General Motors CEO and Chairwoman Mary Barra defended Wednesday her company’s decision not to put airbags in some of its cars in international markets.
“In many of those places the technology is available and it’s a customer choice if they want it,” Barra said, according to the International Business Times. “There’s many cases where we are well above standards, but we also have to look at affordability otherwise you cut people out of even having the availability of transportation.”
Barra made the remarks in Davos, Switzerland, which was a response to a letter sent to her last year by consumer advocacy groups in the U.S. — including Consumer Reports — requesting the automaker standardize safety features in its cars worldwide.
In her opening remarks, Barra said that automakers could save money by adopting similar safety standards in worldwide markets:
“Right now the industry faces country by country differences that require different technical solutions, different validation solutions — if we can globalize that, because after all a person is a person, it allows the cost of implementing that technology to come down, allowing it to be made available to more people across the globe. So there is a huge benefit from globalizing safety standards.”
She then defended governments’ rights to enforce different safety measures in its cars, and GM’s ability to meet those standards, whatever they are.
“We need to respect all governments — who is say which government is right (in) the commonization of safety standards, because there’s huge variation even in developed markets that drive costs,” she told the International Business Times.
So, wait. What?