By on December 6, 2013

2013 Nissan Tsuru Latin NCAP

Should you find yourself renting a Chevrolet Spark in Acapulco in the near future, beware: it won’t have the same safety features — as in none at all — as the Spark exported to your local dealership. In fact, unless a car or truck screwed together in Mexico is bound for the United States or Europe, only the bare minimum, if any, in safety features will be available to customers in Latin America shopping for base models.

The results? Cars whose sticker prices in Mexico are higher than in the United States in spite of having less safety features than those shipped abroad, for one. For another, higher road fatalities south of the border; over 5,000 drivers and their passengers lost their lives in 2011, a 58 percent increase since 2001. Alas, the Mexican government’s hands are tied when it comes to drafting, passing and enforcing the sort of laws that would bring an end to this particular double standard.

The reason for is said to be cost savings: Automakers doing business in Mexico go so far as to code their production lines in determining which car goes to export and those that remain in Latin America. For the latter, this means a couple of air bags and a few seat belts, and nothing more. This two-tiered approach holds up the bottom line, one that is beneficial to Mexico’s economy to the tune of $30 billion annually.

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70 Comments on “Double Safety Standards Abound in Latin America, Global Markets...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Nothing to see here. People grew up driving cars with 0 airbags and not wearing seatbelts, some died. In Russia, people would look at me like I was from another planet when I instinctively put my seat belt on. No mandatory airbags over there, they are optional on most Ladas and other cheaper cars on the market.

    Not saying that we should regress on any safety standards, just noting that this is not some sort of revelation and that we should be morally outraged.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Cars whose sticker prices in Mexico are higher than in the United States in spite of having less safety features than those shipped abroad”

      That seems worthy of a little outrage to me.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Probably has to do with their tax system. I know cars there are just generally more expensive than the exact same ones here (i.e. a BMW).

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Yeah, after import tariffs and whatever else, something like a loaded Hyundai Tuscon is close to $41,000 in Russia. It’s not apples to apples in terms of pricing when looking at other countries.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Wonder how much that Tundra Crewmax and the big Infiniti QX56 were in Siberia then.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            With the displacement tax and other things, I have little doubt that a QX56 brushes up on $100k.

            Russians love big cars, and only buy B and C-class size autos by necessity. As soon as they can afford the fuel and purchase price, they hop in an SUV or a van. There isn’t any soccer mom stigma associated with those vehicles, a guy behind the wheel of a new minivan is seen as a successful family man. A Used JDM Landcruiser is an object of desire in Siberia.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        What business is it of ours regarding Mexico’s (or any other country’s) resolution of the tradeoff between safety and economics?
        “Gtenmynkh” has it right: lots of us over-60 Americans grew up riding in and driving cars that lacked these safety features . . . and more, if you count the pathetic drum brakes that were standard on most cars until the 1970s or you consider the “greasy” bias-ply tires that also were standard on most cars up to and beyond the same time. Of course, you could buy Michelin-X’s, which were radials, but they self-destructed at speeds over 75 mph. Not to mention the ubiquitous and popular VW Beetle, which had its fuel tank in the front of the car, above the driver and front seat passenger’s legs, and which could easily be driven into snap oversteer with no warning to the driver, usually rolling the car.

        I can imagine that the basic design of the car body — which now has a major role in absorbing impacts — comes in two versions: one a US-compliant version and another for 3rd world markets.

        So, I kind of doubt that these folks are getting the equivalent of 1960s cars, even if they don’t meet all of today’s US standards.

        • 0 avatar
          WhiskerDaVinci

          In Mexico, car accident related deaths are a huge problem. It’s a lack of any meaningful safety equipment requirements combined with careless driving. Low and high speed accidents cause severe injuries. A lot of people come up here to to the US to buy a used car and bring it back, with safety being something referenced a lot of the time. I lived down there for a year not long ago, and it wasn’t uncommon to see huge damage from small impacts.

          Watching Latin NCAP tests show that while they aren’t getting 1960 equivalent cars, they aren’t that much better either.

        • 0 avatar
          Wheatridger

          Ah, the Good Old Days, right? When driving was a blood sport, like bullfighting.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          “I kind of doubt that these folks are getting the equivalent of 1960s cars”

          Latin NCAP claims that Latin America is about two decades behind.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I still do.

      I guess the problem here is the same plants make a safe model for US / Canada consumption, and then a Latin American model with all the safety ripped out.

