The Detroit Free Press reports the new generation of Brazil-built cars are to blame for the country's high death rate. Thanks to a booming middle class, Brazil is the fourth-largest vehicle market in the world, but four of the country's best-selling models have failed independent crash tests. Couple those machines with the country's notoriously dangerous roads and weather, and Brazil winds up with a traffic death rate nearly four times that of the US when weighted for the disparity in the size of both driving populations.

Automakers, meanwhile, say their products meet or exceed Brazil's safety laws – starting next year, manufacturers will be required to install front airbags and anti-lock brakes. Activists, meanwhile, say those changes aren't enough to make a meaningful impact on the country's death toll. Independent testing found that four of the country's top-selling cars from brands like General Motors, Volkswagen and Fiat received a lowly one-star crash rating.

Compounding the issue is the fact that manufacturers make more money on less safe, inexpensive Brazilian-made cars. The Detroit Free Press reports companies earn a 10-percent profit on vehicles built in Brazil compared to three percent from US-built models and an average of five percent from machines assembled elsewhere. Vehicles imported from other markets are more likely to have safety equipment that meets more stringent standards.


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  • 32 Comments
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      After personally witnessing Brazilian traffic, driving like a madman with a death wish is at least partly to blame. If folks in the US drove like that, they'd have a much higher death rate, too.
        paqza
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        Living in Mexico and seeing the same, I really appreciate all the tickets our cops hand out for moving violations/faulty equipment/etc.
      joeboarder108
      • 1 Year Ago
      What is it, 1992?
        Jeferson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @joeboarder108
        No, its 1960. I live in Brazil, and nobody give a damn about safety here, as long as they have a more expensive car than the neighbour. :/
      Adriano
      • 1 Year Ago
      The piece of crap pictured above is the GM Celta, essentially a 1994 Corsa sent to a cost-cutting diet spa resort. It's possibly the worst car available to buyers, with maybe the exception of some chinese made death traps. At $ 13k, what would one expect, considering the aforementioned high markup rates applied on our market? Someone called it "greed". The GM Celta is one of the cheapest cars available to the public, that face absurdly overcrowded public transportation. At least when commuting in one of those "cars" your personal square meter space is respected, nevermind that the gridlocks are commom, itself a consequence of the at least underwhelming availability of public transpostation. Safety is a luxury only a few can afford.
        paqza
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Adriano
        In Mexico, that generation of Corsa was sold as the Chevy Monza. My girlfriend has a 2003 Monza that someone broke into by shoving his fingers behind the door, stepping on the door, and pulling. He opened the door like a tuna can. I "fixed" it by opening the door, stepping on the inside, and pulling back. We try not to drive that car anymore.
      Facao
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nothing new here, unfortunately: the easy profit for the corporations and for the corrupt legislators and governors is a grant - still possible until these days much because of the mix of an inherent selfishness and the forbearing nature and culture that permeates the Brazilian society... :(
      johnbravo6
      • 1 Year Ago
      So, does this insinuate that older, non-Brazilian built cars are safer than the new ones? Or just an old fashioned political agenda to appropriate more funds to lobbyists?
      carcrazed4life
      • 1 Year Ago
      As someone who has driven overseas in many different countries, I think their is a slight assumption we make that all cars must be safe. One thing to remember, is that in many countries, cheap cars prevent families from using 2 wheelers for transportation. Its easy to assume that even the most unsafe 4 door is better then 3 people on a 2 wheeler. And that is why many developing countries have very cheap and "unsafe" cars by our standards. That said, I think safety eventually needs to be available for those who can afford if and pay a premium for it. Vehicle safety features should be optional in higher priced vehicles, and once consumers start to pay for those premiums, you will see brands starting to cater their production to them. This almost sounds reminiscent of the supporting case for a Tata Nano...
      thequebecerinfrance
      • 1 Year Ago
      And people complain about government intervention. If you let the market decide the companies will always choose money over life. They really don't give a crap about you or your family as long as they get their bonuses.
        Carlos Cruz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thequebecerinfrance
        b.. bu... but the invisible hand of the market ensure that the less safe cars wont sell and will make companies want to make the best vehicle possible...... lol
        johnbravo6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thequebecerinfrance
        But the lobbyists and politicians are angels. And this isn't picking one potential area of concern to feed off of to enrich themselves, either. Nope, they've done careful study and the best way to decrease fatalities is new laws(with new budgets and agencies). Then they'll be just like the US with 40'000 highway deaths per year! Wait...
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM, VW, and Fiat cant find airbags and ABS to put in their cars? Sounds like greed to me. Build the same car as everywhere else but without safety equipment just for a buck. Probably feeding the local government to keep new regs from appearing.
        Victor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @m_2012
        Its not greed. Its business. You get what you pay for... Fitting Airbag and other stuff will increase the cost. Consumers may not accept that. It is a matter of choice.
          Carlos Cruz
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Victor
          Greed != Profit. The point of a business is to make a profit, however, when a company that has a good profit already starts to seek ways to place profit before safety, the environment, and other issues then we have greed. Greed is the need to move a factory from the US that was doing well financially to China to increase profits by a couple of percentage points. Leaving hundreds of good workers unemployed. Greed is the need to lobby a government official to allow a company to unnecessarily pollute the environment to avoid replacing aging equipment. Greed is the lobbying of congress to limit liability of a product so that you can knowingly sell a faulty item and be legally imune from the liability. For a better view into greed watch the movie "The Campaign", it shows how people who went into politics to help people become greedy and take campaign contributions from people that are seeking favorable legislation in return.
          Rick C.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Victor
          Ah, if business wasn't about greed, why do it?
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      People who are constantly whining about onerous government regulations should pay attention here. This is what happens in the absence of government regulations. Unsafe products that kill you. Or unsafe buildings that fall on you.
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        True, GM resorts to building death traps.
        johnbravo6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @icemilkcoffee
        The government puts out a report that more government is necessary... Failure of the market? Oh, not to mention:"Automakers, meanwhile, say their products meet or exceed Brazil's safety laws" Ooops...
          johnbravo6
          • 1 Year Ago
          @johnbravo6
          Yes, the solution to a job poorly done is always throw more money at it, by paying those who perpetually fail.
      Rick C.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Its a simple situation. With no push or standing laws to build in any kind of safety, they build them with what they can get away with.
      Joe
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Starting next year.. Companies will be required to install front airbags.." there's the problem
      Kevin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I too want simple and more affordable vehicles. These cars get better gas milage, are less expensive and are easier to fix. If you stay off your phone and stop eating whoppers while driving these cars, you'd probably be pretty safe on any US road. After all, most of you remember a time when cars were pretty similar to these. These cars can be safe again as long as we keep from the distractions and booze.
        Mudotaku
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kevin
        Less expensive? Check the prices of the cars in Brazil. A freaking Aveo cost way over $20k in Brazil.
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