New Cars Sold In Brazil Are Actually Really Dangerous

There’s a pretty damning report out that suggests cars sold in Brazil are much less safe than nearly identical models sold in North America and Europe, contributing to much higher rates of fatal crashes just as the country’s auto market booms.

The Associated Press revealed this weekend that as the country’s middle class buys more cheap cars from companies such as Volkswagen, Nissan, Ford, General Motors and others, the amount of people being killed in car crashes has skyrocketed – up 72% over the last decade according to AP’s findings.

A lot of it has to do with the fact there are many more cars on Brazil’s roads, many of which are unprepared for that amount of traffic. But further claims suggest that cars sold in the country, where safety standards also trail those in the EU, for example, are much weaker and less safe than otherwise identical models sold elsewhere.

New Cars Sold In Brazil Are Actually Really Dangerous

Photo: Latin NCAP

An independent group called the Latin NCAP, a lot like Euro NCAP, has tested some of these models that look a lot like ones sold in other parts of the world. While a Nissan March gets four stars in the Euro test, it scored just two in the Latin test. Do some more digging, and you’ll find a number of cars from Fiat, Ford, Renault, etc. that don’t even have a driver’s airbag. This is 2013, right?

For a car market that’s become as large as Brazil’s has, it’s pretty shocking to see cars that are so behind the times when it comes to safety. Worse still, cars that are much safer in other countries have all of that stronger engineering taken out when sold in a market demanding a lower price. Isn’t it simpler just to build all cars the same way for the entire world? And all automakers are saying is that their cars meet each nation’s safety standards. Apparently that’s pretty easy to do in Brazil.

Even if it could raise the cost of a Ford Ka in Brazil and slow down the car market’s growth rate, shouldn't it be a no-brainer for automakers to fit basic safety components to cars there? Because some doors and a roof will only keep you dry.

Image via Getty