US advocates to General Motors: Protect all consumers from unsafe cars

07 December 2015

US consumer and public interest groups have called on General Motors to ensure that the cars they sell in all countries are as safe as those available at home.

FO2715CAV1 On Test 8

The letter to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors was sent in response to the Chevrolet Aveo – one of the top selling cars in Latin America – receiving a zero rating in safety tests conducted by the New Car Assessment Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (Latin NCAP).

The basic model of the Aveo available in many Latin American countries lacks basic safety features such as air bags. Meanwhile, equivalent models sold by General Motors in the US are fitted with the latest life-saving safety technologies. The letter highlights serious concerns about the treatment of consumers in different countries:

“As American consumers, we appreciate the enhanced protections these technologies provide in saving lives and preventing injuries in the US. But we find it hard to fathom that GM would not provide all consumers – no matter where they live around the world – with these same protective technologies. “

The difference in safety measures available on the Aveo in Mexico (where the car is both manufactured and the top selling car) and the US is explained by CI Member El Poder del Consumidor in a new campaign video.

Signed by leading US campaigning organisations, including Consumers Union (the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports), National Consumers League, Public Citizen and Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the letter adds to growing calls for car manufacturers to take meaningful action to improve the safety of all new cars, not just those sold in countries with strong safety regulations already in place.

Latin NCAP wrote to Mary Barra to express serious concerns about the Aveo’s latest test results, and also highlighting that the company has performed worse than any other leading global manufacturer that has been tested by Latin NCAP since 2010. The organisation is calling on General Motors to immediately stop producing zero rated cars, anywhere in the world.

Consumers International has also written to General Motors, as well as other leading global car manufacturers, to urge them to voluntarily comply with minimum UN vehicle safety standards which will ensure that their models pass independent safety tests. In its letters, CI has recognised that leading manufacturers, who produce 78% of all new cars entering the market, have an essential role to play in reducing traffic fatalities, one of the biggest global killers.