BONN, Germany - Chinese automaker Brilliance Jinbei Automotive already is dealing with a safety issue. The BS6 sedan, which is due to arrive at European dealers this month, failed the European Unions side-impact test.
Brilliance is the latest Chinese automaker to struggle to get its cars to meet EU safety standards. Sales of Jiangling Holdings Landwind SUV were crippled last summer after it badly failed a crash test soon after its launch.
But Hans-Ulrich Sachs, managing director of HSO Motors Europe, Brilliances importer for Europe, is confident the brands introduction will not be stalled by safety concerns.
We have two small things that we have to correct, then we will get the homologation. Sachs said in an interview here during the launch of the BS6. For the time being, we will work with the single-type approval. We have permission to do that, he added.
The car is built in a factory in Shenyang, near Chinas border with North Korea. The plant, in a joint venture with BMW, also builds BMWs 3- and 5-series models for China.
With single-type approval Brilliance models can be registered for all EU member states even though they have not met all EU guidelines.
Single-type approval originally was meant for hobbyists building cars for personal use. Several carmakers use the same loophole for low-volume models. Jiangling used single-type approval for the Landwind SUV, which is now known as the X-Pedition, until sales of the SUV were stopped after it failed a crash test conducted by the German auto club ADAC.
Landwind aims to relaunch the SUV and launch a minivan in Europe next June.
Sachs said Brilliance engineers already are working to fix the problems of the BS6s.
Were sure we can find a solution, he said.
Brilliance should have a new version of the BS6 ready to crash test in early 2007, he said.
Engines meet standards
Sachs says the upper-medium car passed the EUs frontal-impact crash test. Its 2.0- and 2.4-liter gasoline engines both meet Euro 4 emission standards. German engineering company EDS worked on the Euro 3-compliant, Mitsubishi-sourced engines to make them meet Euro 4 rules, Sachs said.
Brilliance also asked German testing agency TÜV Nord to crash test the BS6 according to the guidelines of independent research group EuroNCAP to determine how many stars it would earn. The result was two stars out of a possible five.
It is our target to achieve three and four stars as soon as possible, Sachs said. He added that it wasnt that long ago that premium German carmakers had just two stars.
You may e-mail Douglas A. Bolduc at [email protected]