      Also from the article on the latin ncap it honestly is a very limited test and fails to test possibly more important safety features.

      Funny thing ladas can now be had with airbags, abs, stability control. Still an option i believe but nice to have.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s even better in Russia: they use seatbelt stubs to make cars to stop beeping.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Some US States have JUST passed requirements for mandatory seatbelt usage.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Every state except New Hampshire has seat belt requirements.

        The last state to impose a seat belt requirement is Maine, and it did so eighteen years ago.

        Time to get off of the Australian Disinformation Express.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          “Every state except New Hampshire has seat belt requirements.”

          Try reading comprehension. That is what I said.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Some US States have JUST passed requirements for mandatory seatbelt usage.”

            The last state that added a seatbelt requirement was Maine, and that was in 1995.

            I realize that you’re in a different time zone and a bit behind, but even in Oz, 1995 didn’t “JUST” happen.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @PCH101,
            “Every state except New Hampshire has seat belt requirements.”
            I assume NH is not in some sort of Time warp and that is current.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            New Hampshire didn’t “JUST” pass a seat belt law. It doesn’t have such a law at all.

            The other 49 states and DC didn’t “JUST” require seat belts. They’ve required them for eighteen years or more.

            As usual, you get it wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            “New Hampshire didn’t “JUST” pass a seat belt law. It doesn’t have such a law at all.”
            That is what I said in the first place???

        • 0 avatar
          mkirk

          “Live Free or Die!”

  • avatar

    Some automakers are more interested in profits over safety and so they will try to find cost cutting measures to save money. Also, instead of making a safety feature standard equipment they want to charge you extra for it. That is, unless the government forces them to make standard

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Interesting enough current us car safety has little to do with government. About the only thing they made mandatory recently was stability control which at that point nearly every car had anyway. The last real innovation they pushed was the third brake light.

      Our safety is mostly influenced by consumers and industry who push for safer cars and things like IIHS which pushes cars to be safer by doing its own testing. I mean who looks at the results of a car on the US NCAP program. No one because everything gets 5 stars.

      But this is to be expected these countries have little to no safety requirements to begin with. Most set a age cutoff, and real odd emissions standards ( iirc mexico is only on EPA 1998! ). Heck some countries like Belize have no emissions standards, no safety standards, and no age cuttoff. Anything can pretty much come in as long as you pay the import tariffs.

      • 0 avatar
        OldandSlow

        Hey Onus, have you noticed that post 2008 cars all have tire pressure monitoring systems?

        Google “TPMS Legislation – NTSA”

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Onus may not be 100% factually correct, but his point is that in the developed world, auto manufacturers are introducing safety features without prodding from legislation. I think he’s right about that.

          Automakers today improve safety because wealthy and middle class consumers demand safer cars and are willing to pay the additional costs.

          In the developing world, most consumers don’t have the ‘luxury’ of safer automobiles. Until we resolve that income disparity, the car safety disparity will remain.

          • 0 avatar
            OldandSlow

            10 years ago I had the option to choose a vehicle that didn’t have ABS, ESC or a TPMS.

            South of the border those regs don’t exist and manufacturers don’t provide them in their base models. Crash testing is a new factor in their market.

            Safety improvements are a pincer movement in the US between the gov and the insurance industry. Throw in the press, i.e. Consumer Reports, Network pseudo investigative news.

            To go with the tire pressure monitors, big gov mandated that all cars should have an ABS and an ESC as standard.

            Google “Electronic Stability Control NTSA”

            Yes – the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does play a big roll in the progression of crash worthiness, as does the minimal NTSA star rating. Both have been moving the goal posts.

            Toyota for example is making darn sure that the 2015 Camry passes the IIHS corner barrier tests – but until then they can claim that the Camry meets all government safety requirements. – Enter Consumer reports or whatever be afraid, be very afraid type of medial coverage and I’m sure Toyota will up their game.

            If a vehicle only gets a one or two star NTSA rating on a particular vehicle – that will really kill sales in the US.

            The point is both the gov and the insurance institute play a role in advancement of crash worthiness and collision avoidance in the US.

            The government regs are more a less a bottom rung of the ladder. In other words, I can’t opt out of the TPMS or ESC features on a new car or SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            I will be purchasing a 15 Camry Hybrid the day it passes the new small overlap test … but it better pass at the highest grade. If not, I will be looking at the 15 Accord Hybrid.

