Dispatches Do Brasil: A Five Star Brazilian-Built Ford

Marcelo de Vasconcellos
by Marcelo de Vasconcellos
dispatches do brasil a five star brazilian built ford

On the off chance that someday you might walk into your local Ford dealership in Kalamazoo and buy a Brazilian-built Ford EcoSport, at least you now get the ease of mind that it got five stars from Latin NCAP, the institution that tests cars sold in Latin America, in Germany, using pretty much Euro NCAP standards. So it would seem that, as TTAC has previously reported, Brazilian cars may not all be deathtraps.

In its latest round of testing, Latin NCAP tested the aforementioned EcoSport, a new Ford Focus, a VW Jetta, a Brazilian built and for local consumption only Hyundai HB20 sedan, and a Chevy Malibu. For front seat occupants, all cars got 5 stars with the exception of the Hyundai and Chevy that got only 4. Latin NCAP also tests for child safety in the back seats. In the tests, the institute straps the kid into an appropriate seat and whacks the car. In this instance the Brazilian EcoSport and HB20 sedan didn’t do all that well. While the Focus and Jetta managed 5 stars in that test, the Brazilian cars only got 3. Oddly, the Malibu only got 1.

My take on all of this is that modern Brazilian cars are as safe as their projects allow. There is no difference in quality of construction. What really made the previous poor showing was that Brazilian cars have always been low on active safety systems. However, passive safety systems are all built into the cars. This kind of test sets a standard and those who play the game are rewarded. In the case of the EcoSport and HB20 for instance, it’s the second time the institute tests them. In its first test, the cars didn’t manage 5 cars. What was the difference this time around?

As reported by Brazilian enthusiast site bestcars.com.br a simple sticker sufficed. Yes, you read that right. On the car tested before there was no warning sticker for the passenger to remember to buckle up. On the new car there is, and Latin NCAP graded the EcoSport accordingly. The Hyundai HB20 sedan in the previous test had gotten a low score for child protection. Now it got an acceptable rating. The difference in Hyundai’s case is that now the car was built with an Isofix-type latch. Arguably, safety then has been improved.

Such institutions as the Latin NCAP do provide an invaluable tool for consumers and industry. For consumers, they provide a comparison tool. For industry, they provide goalposts. It seems that the Brazilian car industry has gotten a little smarter and consumers will be a little safer because of it. How much so is, however, an open question.

En passant, I am proud to say that this is the first time a Brazilian built car got the maximum number of stars. I have no doubt Ford will market this to no end and, in the end, this might be a good thing as it will get more Brazilians interested in just how safe the cars they drive everyday are.

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18 of 38 comments
  • Pch101 Pch101 on Nov 29, 2013

    "Air bags cannot compensate for poor structural crashworthiness and Latin NCAP strongly believes that consumers should not be misled by manufacturers that are relying on airbags alone to give a false impression of safety. Just including an airbag will not guarantee safety. That is why both the public and governments need to be able to verify the structural integrity of the vehicle." http://www.latinncap.com/data/prensa/LN_Press_Release_Results_Phase_III.pdf There is a difference between cars built for the EU and those built for Latin America. An airbag won't fix a lower level of structural integrity.

    • See 15 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Nov 29, 2013

      @BAFO - It's a simple acronym. Like HDC and others. Didn't mean to offend. With that said, are you stupid? Too many here have disproved your outlandish claims with facts, links, common knowledge and or, plain old common sense. Your theories/assumptions oversimplify and have more holes than Swiss cheese. That's at best. Still you keep repeating them as if you weren't proven wrong, foolish and insane. Or just bad memory? Happy Holidays Mate!

  • CFW CFW on Jan 08, 2014

    Hi Does anyone know if a Focus bought new in Brazil in 2012 will have ISOFIX fittings for car seats - or have the threaded holes that an ISOFIX bar can be fitted to?

  • Kosmo Umm.....probably about halfway between the two sides' positions?Neither side can cast the first stone. The Big 3 have record profits, and the UAW's leader has a mixed agenda of 1) good deal for his members and 2) a megalomaniac's drive to a legacy.
  • Analoggrotto I bet a Goddess Mary Barra boudoir set would be enough to charm all of the UAW back to work.
  • Daniel J The Two Tier system was done on purpose. The UAW and the auto companies couldn't just shaft employees who, in essence, signed up before the financial meltdown. To stem their compensation, anyone who joined after got paid lower.This was done on purpose. The auto companies benefit because they cut costs and they also hope that eventually the new employees might dislike the deal the UAW make and possibly defect from the union when these same employees could join a non-union shop for more money.The UAW was hoping for the opposite, that these new employees would be mad at the auto companies and side with the union when it was time to re-negotiate.At this point, are the current Tier 1 employees going to take a cut? Can the auto companies afford to give the Tier 2 employees the same amount of money as the Tier 1?
  • Redapple2 UAW - Already overpaid. Relevant question. What are the transplants paid? Honda, Toyota, Nissan, VW. What about Tesla? What about Tier 1 and 2 auto suppliers. UAW should have been smashed when GM and FCA went bankrupt.
  • Redapple2 TV screens to run everything instead of knobs. Turbo 4 that poorly does the job of a V 6. I think i will turn away from new product and preserve what I have for 15 years. I m reaching that point.