Fiat recalls Grande Punto after Which? callUnique Which? tests found safety plate missing

05 October 2006

A Fiat car promoted for its safety is being recalled after Which? exposed how drivers could suffer severe knee injuries in a crash.

We first appealed for the recall last month after our inspectors uncovered a missing safety device in the right-hand-drive models of the Fiat Grande Punto supermini.

However, Fiat has yet to specify when it will begin recalling the affected cars to make the necessary changes. So far, 20,000 Grande Punto superminis have been sold in the UK.

Safety claims

Malcolm Coles, Editor of which.co.uk, said: ‘We were particularly disappointed to find this problem on a car that’s been so heavily promoted on the strength of its crash safety. 

‘We’re very pleased that Fiat has agreed to modify affected UK models, but now it’s important that the company contacts owners as soon as possible so they’re not driving around in a car that’s not as safe as was claimed. We’ll be putting all the information Fiat gives us on our website.’

The UK model doesn’t have a metal plate in the steering column, which is designed to spread the load of a knee impact in the event of a serious frontal collision.

The lack of the plate means the UK car would only get a four-star Euro NCAP crash test score – not the maximum five stars which is used in Fiat's advertising campaign.

Recall agreed

The manufacturer has agreed to recall and update all affected cars after Which? alerted both Euro NCAP and Fiat to the problem. But Fiat has yet to say how many cars are affected or confirm relevant vehicle identification numbers (VINs).

Which? has independently tested the safety of more than 650 cars since 1983, and our unique safety rating scores are the only comprehensive guide to how well a UK-specification car can withstand a crash.