            I will also be purchasing a 14 Highlander, but only if it also passes the new small overlap test at the highest grade. Else, it will be a 15 Honda Pilot.

            Most years, I purchase up to 3 new vehicles, but this year, I only purchased a new MDX, because I am waiting for Toyota to achieve the highest grade in that test.

            As far as a media bias, I am amazed how the media is all over Toyota for failing this test, when nearly every vehicle fails to get the top grade in that test. It appears Honda and Volvo are the only brands that consistently get top grades in the small overlap, but the media also fails to mention that. Now, if a Detroit brand did well consistently well, we would hear all about that. Just leftist UAW bias.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          Sorry i left that one out but, it doesn’t change what i said.

          But, these were all adopted after they were widely available. It used to be that things were legislated before hand. Examples like 3rd brake light, and side markers.

          On a side note the lower post my 23 year old truck has ABS only rear wheel and primitive but abs.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Front and side airbags, ESC (therefore the equipment to also include ABS) and, yes, TPMS, are all requirements for the US market. Mitsubishi would love make those options with 1000 percent markup on the Mirage.

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskerDaVinci

        There’s still a big difference between building your car to the test, and building to actually save lives. Look at Toyota, Hyundai and Kia with the new small overlap test, they’re “good” in every other test, but fail hard at small overlap. Even Mercedes and Audi missed there a bit, and Mercedes went back to improve it. Acura and Honda did well above average with most cars as well. I’m safer in a Volvo than a BMW because Volvo seems more interested in keeping me alive after a crash than BMW. There isn’t a “[insert marque here] saved my life” website for anyone except Volvo. Which is why I own a Volvo and a Saab.

        Honda indicates illustrates that you don’t have to be a luxury marque to properly engineer proper safety into your cars. It’s also part of why Toyota stopped advertising on it’s safety, because third-party testing revealed they really aren’t in the safety business.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Small overlap is a new test. The automakers haven’t had time to respond to it.

          With product cycles being what they are, it will take at least a few years before the designs will match the test. Retrofitting existing designs probably won’t help in most cases; some engineering from the ground up will likely be necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      All automakers, not some, are more interested in profits than safety. As in, profits keeps your business going. Safety (possibly) keeps the government off your backs.

      The last I noticed, every automaker in the world is dedicated to making a profit – at least in theory.

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskerDaVinci

        Not all are more interested interested in profits over safety. Right or or wrong, Volvo continues to lose money partly because of their insane commitment to safety. Buying a Volvo in the US is the same as buying a Volvo anywhere else, they’re all built to the same safety specs no matter where they go. They’re keeping no government off their backs with their very high safety standards. Which makes them the one, very odd exception haha. Just them from what I can tell though.

        Their whole “No deaths by 2020″ campaign seems more important to them then the idea of cutting out safety to sell more cars.

  • avatar
    ash78

    This makes me think of an idea I heard during Cash for Clunkers — why weren’t we sending them over the border instead of crushing them? A lot of these 10-year-old cars were safer, cleaner, and more useful to an average Mexican car shopper’s new options, anyway. And I don’t mean this in some kind of weird paternalistic norteamericano sense…it’s just practical and could have created a lot of new import/export business along the way.

    The Libertarian in me likes the idea of a car with optional safety features, but when someone 20 miles away in Texas can buy a better, safer version of the car for substantially less money, then someone involved is preventing free market exchange. Do we know how much of the difference is simply taxation?

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      I suppose mexicans could go to the us to buy cars. Would it count as used then?

      I lean Libertarian too and i always get caught up in these situations where companies abuse the system and break the free market. Though i imagine as demand grows in mexico for safer cars they will get better cars without government regulation ( much like the us where safety improvements haven’t been due to government regulations ).

      • 0 avatar
        AMC_CJ

        Companies abuse the system and break free markets because of government interference.

        Look no farther then Tesla and various states blocking their dealership model. Big companies, with money, essentially buying legislation. Take that power away from the government itself, and the companies are powerless.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          I hear you there. I have found that companies are all free market until it works against them. Then they will put in whatever regs in to benefit them free market be damned.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, there is a very large segment of the low income population who prefer to buy a clunker US car, some in very bad shape even with Salvage titles, but cheap, unfortunately these are poorly maintained so polluting as steam locomotives or lacking the safety systems which in theory makes them better than the made for Mexico, for ex, if an ABS warning comes up, no problem remove the system and take out the bulb!!! same goes for steering parts, transmissions etc.
        We call those cars “Carros Chocolates” a word play of “Chueco” meaning not with the required legal papers.
        Most of them looks very much like the LeMons cars.
        Really, the US is making NO favor by letting all that junk to come into Mexico.
        The car must have at least certain age (not sure if 6 to 10 years old) to be able to be imported to Mexico.

