Latin road safety leaders have accused General Motors and other major car brands of deliberately removing safety features from vehicles in order to increase profit margins in South America.
In a meeting hosted by Latin NCAP in Washington, USA, several members of road safety organisations expressed their anger at GM, claiming that it has actively chosen to sell models of its vehicles without basic safety equipment to the Latin markets, despite selling those same models elsewhere with airbags and electronic stability control systems as standard.
Several GM models have achieved zero or one star ratings in Latin NCAP crash testing, with many more from other key manufacturers receiving similarly dismal results.
The Chevrolet Aveo, which is Mexico’s best selling car with 80,000 units sold in 2015, falls well short of crash safety standards with zero stars to its name. Yet one recent survey said that 97% of Aveo owners in Mexico believe their cars are of a safe standard, illustrating just how unaware the population is of this problem.