International - Global NCAP has long fought for safer cars in developing countries, and its latest crash test highlights some of the inequalities that exist across borders.
The crash test authority took the cheapest Hyundai sedans from Mexico and the US and subjected them to an offset frontal collision at a speed not mentioned.
The Hyundai Accent, which is the entry sedan for the US market, offered good protection to its occupants in the crash, Global NCAP said, and the stable remained stable.
The Hyundai i10 sedan, on the other hand, showed an unstable structure and poor protection to the driver, with a high probability of life-threatening injuries. With a result like that, the i10 would be rated as a zero star car by Latin NCAP.
In terms of safety features, the Mexican-market Hyundai Grand i10 was fitted with two front airbags while the US-spec Accent came with six airbags.
In fairness, Mexican consumers are able to purchase the Accent (which is built there for export to the US) but the Grand i10 (which is imported from India) serves as a more affordable alternative, priced from 230 200 mexican pesos (R185 000) versus 283 400 pesos (R227 000) for the Accent. The very existence of cars like the i10 highlights the need for affordable motoring in developing nations, something South Africans will surely understand.
While manufacturers will argue that adding considerable safety spec puts the car out of reach of entry-level consumers, Global NCAP is fighting for a no compromise approach to road safety that sees equality across the entire world.
This safety to affordability dilemma was also highlighted in early 2020 when a Nissan Navara practically obliterated a South African built NP300 in a similar Global NCAP crash test (watch it here). Thankfully the NP300 has since been replaced by lower-spec versions of the now-locally-produced Navara.
Regarding the latest Hyundai sedan crash test, Latin NCAP Chairman Stephan Brodziak said:
“It hurts to witness once again the terrible double standard with which part of the car industry operates in Latin American and Caribbean countries. This inevitably forces us to think about the suffering that these cars, built under this scheme, end up causing to our families, societies and economies.”
Towards Zero Foundation Executive President David Ward said it was very disappointing to see such a difference in vehicle safety between Mexico and the USA:
“A major reason has been relentless lobbying by the Mexican car makers association to delay the application of minimum UN vehicle safety standards. This has happened first for front & side crash tests and electronic stability control and now again for pedestrian protection.”