        Of course there are exceptions of well maintained cars but these are not the rule.
        Saludos!

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Up to recently, safety was an individual choice down South rather than a mandate from a government agency. If you wanted safety, you bought a Tahoe with all the boxes checked off – which in the end could cost you as much as small house in their market.

    That ancient Sentra B13 in the photo has seen better days. Because it is one of the least expensive vehicles sold in Mexico, it is still the most popular car sold there – A.K.A. as the Tsuru. The most stripped out version sells for around $10K.

    Brazil and Argentina just upped their safety standards a bit – which allegedly was the final nail in the coffin for the 40 year old VW Kombi. – VW wasn’t prepared to put the needed engineering into an old platform that is sold only in South American market.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I love Grand Cayman, so my wife and I visit often. When you get the cheapest rental car available you are likely to get a mid-2000s Daihatsu Charade.
    http://www.valuemd.com/attachments/auc-medical-school-classifieds/19912d1322792355-2005-daihatsu-charade-p101085711.jpg
    It is tiny, I once parked it next to a local’s extra cab F150 and took a picture because it was so comical. The thing that concerns me about it is that it has no air bag and all the panels are shockingly thin.
    Fortunately the speed limits don’t go much above 50mph (the Charade’s speedo is only in KPH, of course) and they liberally use traffic circles instead of signaled intersections which reduces the chances of a side impact. But after having driven it 4 times now, next time I think we’re going to pony up the money for a car with some 21st century components (yes, it has a tape deck).

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” Alas, the Mexican government’s hands are tied when it comes to drafting, passing and enforcing the sort of laws that would bring an end to this particular double standard. ”

    How is this ? .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    I guarantee these companies are not leaving features out because of what they can save but because of what they can charge. You want the 50 marginal cost to us side air bags and ABS back in the car? That will be 1000.

    Still, the Mexicans, at least, get some relief in a much more consumer oriented pharma market.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The difference isn’t just a matter of safety features. The US-market cars are also built with more structural reinforcement so that they can perform better in crash tests.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Not really. Remember Pickups destined for the US are built in Mexico, same vehicle coming off the assembly line, but airbags seat belts are optional.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Yes, really. You and your alter ego Al really need to do your homework.

        “A number of the vehicles tested by Latin NCAP to date have demonstrated ***major structural differences*** when compared to the same model produced for a different market, resulting in reduced crashworthiness”

        http://www.globalncap.org/ancap-some-world-cars-not-necessarily-safe-cars/

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          ““A number of the vehicles tested by Latin NCAP to date have demonstrated ***major structural differences*** when compared to the same model produced for a different market, resulting in reduced crashworthiness”

          Again reading comprehension does help here. They did not mention Pickups, which come off the same assembly line bound for the US.
          That was an Australian study you are referring too and they said specifically.
          “The Renault Sandero and Chinese manufactured JAC J3 were the worst performers of the eight cars tested in Phase III of Latin NCAP crash testing – both with an extremely poor 1 star safety rating. The Volkswagen Clasico (Bora) also scored poorly with a 3 star safety rating. Progress has been made however with a number of Latin American-sold models achieving 4 star safety ratings. These include the Volkswagen Polo, Renault Fluence, Honda City, Toyota Etios and Ford Fiesta.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I would say that this is like talking to a wall, but that would be insulting to the wall.

            Vehicles can and are built to different safety standards on the same line. Not only is it possible, but it’s quite commonplace. The US cars get better and more materials, more and better welds, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @PCH101,
            “Vehicles can and are built to different safety standards on the same line. Not only is it possible, but it’s quite commonplace. The US cars get better and more materials, more and better welds, etc.”

            Well when did we make that up? Any references? “Different Safety standards on the same line”, Now that is a new one. You can get options vehicle safety no.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I have to remind myself that you’re the same guy who couldn’t figure out that there is no chicken tax on Aussie trucks, despite the wealth of evidence that was spoon fed to you.

