Uruguayan entity deducts Hyundai’s ‘fluctuation in production quality’. And leader doubts his own stars
If the purchase of a car in Brazil includes safety concerns, the only information available comes from the Uruguayan entity Latin NCAP, which evaluates vehicles sold in Latin America.
But the results can be distorted:
1. Different laws
The legislation of other countries is not compatible with Brazilian legislation. It does not require, for example, like ours, front airbags. So, crash test of the same car sold here and in another country, but without airbags, will have none or just one star (out of the five possible). Of course, tested here, it would have a better evaluation.
2. Change of protocols
Tested car today gets four or five stars. Two or three years from now, LatinNCAP tightens the protocol and reduces its stars due to the lack of safety equipment. But its competitor, prepared for the new protocol, is awarded more stars despite offering the same level of security, another distortion that confuses the consumer and harms the manufacturers.
Uruguayans “patch” the mess with explanatory asterisks and stars of different colors for each protocol.
HB20 eo Latin NCAP
LatinNCAP tested the new Hyundai HB20 last year, at the time of its launch, and approved it with four stars. But it has just failed a second unit, tested months later, that lost three of them.
Two situations could explain this star reduction:
- The exclusion of components that compromise safety, such as airbags or side protection bars;
- LatinNCAP has changed the protocol with the requirement for more safety equipment such as ESC (electronic stability control). If the model doesn’t have it, it loses stars.
But, how to explain the downgrade of the HB20 in the second test, if car and protocol were the same?
The Uruguayan entity’s report, subjective and of questionable technical rigor, says “there was no difference in the construction of the two vehicles” and also that “the structure deformation looks the same, with similar internal deformation and similar impact points on the dummy”.
Alejandro Furas, from LatinNCAP, says verbatim that the second car had the same behavior as the first. But he claims that the stellar demotion “em principle, explained by the difference in behavior of the plastic inner panel of the front door ”. And that this plastic panel would be “impacting the dummy differently ”. And the drastic reduction of three stars.
Engineer Furas gives himself the right to reprimand Hyundai and other Brazilian factories for offering cars with a lower level of safety than in Europe. But it contradicts itself by suggesting that the Korean factory install side airbags on the HB20.
Now, if this is the problem, why was the first unit tested, also without airbags, approved with 4 stars? It also reveals a rare domain in manufacturing and industrial processes, as it implies “fluctuation in production quality ” at Hyundai’s Piracicaba plant.
Perplexed Hyundai issued a statement in which it questions the disparity of the results: “There was no change in the production process or vehicle specification that could justify the extreme variation between the two tests performed by LatinNCAP in less than a year ”.
Do you doubt the stars themselves?
In another interview, (for the magazine AutoSport), he generously and lightly accuses Brazilian companies: “There are manufacturers who develop the safety of their cars to pass the test and achieve the goal of stars and others who develop them to protect people”.
So, Furas doubts his own stars? Are they not enough to define the car’s protection level?
LatinNCAP’s impertinence is explained by the fact that it is the only independent entity to carry out crash-tests on our cars without the voice of a committee of Brazilian technicians and authorities that establishes criteria to evaluate its safety and the priority of tests (the best-selling models, example).
The obvious solution is the creation of a “Brazil NCAP” to evaluate our cars, in compliance with our legislation and market peculiarities.
After interviewing some of its executives, the situation of Brazilian factories in relation to the matter is complicated and delicate. They do not hide their perplexity with the behavior of LatinNCAP, but “prevented” from manifesting, as there are several subjective criteria in the evaluation of a car.
Protesting publicly against the questionable “little stars” that confuse consumers could result in “reprisals”.