Say goodbye to the Nissan Tsuru, one of the most common vehicles on the streets of Mexico. Its days are numbered as a result of the newly issued official standard on automotive security, which requires that auto makers make use of all available technologies to guarantee maximum safety by 2019.
The new standard means that vehicles must have safety features such as ABS braking systems, airbags, headrests, seatbelts, windshield defoggers and a dashboard reminder to wear seatbelts, among other stipulations.
These features have been enforced on all vehicles sold in the United States for 30 years, and many of them are manufactured in Mexico.
The death sentence on the budget vehicle preferred by taxi operators throughout the country was signed by the president and general manager of Nissan México, Airton Cousseau.
It was two of the safety features that spelled the Tsuru’s death knell, airbags and ABS. In the words of Cousseau, “due to its structure a Tsuru will never have airbags. It’s impossible. It’s not going to happen.”
What will happen, he continued, “is that at some point in time the Tsuru will have to be removed [from the market]. We’re already preparing something for the future.”
The Tsuru will still be available until 2019, “as long as consumers ask for it.”
He explained that it was impossible to overhaul an industry like automotive manufacturing “in just one day. It took Brazil 10 years. So here we have to begin taking the necessary measures.”
“I tried to reduce the production of Tsuru on about seven different occasions, but I received many complaints, because there are people who consider it their work vehicle,” he said.
The fate of the Tsuru is shared by other models such as the Chevrolet Aveo and Matiz, the Nissan Tiida and the Volkswagen Gol, although some of those are sold in compliance with the new safety standards, as an optional and more expensive version.
The consumer advocacy organization El Poder del Consumidor, or Consumer Power, said the three-year wait for the standards to take effect was necessary to give auto makers enough time to replace their models or remove from stock those that can’t comply with them.
For the time being, low prices can be expected for the soon-to-be-discontinued cars. General Motors sold the LS version of the Chevrolet Aveo for 157,600 pesos (US $8,339) in March, but by April that price had dropped 5%, to 149,900 pesos.
The Tsuru, which has been sold in Mexico for nearly three decades and is manufactured in Nissan’s Cuernavaca, Morelos, plant, has been rated among the three most unsafe vehicles on the road. But it has also been among the most popular for its low cost.