            What do you think the Europeans do when they build US-spec cars? Are you under the impression that they operate separate secret factories for the American market vehicles? Even you ought to figure out that the output on the same line can be varied to deal with different safety standards.

            It’s odd how you and Al both make identical erroneous assumptions and make similarly inaccurate statements. Just because cars share a platform does not mean that they deliver the same crash test results for all markets. The US cars get more reinforcement.

  • avatar
    epc

    In China, there is no government-mandated standard for rear crash safety. Therefore, in lower-priced cars, there are only Styrofoam blocks between the rear bumper skin and the body. No steel beam.

    Everyone from Toyota to VW to local Chinese brands does this.

    Watching how international and local companies operate in third world countries where government oversight is weak, I have become a firm believer that bigger governments are a necessary evil. You simply cannot leave it up to the company or its senior management to do the right thing for the environment and customer safety.

  • avatar
    otter

    Automakers generally do not put anything into a car for a given market, at least as standard, that they don’t have to. That need can be driven either by customer demand, government legislation, or both. Airbag requirements in the US were originally legislatively-driven but long ago became consumer-driven – American car buyers want lots of airbags, and lots of other standard equipment too, which is why US-market cars tend to be higher-spec than most ROW cars of the same type. Many LatAm markets do not require things like airbags or compliance with crash test standards, so the cars don’t meet them – these markets are much more price-sensitive than US markets. Our family cars – locally-built versions of big US wagons – in Venezuela when I was a kid didn’t have rear seatbelts at all, because they were not required. We had to have them installed by a dealer in order to fit our car seats, which were themselves brought in from the US.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    As Bob Lutz has explained just having cage with steel is about 4x safer then motorcycles. So even the ‘unsafe’ cars that are being sold in Mexico are dramatically safer then the alternatives.

    Safety is always a moving target – you can make a car safer – but it will be just that ‘safer’ and not safe. We could implement even harsher safety requirements here and have everyone drive around in 6000lb tank like cars.

    Frankly I wonder why we have government mandated safety requirements at all when we allow motorcycles and bicycles on the street. Yeah I went there.. – even bikes aren’t safe.

    If we were really interested in safety banning those vehicles would save more lives then making sure we can crash into walls at 60mphs.. (Not that I think that’s a good idea – I am pointing at the inconsistency).

  • avatar
    Viquitor

    Yep, cars are not only more expensive and less efficient down here, but they are also more dangerous. And not only because we don’t get all the airbags, but also because we don’t get the right steel. Our cars are structurally weaker and have less welding points.

    Airbags and ABS have been around in Brazil since mid-90’s, but good luck finding an used car with those. Aircon and power locks, no problem. But there were not that many people willing to spend around a thousand dollars in frontal airbags. In recent years the average Brazilian car buyer became more demanding and cars are better equipped now. And frontal airbags and ABS are mandatory now.

    But the materials and assembling processes are still quite inferior. And thank NCAP for that, before Latin NCAP came along nobody outside the industry knew about this.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      May I suggest that you take a trip to Australia and spread the news? Some of them seem unable to comprehend your points.

      “before Latin NCAP came along nobody outside the industry knew about this.”

      One minor correction — governments have known this for quite some time. It’s not as if it’s possible to import Latin American market cars to Europe, where it’s no secret that those cars don’t meet EU standards.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        I’m not so sure the government knew, not at least in Brazil. Probably the government doesn’t even care – that’s how we roll here, the government won’t mind, unless there’s some tax to be collected in the process of doing something. Or when there’s construction work, they love those.

        Not public interest or safety, or consumers protection – Latin American governments are all about public funding and personal overseas investments, mostly is obscure places like Jersey or Panama. But I digress.

        The thing is, turns out brazilian factories can churn out the good stuff. Mk4 Golfs sold in the US were produced here. The Fox was sold in European markets until they replaced it with the Up. But here’s the catch: VW made the europe-bound cars in a whole other factory. Brazilian press said at the time that it was because of domestic demand and some safety regulations that were different here and in the EU. About three years after the European version started to be shipped overseas they released a sort-of Mk1.5 Fox that was closer to the EU-spec, but standard safety equipments were still quite different.

        We’ve been exporting Fiats to Europe since the early 1980’s, so the problem is the Brazilian manufacturing. Coding the production line guarantees that the same line can produce top-quality export models, and crappy domestic market lookalikes.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Developed nations all have safety and emissions standards, and they know which nations are likely to make cars that comply with their rules, and which ones that don’t.

