Getting "0" on safety assists isn’t a good sign

It’s rare for a car to be so bad at the European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) that it scores zero stars in the crash tests. It has actually never happened in the 20 years NCAP has been crashing cars. History has arrived, though, in the form of the Fiat Punto. The aging hatchback doesn’t have many distinguishing traits about it, but from this day forth, it will now live in infamy as the first and only car to ever get a goose egg in the European crash tests.

The third-generation hatchback has been around for 12 years with minimal updates to show for it

I don’t usually follow the Euro NCAP because there’s too much going on in the auto industry. But every so often, the agency finds itself in the news for reasons like this one. It’s a worrying result for the Punto, but not one that’s entirely unexpected either. The third-generation hatchback has been around for 12 years with minimal updates to show for it. That’s one reason it scored so low in these tests. I’m not even exaggerating about how bad it gets for the dated model. It scored 51 percent for adult occupant safety, 43 percent for children occupant safety, and 52 percent for pedestrian protection. If those scores aren’t putrid enough, consider this: the Punto scored 0 percent on safety assist. In case you didn’t know, you can’t go any lower than 0 percent.

First Ever Zero Star Rating on the Euro NCAP? Don't Put Your Kids in a Fiat Punto
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If those scores aren’t putrid enough, consider this: the Punto scored 0 percent on safety assist

Michiel van Ratingen, the body’s secretary general, summarized the Punto’s abysmal results clearly. “The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards,” he said. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind, as these results clearly show.”

There’s no going around it. Fiat needs to retire the Punto. It should’ve retired it years ago, but it continues to sell it well past its expiration date because the car somehow still sells. It’s not a good business practice, and the Italian automaker needs to be called out for it. The Italian automaker can’t even blame the more stringent tests carried out by the NCAP. The Punto is just a bad car. It’s the closest thing to a hazard on four wheels that we have in the industry.

Do the right thing, Fiat. Give the Punto the burial it deserves.

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