Euro NCAP is to include a rear-impact (whiplash) test and assessment as part of its crash test ratings from November 2008. The test, an integral part of a new rating scheme, will be included as part of Euro NCAP’s Adult Occupant Rating when the new scheme is launched in February 2009.
The first official test house for the rear-impact (whiplash) ratings program will be the U.K.-based Motor Insurance Repair Research Center, known as Thatcham. "Having researched and tested seats and head restraints for over four years, Thatcham’s robust test procedures and experience in producing related ratings were key factors in their selection," stated the organization when its selection was announced. It also cited the quality of its testing facilities, which include a Hyper G Sled, a $2 million British insurer investment specifically to research and test seats and head restraints.
Andrew Miller, Thatcham’s Research Director, commented: "Our whiplash work is one of our key activities as we strive to reduce the very heavy burden on society and insurers caused by this common accidental injury. This recognition by Euro NCAP of Thatcham’s research knowledge and commitment to seat testing is an important accolade. It is also real recognition of the investment made by the U.K. Insurers in furthering best-practice seat design."
Matthew Avery, Research Manager–Crash, at Thatcham, added that a specialist team had worked to meet the stringent requirements of the Euro NCAP protocol: "We look forward to continuing this substantial and significant project."
Thatcham also has an aftermarket crash parts accreditation scheme. Latest development in this area has seen the program’s alignment with the German certification body, TÜV Rheinland, creating "a new, joined-up approach to parts certification". Thatcham’s Parts Accreditation scheme proved the quality and the correct fitment of parts, from the independent sector, in a workshop environment. The robust accreditation process consisted of a thorough examination of the part and the manufacturer’s quality systems and manufacturing processes.
"Going forward, fundamentally the parts certification process remains the same with parts being tested by trained and qualified engineers, thus retaining the already established high level of quality," said Thatcham in a statement. The alignment with TÜV Rheinland would, however, enable significant improvements in the logistics of auditing manufacturers’ worldwide production facilities. These will now be carried out by local TÜV qualified engineers.
The new partnership will enable parts to be tested on a global platform more quickly, increasing the market penetration and promoting a greater volume of available certified parts at competitive prices for repairers and insurers to specify.
Formed by British insurers in 1969, Thatcham is independently operated and has its own Board of Directors. Its main aim is to carry out research targeted at containing or reducing the cost of motor insurance claims, while maintaining safety standards. Thatcham provides products and services for a number of functional areas within the collision repair industry including insurers, OEMs, equipment manufacturers, and suppliers. The center employs more than 140 staff members.
"Thatcham has an established reputation as an automotive standard setter and a proven capability in delivering an array of totally unique, high-quality, ready-to-use, and bespoke products and services to the automotive industry, on a global stage," added the organization’s statement.