New Car Assessment Program

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Consumer information label for a vehicle with at least one NCAP star rating

A New Car Assessment Program (or Programme) is a government car safety program tasked with evaluating new automobile designs for performance against various safety threats.


The first NCAP was created in 1979, by the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This program was established in response to Title II of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972, to encourage manufacturers to build safer vehicles and consumers to buy them. Over time, the agency improved the program by adding rating programs, facilitating access to test results, and revising the format of the information to make it easier for consumers to understand.[1] NHTSA asserts the program has influenced manufacturers to build vehicles that consistently achieve high ratings.[1]

The first standardized, 35 mph front crash test was May 21, 1979, and the first results were released October 15 that year. The agency established a frontal impact test protocol based on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 (“Occupant Crash Protection”), except that the frontal 4 NCAP test is conducted at 56 km/h (35 mph), rather than 48 km/h (30 mph) as required by FMVSS No. 208.

The European program, Euro NCAP, was founded in 1997 by the Transport Research Laboratory for the UK Department for Transport and backed by several European governments, as well as by the European Union.[2] Based in Brussels, Belgium, the European program was modeled on the American program.[1] Other areas with similar programmes include Australia and New Zealand with ANCAP,[3] Latin America with Latin NCAP and China with C-NCAP.[4] Plans for a Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program for India have been discussed, but as an interim, Global NCAP has been performing consumer crash tests on popular Indian models, as part of its Safer Cars for India research project.[5] Similarly, Global NCAP conducts crash tests in South Africa, under its Safer Cars for Africa project. In Russia, the AutoReview Car Assessment Programme (ARCAP) has been conducting consumer crash tests but is not recognised as an NCAP and often uses subjective evaluation methods on a case-to-case basis.[6]

In the 2000s, the American agency sought to improve the dissemination of NCAP ratings and as a result of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU). It did so by issuing a Final Rule requiring manufacturers to place NCAP star ratings on the Monroney sticker (automobile price sticker). The rule has a September 1, 2007 compliance date.[7]

In 2022, under the Infrastructure Law and reacting to recommendations from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the American agency introduced a new proposal for updating its version of NCAP. The proposal included four new technologies in driver assistance - Blind spot monitoring and intervention, electronic lane-keeping, and computerized emergency braking systems protecting pedestrians. This was the first time NCAP addressed the safety of individuals outside of a vehicle. The proposal also makes provision for a 10-year road map to keep up with the latest innovation and technology.[8]

In June 2022, the US NCAP received criticism from the National Transportation Safety Board which considers that the 5-Star Safety Rating Program that Americans use “fails consumers” by not including collision avoidance system and other technologies. When compared to the European Euro NCAP, the NHTSA rating system lacks forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems, lane departure warning systems, driver monitoring systems, and other active and passive component designed to also protect pedestrians and bicyclists, according to NTSB.[9]


Different NCAPs are:

Name Abbreviation Founded Location
United States New Car Assessment Program US NCAP (U.S. NCAP) 1978 Washington, DC, USA
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety IIHS 1959, Ratings from 1995 Arlington, VA, USA
Australasian New Car Assessment Program ANCAP 1993 Canberra, Australia
Japan New Car Assessment Programme JNCAP 1995 Tokyo, Japan
European New Car Assessment Programme Euro NCAP 1996 Leuven, Belgium
Korean New Car Assessment Programme KNCAP 1999 Seoul, South Korea
China – New Car Assessment Programme C-NCAP 2006 Tianjin, China
Latin New Car Assessment Programme Latin NCAP 2010 Montevideo, Uruguay
New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asia ASEAN NCAP 2011 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia
Global New Car Assessment Programme Global NCAP 2011 London, Great Britain
Taiwan New Car Assessment Program TNCAP 2018, Ratings from 2023 Changhua, Taiwan
Green NCAP (operated by Euro NCAP for emissions) Green NCAP 2019 Leuven, Belgium
Bharat New Car Assessment Program Bharat NCAP 2023 Pune, India


  1. ^ a b c "The New Car Assessment Program Suggested Approaches for Future Program Enhancements" (PDF). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. January 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  2. ^ Pernille Larsen (2011-05-25). "FIA Region I . Euro NCAP's standard set for upcoming electric and range-extender cars". Retrieved 2011-11-02.
  3. ^ "ANCAP and EuroNCAP now aligned…". Practical Motoring. 2018-01-01. Retrieved 2020-07-11.
  4. ^ "中国新车评价规程(C-NCAP)官方网站" [China's new car evaluation procedures (C-NCAP) official website] (in Chinese). China: C-NCAP. Archived from the original on 2017-02-15. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  5. ^ "#SaferCarsForIndia". Global NCAP. Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  6. ^ "О рейтинге — Авторевю". Retrieved 2022-01-02.
  7. ^ U.S. NCAP enhancements for 2007 Archived October 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Ramsey, Jonathon (15 March 2022). "NHTSA proposes six ways to improve New Car Assessment Program". Autoblog.
  9. ^ "Automobile Safety Rating System Is Failing Consumers" (Press release). US: National Transportation Safety Board. 2022-06-03. Retrieved 2022-07-25. Today, safety is not only about crashworthiness, but increasingly about crash avoidance, (...) Yet many of these life-saving technologies the NTSB has been recommending for decades are not included in the 5-Star Rating Program. How is it possible that a car in the U.S. with none of the currently available collision-prevention technologies could get a top rating? It's unacceptable. (...) Technologies that the European Union started to mandate this year, that Euro NCAP is starting to rate next year, and that the NTSB has been recommending be required for years, are only now starting to be considered by NHTSA. The NCAP program will not fulfill its purpose of informing consumers unless NHTSA can keep pace with the emergence and development of safety technologies.

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