Southeast Asia’s new-car safety program says new vehicles sold in the region are becoming safer thanks to its efforts.

Khairil Anwar Abu Kassim, secretary-general of the New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian Countries, says the group has had significant influence on the automobile industry as more manufacturers meet consumer demands to produce safer cars.

“The (Volkswagen) Vento and several other car models that have been assessed by ASEAN NCAP are good examples of this, and we hope more manufacturers will follow suit,” Kassim says in a statement.

The statement accompanies ASEAN NCAP’s release of the results of its assessment of the newly launched Vento. This was based on the VW Polo Sedan’s ASEAN NCAP result from October 2013.

With the Vento set to replace the Polo sedan in the market, VW provided evidence its 1.2L variant has been upgraded to include electronic stability control.

But because ASEAN NCAP requires ESC before a vehicle is awarded the top 5-star rating, Vento is getting two grades: The 1.2L variant wins five stars because it is fitted with ESC, but the 1.6L variant gets only four stars because it lacks ESC.

ASEAN NCAP Chairman Wong Shaw Voon says VW should be proud of its decision to include ESC in the Polo sedan’s Vento successor.

“The Polo sedan had already obtained a good result, but Volkswagen strived to go beyond the regulations by installing ESC in this new model,” Voon says. “This shows that safety has become a key concern for manufacturers when introducing new models for consumers.”

For child protection, the Vento met 85% compliance within the 4-star range.

ASEAN NCAP is a collaboration between the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research and Global NCAP, a worldwide vehicle-safety-assessment initiative. It also is supported by automobile associations in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.