By Winstone Group Inc. | Attorney Salazar, Alberto
The Latin American New Car Assessment Program (Latin NCAP)'s new crash test results indicate that popular cars sold by vehicle manufacturers in Latin America pose an unacceptably high risk of death or injury in the event of a crash.
Certain auto parts manufacturers and auto manufacturers doing business in Latin America need to ensure consumers buy safe entry-level model vehicles. The crash test results demonstrate that the Nissan Tsuru, Renault Clio Mio, Suzuki Alto K10 and Chevrolet Agile all provide inadequate protection for occupants. These popular entry-level models are sold with no airbags and body structures that collapse onto the occupants inside the automobile. The top global companies continue to provide sub-standard safety protection across the Latin American market with 0 star ratings, according to NCAP. The new SEAT Leon, the Spanish manufacturer, received the first 5 star rating from the Latin NCAP.
The manufacturers should expect the Latin Americans to be furious with the results. Its unethical and economic nonsense for global manufacturers building and selling unsafe cars in Latin America while building and selling good, safe, 5 star cars at affordable prices in the US and Europe. Unless serious and immediate positive changes occur in the very near future, these manufacturers will lose orders and lay off employees. The Latin Americans will buy the SEAT Leon that provides the level of protection expected by the people.
The global manufacturers must build in accordance with global standards. Building to meet the minimal local requirements is counterproductive for the future of the manufacturer and imposes an unacceptable risk of death or serious bodily harm for the consumer. Its disingenuous for the manufacturers to state that they build autos in compliance with local regulations known to be unsafe for the occupants.
Latin America is the fastest growing market in the world. The US economy is on life-support and the European economy is in a coma. As weak sales continue to diminish profits in the US and in Europe, it appears that auto manufacturers cut costs by providing inadequate protection for the Latin American consumers. In order to ensure the Japanese auto manufacturers and part manufacturers succeed in Latin America, the manufacturers should be selling highly safe autos that meet or exceed the UN global standards.
Continuing with the current course of selling unsafe autos, loss of market share by infuriating the Latin Americans is a given outcome. SEAT with the new Leon (Barcelona Spain) gets the economics of selling autos with high levels of safety in Latin America.
WINSTONE represents auto manufacturers and auto parts companies entering the Mexican and Brazilian markets. Winstone is lobbying to get the manufacturers to voluntarily comply with the U.N.'s minimum crash safety standards despite the much lower existing safety standards in Latin America.