Brazilian Cars Fail Basic Safety Tests

A study concludes that popular car models, made in Brazil, are a serious risk to fatal injuries to drivers and passengers.

I have stated before that manufactured goods in Brazil, specifically consumer goods at all levels, have a much lower quality standard, than similar products made in Europe or the USA. Brazil is in many ways still a lawless Wild West market, where manufacturers can dump any product for any price. Even products made by multinationals, as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and many others, have in Brazil often a lower quality and more dubious artificial and chemical additives, than products in Europe marketed under the same brand name.

And it is the same with the automotive industry. A new round of tests under the safety assessment program for new cars, organized by the Latin NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), found that the most popular models sold and made in Brazil have a high risk of fatal injury to drivers and passengers, in the event of a frontal collision.

Seven basic models of the country’s top automakers – Volkswagen, Fiat, General Motors, Ford and Peugeot – were classified with a “one” on a scale from zero (lowest) to five (highest quality standard in terms of safety). This means that the safety of the best sold cars in the country is equivalent to that of European cars 20 years ago, concludes the Latin NCAP, which is a joint initiative of the International Automobile Federation, the Global New Car Assessment Programme, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and other research institutions.

Among the models which failed the tests are the Gol Trend (Volkswagen), the New Uno and Palio ELX (Fiat), Celta and Corsa Classic (General Motors), KA (Ford) and the Peugeot 207. All models were without airbags. According to the Latin NCAP, the test results “clearly show the benefits of the airbag”.
Among the car models with airbag tested by the program, the lowest score was 3. The Toyota Corolla with two airbags, for example, achieved grade 4, while the Chevrolet Meriva GL with the same equipment, scored a 3.

“The airbag is a supplementary restraint system and must be used together with the seat belt and not as an alternative to it”, the study warns. The Latin NCAP reports that the airbag is, since 1990, a safety standard for Ford cars in the USA. And that the use of lateral airbags was introduced by Volvo in 1995. The cost of producing an air bag unit, according to the study, is USD 50.

But the situation is even worse for the Brazilian consumer. The tests proved another more serious problem in the national models, besides the absence of airbags. The tests showed that the bodies of the Made-in-Brazil cars are fragile, unable to withstand strong impacts, and have dangerous structures that present serious risks of injury and even mortal risks to its passengers, especially the area around the head of the driver. These weak structural points essentially are there to protect passengers and prevent injuries.

And look what the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea) has as comment. The same old, and short-sighted, answer you get all over the world where multinationals are dominating the market.
Asked to comment on the results of the new round of Latin NCAP tests, the National Association of Vehicle Manufacturers (Anfavea) reported that the vehicles produced in Brazil meet all legal requirements for safety and emissions of pollutants existing in the country.
Nice answer: we follow the law. In a country where consumer protection is almost lawless and if there are laws protecting the consumer, toothless, industry never considered that ethics, morality and social responsibility should inevitably belong to the characteristics of the industrial world. Multinationals have to be part of the economic and social development of a country in which they operate.
The Anfavea answer is a shame.

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