Latin NCAP: Are Brazil cars accident safe?
Brazil, home of Latin America's largest automobile fleet, is in need of a paradigm shift which calls for the manufacturing of safer cars for its 208mn citizens.
For one, the country has no government regulation protecting against side impact crashes, a key factor of safety that has been in force in Europe for 22 years, according to automobile industry expert Alejandro Furas.
"Brazil is more than two decades behind and this needs to be changed," said Furas who is the secretary general for Latin America's car safety assessment program, Latin NCAP, during his presentation at the "Welcome Tomorrow" corporate mobility conference in the city of São Paulo on Wednesday (Nov. 8).
"Every year, approximately 44,000 people die from car accidents in the country," added Edgard Morya who is the research coordinator of Brazil's international institute of neural science in the city of Natal.
To improve matters, Latin NCAP is working on influencing the production of better quality cars. With the support of the media and the general public, it is hoping to push for cars with features such as more air bags, reinforced doors, stability control, automated braking systems, and others.
The Good and the Bad
In Latin NCAP's latest crash test, a few cars were ranked quite low. While the subcompact Chevrolet Onix and Ford Ka received zero of five stars for the program's 50km side impact crash test, the Fiat Mobi received just one star.
This is quite alarming, especially since the Onix is Brazil's top selling car and the Ka is the country's third most sold car. Among the models doing better on the crash test were the Peugeot 208, Fiat Palio, and the Kia New Rio sedan.
Manufacturers are responding to the situation and working on improving matters, according to Furas. "For instance, we should be testing new versions of the Onix and Mobi in the next few months," he said.
As for the Ford Ka, the executive demonstrated its vaue for money ratio in Brazil when compared to the same car in Europe. In Germany, a standard Ka has five safety features, being frontal crash protection, lateral (body) protection, lateral (head) protection, stability control, and ABS braking.
In Brazil, a standard Ka only has frontal protection and ABS braking. Moreover, while the car costs approximately 9,990 euros in Germany, it is about 11,690 euros in Brazil.
Finally, the executive highlighted compact car models which received the advanced award, meaning that they received five stars overall for adult crash protection and child crash protection. They are the Volkswagen Golf, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Polo, and Seat Ateca (compact SUV), all of which are more expensive than the Ford Ka however.
Latin NCAP evaluates approximately 60% of the new cars being sold in Latin America with the three largest markets of Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina seeing some 69%, 42%, and 54% of their cars evaluated by the program.
The Welcome Tomorrow conference was put together by fleet management and urban mobility consultancy group Instituto Parar. The event is taking place from November 8-9.
Opening day of conference (CREDIT: Global Fleet)