Mercedes recalls Citan MPV to fix side airbag issue
- Tristan Honeywill
- On May 7, 2013
Mercedes is recalling the Citan MPV in Europe because of the faulty side airbags highlighted in the car’s Euro NCAP crash test. The car received just three out of a possible five stars, a weak result for a company that promotes its uncompromising approach to safety. The company’s CEO Dieter Zetsche told German newspaper WAZ last week: “The [three-star] result is of course completely unsatisfactory. We will of course have to look into this.”
A service action is underway for the Traveliner/Kombi people carrier version of the vehicle. The window airbags will be replaced in around 3,500 models across Europe with 92 vehicles affected in the UK. Other versions of the Citan are not affected, said Mercedes-Benz, because they do not have side airbags.
Mercedes also said that it was waiting to hear from Euro NCAP to find out if the safety organisation would retest the Citan once fixed. Euro NCAP could verify whether the new airbag deploys properly, but the unsatisfactory safety rating is not so easily fixed.
The Citan is derived from the Renault Kangoo and there is relatively little that can be done to improve the fundamental safety. The side airbag’s failure to open properly during crash tests was not the only issue with the Citan: it also received low scores for its pedestrian protection and the level of safety assist technologies in the vehicle. Without proper investment and attention by Mercedes, a four or five-star rating is probably too ambitious for the Citan.
The Citan highlights the generally low levels of safety allowed in small vans. Several manufacturers sell people carriers that are based on small vans (Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Kombi, Citroën Berlingo Multispace, or Renault Kangoo for example). None offer the same sort of safety or protection that you get in a passenger car platform, complying only with the basic legal requirements introduced several decades ago.
It would be interesting for Euro NCAP to crash test the basic van version of the Citan – or any of its competitor models – to establish clearly how much less protection such vehicles offer.
Latest Audi A3 takes step forward on safety... November 19, 2012 | Tristan Honeywill
Australasia’s ANCAP car safety program plans to promote driver assist technolo... June 13, 2013 | Tristan Honeywill
UK whiplash claims expected to exceed 800,000 in 2012... November 22, 2012 | Tristan Honeywill
ESV Conference: Researchers report benefits for collision avoidance... May 28, 2013 | Tristan Honeywill
How good is the whiplash injury protection in Europe’s top-selling cars?... June 25, 2013 | Tristan Honeywill
Euro NCAP to make five-star rating more desirable for car buyers... January 23, 2013 | Tristan Honeywill
RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER
Sign up for our free newsletter
April 16, 2014