24 Jul 2013
Global OEMs crushed in latest Latin NCAP results, says Automotive World article

Last week, the Renault-Nissan Alliance outlined its strategy for emerging, or ‘high growth’ markets, where Carlos Ghosn expects to generate significant sales in the next few years. “By 2016, we expect 60% of global vehicle sales to come from high growth markets,” he said at the recent launch of the Datsun Go. Alongside the relaunch of the Datsun brand for emerging markets will be other Renault and Nissan cars specially-tailored for high growth markets, based on the new Alliance’s Common Module Family (CMF) strategy.

Just over a week later, the two brands’ emerging markets strategies are once again in the news, but for the wrong reason. Renault and Nissan, along with Suzuki and Chevrolet, have just received the worst possible scores in the latest Latin NCAP results. Become involved in a crash as an occupant in a Nissan Tsuru (Sentra B13), a Renault Clio Mio, a Suzuki Alto K10 or a Chevrolet Agile, and, according to the results, your chances of surviving are minimal: each car scored zero points and zero stars.

Suzuki, which scored four stars with its Celerio, also scored zero with its Alto K10. The Celerio is a newer version of the Alto, and is also sold as the Nissan Pixo. It should be noted that while the Chevrolet Agile is only a few years old, the Nissan Tsuru is a car that has been around since the early 1990s, and the Clio Mio is only slightly younger. Nonetheless, the cars are on the market and are popular, with the Tsuru a long-standing best-selling car in Mexico.

Latin NCAP is becoming increasingly important in OEM marketing strategies in the region, and these results will have a significant impact on brand perception. Whilst the public relations departments at Renault, Nissan, Chevrolet and Suzuki will now be working overtime to protect their brands, Seat’s PR team has reason to celebrate: standard fitment of six airbags, ABS and seatbelt reminders helped the Nuevo Leon to become the first car to score five Latin NCAP stars.

The results are damning, not just for these four brands in particular, but for the region’s automotive industry in general. See an article on the latest Latin NCAP test results, and you already know it will make depressing reading, and the latest news does little to change that.

As well as highlighting the questionable practice of selling cars that meet minimum regional safety requirements, these results call into question once again the strategy of selling older, less safe models in emerging markets, particularly by brands which at the same time strive for high NCAP scores in developed markets.

Martin Kahl
Editor, Automotive World

Read the full article by Martin Kahl in Automotive World