Wed | Mar 21, 2018

GM to phase out cars without air bags

Published:Sunday | April 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM
General Motors world headquarters.


General Motors (GM) Company said on Thursday it will phase out cars without airbags and other safety features after its Chevrolet Sail subcompact flunked a crash test in Latin America.

The Latin New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) - an independent testing organisation - said on Thursday that the Sail received zero stars in its latest tests. The organisation said the Sail is unstable and has no airbags. It also lacks three-point seat belts in all positions.

The Sail is made in China and exported to emerging markets. It has a starting price of less than US$10,000.

It's one of several Chevrolet cars that have done poorly on the tests. The Aveo, Spark, and Agile cars without airbags also have got zero stars on Latin NCAP's tests.

Many other brands - including Chery, Geely, Hyundai, Nissan, Fiat, and Renault - also sell cars that have got zero stars in the group's crash tests.

Alejandro Furas, Latin NCAP's secretary general, said GM should follow the example of Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen, all of which sell cars that exceed minimal safety standards in Latin America.

Earlier this year, GM CEO Mary Barra defended selling cars without airbags in markets that don't require them, saying they're more affordable for low-income buyers.

But, on Thursday, GM reiterated a pledge it made last summer to spend US$5 billion developing safer cars for emerging markets. The cars will have airbags and three-point seat belts in all positions, the company said.

The new cars will start appearing in the 2019 model year, the company said.

"GM shares the goal of improving road safety worldwide, including the adoption of basic auto-safety standards in global markets and the phase-out of zero-star cars," the company said in a statement.