linked release.

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