          For example, the Europeans are well aware of the fact that most cars made for developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia will not meet their standards, regardless of the amount of modifications made to them. In contrast, cars made for the US can probably imported to Europe following certain modifications, while cars made for Japan and Singapore are fairly likely to qualify.

          For a time, the Gol was exported from Brazil to the US (with the Fox nameplate attached.) Presumably, it had to be modified to meet US standards of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            Viquitor

            Actually the Mk1 Voyage and the Parati were sold in the US during the 1980’s as the Fox and the Fox Wagon. And yes these were made very different from the Brazilian domestic market cars. Even the brake pedal was bigger, so the cars could be used with winter boots. I don’t think the Gol was ever sold in the US.

            The Fox I referred to is the PQ24 derivative.

  • avatar
    Saxphile

    It’s not just in developing markets that this is done. The vast majority of cars sold in Japan only have two airbags, and that’s including comparatively premium models like Alphard and Skyline. We get a lot of used cars from Japan in New Zealand, and it’s *really* hard to find a JDM used car that has more than two airbags.

  • avatar
    lon888

    This past summer while diving in Cozumel, Mexico we rented a brand new VW Gol that was Brazilian built. It had no air bags, no ABS, no traction control and it didn’t even have a seat belt warning light and buzzer. Yes, things are way different in Latin America, but that’s how the manufacturers make cars affordable for their developing middle-class.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    @PCH101,
    He does not have too , you are quoting from ANCAP an Australian website and what does this have to do with the gibberish you posted earlier?

    “Well when did we make that up? Any references? “Different Safety standards on the same line”, Now that is a new one. You can get options vehicle safety no.”
    What has THIS got below , to answering the above?
    “What do you think the Europeans do when they build US-spec cars? Are you under the impression that they operate separate secret factories for the American market vehicles? Even you ought to figure out that the output on the same line can be varied to deal with different safety standards.”
    Pickups coming the same line in Mexico, what is the reference to the different safety standards you said exist. I am intrigued.?.YOU DID NOT ANSWER THAT. Where is your reference?

  • avatar

    How can this surprise anyone…the companies will seek advantage, and in markets where the regulations are lax, there will be a race to the bottom to decontent and make a less expensive product.

    At the top, Europe, with the US slightly below (different tests but a high overall standard). I drove a Suzuki on an island recently. It has a driver’s airbag and seat belts. If I had to wreck at 50 mph, from any angle, I’d rather be in my 3 Series.

    I once drove a Trabant, a car with only minimal seat belts. I’d rather wreck the 3 or an E class at 65 mph than the Trabbi at 30 mph.

    I can’t get angry at the car makers….there should be worldwide standards, 60 mph is the same everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      For the most part, US standards are tougher than EU standards. The front impact test is more difficult (the crash barrier for the US test is rigid, while the Euro NCAP barrier is deformable), the US has a rollover test that the EU doesn’t have, and there are more US requirements for interior protection.

      The EU does have higher standards for protecting pedestrians.

      “there should be worldwide standards, 60 mph is the same everywhere.”

      Needs do vary from place to place. Higher safety standards would raise the price of cars in the developing world, which would make them unaffordable for more people. It is understandable that the Europeans are more concerned about pedestrian safety than the US, given that they have far more pedestrians, while it is understandable that the US would worry more about rollover risk due to the proliferation of trucks and SUVs. A truly global standard would not benefit everyone equally.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Here we go again. What is your reference? Other than making unsubstantiated claims.? You are correct about European standards are tougher than US tests on a number of issues.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “Car guys” go on and on about how great the B11 [1991-94] Sentra was and “Why don’t they make cars like them anymore?” Well, look at the pic at the top! “Oh but it’s so light and toss-able”.

    Can brag all day how you are a “great driver”, but do you want to get hit by a DUI in that outdated car?

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Yep, that’s a B13 Sentra, which is called the Tsuru in Mexico.

    As mentioned by someone above, one of the improvements in crash worthiness during the past ten years was addition of beefier cage structures with the use of special high strength steel alloys. So much so, that I believe that fire departments in Colorado participated in special training to deal with Subaru cage structures. Subaru passenger cages now have multi-layered pillars that use thicker gauged steel than a decade ago.

    In comparison, the small cars from the “light and toss-able days” had much thinner A & B pillars than those sold today.


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  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States