Euro NCAP is driving vehicle manufacturers to make safer cars - one of the most powerful men in the motor industry, said today. Louis Schweitzer, Chairman and CEO of Renault, paid tribute to the enormous strides in vehicle safety brought about by Euro NCAP - Europe's pioneering safety organization.

Speaking at The Paris Motor Show, Mr Schweitzer said that the organization had the respect of the motoring industry and was playing a vital role in driving innovation to make cars safer.

"Euro NCAP is driving us to make safer cars," said Mr. Schweitzer.

He told Euro NCAP Chairman, Prof. Claes Tingvall that the industry's and the public's attitude to safety had changed radically in recent years. "Five years ago safety was a very low consideration when buying a new car," said Mr. Schweitzer, "Now it is one of the most important factors. "The industry respects the work of Euro NCAP - we all think that it is fair - it has created a level playing field for manufacturers.

"Euro NCAP provides the facts that either back or buck manufacturers' claims about a car - it provides a vital reality check."

The comments came as Euro NCAP Chairman Claes Tingvall, presented Mr. Schweitzer with official certification marking the award of five stars for occupant safety to the Renault Modus - the first Supermini to receive this status.

Prof. Tingvall said: "Renault deserves credit for its continued quest to build safer cars. This is the seventh five star award to be made to the company - a real milestone in motoring,

"Euro NCAP is making major inroads in ensuring that safety is one of the essential market forces driving change in car design and manufacture.