Latin NCAP tells GM to ‘speak up for safety’

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The zero-star Chevrolet Aveo is unveiled in Brazil by the heads of Latin NCAP and Global NCAP
The zero-star Chevrolet Aveo is unveiled in Brazil by the heads of Latin NCAP and Global NCAP
Hon. Bella Dinh Zarr, Vice-Chairman, US National Transportation Safety Board, at the Brasilia Ministerial
Hon. Bella Dinh Zarr, Vice-Chairman, US National Transportation Safety Board, at the Brasilia Ministerial
François Bausch, Minister of Transport, Luxembourg (which currently holds EU Presidency)
François Bausch, Minister of Transport, Luxembourg (which currently holds EU Presidency)
Latin NCAP was recognised with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in Brazil
Latin NCAP was recognised with a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award in Brazil

The Latin New Car Assessment Programme (Latin NCAP) has condemned the poor safety standards of General Motors cars sold in Latin America and called on CEO Mary Barra to take urgent action.

The Chevrolet Aveo is the bestselling car in Mexico, and its basic version is sold without airbags. The Aveo scored zero stars in Adult Occupant Protection and two stars in Child Occupant Protection in test results released by Latin NCAP on 16th November. The structure of the car was rated as unstable and it would not be able to withstand further loadings. The driver registered a high risk of life threatening injuries. Latin NCAP tests the most basic safety equipped version of the car available in the market.

This same model was tested in 2006 by Euro NCAP under the same conditions but with double frontal airbags. Even with airbags fitted Euro NCAP concluded that: “the compression of the driver’s chest indicated an unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury”.

In a letter to General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Latin NCAP - which is co-funded by the FIA Foundation - pointed out that it is almost a decade since the Aveo’s safety deficiencies were brought to light, yet nothing has been done to prevent the model’s continued sale – without airbags – to Latin American consumers.

“It is clear from these 2006 and 2015 crash tests that GM has known for nearly ten years that the Aveo without any airbags provides inadequate crashworthiness and also would be very likely to fail the frontal impact regulations applied by either the United States or the European Union. More than a year after you announced the ‘Speak Up for Safety’ program it is hard to understand how GM can still sell a non-airbag version of the Aveo in Mexico with a high fatality risk and which falls below these minimum safety standards…We, therefore, request that GM confirms the immediate standard fitment of air bags in the Aveo in Mexico, and ensures that in the future all the company’s products in Latin America comply with the same frontal and side impact standards that are applied in the USA and the European Union.”

Alejandro Furas, Latin NCAP Secretary General said:

“Latin NCAP is extremely concerned by the very poor performance of the Aveo in our latest crash tests, especially as the model is a best seller in markets such as Mexico. This result is not a one off, Chevrolet has consistently performed badly in our tests over the last five years in high selling models. In our recent safety ranking of manufacturer crash performance, analysing the more than sixty car models we’ve tested, Chevrolet is the worst performing major global manufacturer. The Aveo’s zero star performance is disappointing. Chevrolet’s overall safety performance in the Latin American region is unacceptable. GM should take immediate steps to ensure that all of their Latin American customers receive the same safety levels as their US customers.”

Latin NCAP’s latest crash test results were announced on the eve of the 2nd High Level Conference on Road Safety in Brasilia. Following the launch the Chevrolet Aveo was displayed outside the Conference centre for the duration of the meeting, which attracted more than 70 ministers and 2000 delegates from across the world.

Latin NCAP continues to champion improved levels of adult and child occupant protection which in many countries in the region still falls too far below minimum UN safety standards. The latest results show progress is possible and is happening. Three new Honda models tested achieving five stars in Adult Occupant Protection, one of them also scoring five stars in Child Occupant Protection. They also show the recently launched VW Vento, made in India, achieving five stars in Adult Occupant Protection and the Ford Ka scoring four stars for Adult Occupant Protection.

María Fernanda Rodríguez, Latin NCAP Chairperson said: “I welcome the initiative of the manufacturers making efforts to achieve good results for adult and child occupants. I’m proud to see recently launched models to receive the highest safety ratings and that manufacturers are committed with consumers. I hope this commitment is extended to other brands to approach the goal of the United Nations Decade of Action for halving traffic deaths”.

Read Latin NCAP’s letter to GM CEO Mary Barra