Ford Motor Co. of Australia Ltd.’s FG Falcon becomes the first Australian-made car to achieve a 5-star safety ranking in the Australian New Car Assessment Program.

The sedan received a score of 34.6 points out of a possible 37 points, giving it the highest score ever recorded by an Australian produced car.

The score places the vehicle in the top 7% of all published ANCAP results and in the company of such exulted cars as the Mercedes C-Class, BMW 3-Series and Renault Laguna.

To be awarded the maximum 5-star rating, in addition to scoring at least 32.5 points overall, a vehicle must meet specific requirements. These include a minimum score of 12.5 points in an offset frontal crash test; a minimum 12.5 points in a side-impact test; and one point in a pole-impact test. Additionally, the vehicle must be equipped with electronic stability control.

The Falcon results gives Ford Australia some bragging rights, as rival GM Holden Ltd.’s VE Commodore earned only a 4-star ranking, as did Toyota Motor Corp. Australia Ltd.’s locally produced Camry and Aurion.

The 5-star result also will allow Ford to promote the vehicle in dealerships with a special ANCAP sticker.

“The (gasoline) FG Falcon sedan range has been judged by ANCAP as being the safety leader among locally manufactured vehicles, cementing Ford’s long-standing reputation for safety leadership in Australia,” Ford Australia President Bill Osborne says.

Ford Australia says some 38 different vehicle crash modes were investigated during the vehicle’s development, with 426 physical crash tests and more than 5,000 simulated crash tests.