Kia Picanto “awarded” with a zero-start rating by Latin NCAP, Peugeot 208 receives only two image

Yet another concerning safety rating in South America that shows once again that automakers are cutting corners in areas they definitely should not, in order to keep prices as low as possible in emerging markets.

Global NCAP, the vehicle safety organization that works with governments and new car assessment programmes, urged automakers in April– especially GM – to immediately improve their cars made for the South American markets, after the Chevrolet Sail sold in Colombia received zero stars, thus repeating a similar result of the Chevrolet Aveo in Mexico. In the recent crash tests made by Latin NCAP, this concerning pattern has been brought once again into the spotlight, after Kia Picanto and Peugeot 208 received low safety scores.

Build in South Korea and exported to Latin American markets, Kia Picanto was tested for the first time there with its most basic safety version available in the region and scored zero stars. Even if the agency said its structure was rated as stable in the frontal crash test, as it has acceptable impact structural and interior protections, the zero-rating was given because the model does not offer any airbags as standard.

“Latin NCAP is disappointed to see a global car manufacturer like Kia offering a successful model like the Picanto with such poor safety performance.” Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Latin NCAP said. “Although in some markets the model is offered with better safety equipment, the manufacturer decided not to sponsor the double airbags version of the model and therefore offer the same safety levels to all consumers in the region, no matter where they live.”

The Peugeot 208 – build in Brazil – was initially evaluated in 2014 and it scored four stars for adult occupant protection. Back then, Latin NCAP’s protocols required that cars to be tested only in frontal crash test, but the new side impact assessment revealed a poor performance that made the agency to rate the 208 with only two stars.

“Latin NCAP is disappointed with Peugeot’s strategy of selling a car made locally without basic side protection mandatory since 1995 in Europe. The Peugeot 208 is considered a high level and successful car in Europe and one of the latest platforms of the manufacturer. Shame on Peugeot,” María Fernanda Rodríguez, Latin NCAP President, stated.

In May, five cars tested in India have been rated with zero stars: Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon.