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Several Chinese electric cars get five-star safety ratings in Europe

Chinese electric car manufacturers are targeting European drivers and large corporate customers, hoping to use “five-star” models to win their favor. Not only are these cars more affordable, but they also have top safety ratings and many high-tech features.

Over the past few months, several Chinese EVs have received five-star ratings from Europe’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). To earn this rating, vehicles need to be equipped with active and passive safety features that go well beyond the basic requirements of the law.

Gu Hongdi, president of Chinese EV maker Xpeng, said: “All Chinese EV makers want to get a five-star Euro NCAP rating in order to be more competitive in the European market.”

Gu Hongdi added that over the past three years, Xiaopeng has been building stores and service centers in countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and will officially launch the electric P7 sedan and G9 SUV in these four countries next year.

Matthew Avery, director of Thatcham Research, a British car research center funded by insurers and a member of the NCAP board, said Chinese EV makers had recognized that safety played an extremely important role in the sales process.

NCAP’s five-star rating is seen as key to dispelling European concerns about the quality of Chinese-made cars, with severe crash test failures in 2006 and 2007 giving the impression that Chinese cars are less safe.

Perhaps more important to sales, the high safety ratings also open up a potentially huge corporate fleet market for Chinese EV makers. In key markets including Germany, France and the United Kingdom, corporate fleet sales account for about half of all vehicle sales, and safety is a top priority for many corporate buyers.

“Corporate fleet sales are very important, and many companies emphasize five-star ratings when buying a car,” Avery said.

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