Nissan’s Mexico subsidiary on Monday defended the 1990s-era Tsuru compact car that it sells in Mexico after testers called the vehicle dangerous.
The warning came in a new study by the Latin New Car Assessment Program, known as Latin NCAP.
The Tsuru got zero stars in crash tests. The study said that “for most of the years analyzed, the Nissan Tsuru experienced the highest fatality score” of any vehicle sold in Mexico.
Nissan said the Tsuru “meets the safety regulations in the markets where it is sold.” It said the car “is one of the most popular sub-compact vehicles in Mexico due to its proved affordability, durability and reliability.”
The Tsuru has no standard air bags. Mexico’s auto regulations require cars to have little more than brakes, tires and rear-view mirrors.
Latin NCAP said the model is sold in parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central and South America.
Testers said 4,102 people died in Tsurus between 2007 and 2012 in Mexico.
“By continuing to sell the Tsuru in Mexico, Nissan are exploiting the lack of crash test standards and exposing their customers to an entirely avoidable risk of death and serious injury,” said David Ward, secretary general of the British-based Global NCAP. “Nissan should do the right thing and withdraw from sale of this sub-standard and unsafe model.”