Protection vs. price: why we don’t have safe cars at affordable prices – 06/20/2022

Brazil has evolved in terms of automotive safety. Items such as driving assistants have become more common, but it is not possible to emphasize a fact: they are standard in few versions of the best-selling compacts on the market. And they could be from the factory and combined from the basics, if they followed the European safety standard.

If you want a complete compact hatchback, you will have to buy a Peugeot Onix or a Honda HB20, as it is rare for cars to offer the complete package, which can include automatic braking, blind spot sensors on both sides and lane keeping assistant.

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You would have to mix features from several compacts, including sedans. The combination of all this does not exist in Brazil, but the reasons go beyond cost and legislation. UOL Cars talked to several experts to find out why.

Let’s go to practical examples. The Peugeot 208 Griffe and Hyundai HB20 Platinum are equipped with automatic braking and a lane departure alert system, which has automatic correction in French, which also has license plate recognition assistant.

Peugeot 208 Griffe 2021 - Disclosure - Disclosure

Peugeot 208 Griffe is the only one that brings such items capable of preventing accidents

Image: Disclosure

It is important to emphasize that the Peugeot sold in France has automatic braking even in the cheapest configuration. It is the strength of European legislation, it serves as a basis for the progressive adoption of safety items in Brazil, however, our pace of adoption is slower.

Even the sophisticated new-generation Honda City brings adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and stay and lane systems, minus a blind-spot sensor for both sides – there’s only one camera that shows the image of what happens to the right of the model. to help with lane changes.

Want a blind spot sensor? You will have to buy a Chevrolet Onix Premier which, in turn, does not have the systems mentioned above. About to be restyled, the Volkswagen Polo also stands out for not including assistants present in the same model sold in Europe. In addition to the absence of six airbags, automatic braking and lane departure warning are left out, both of which are standard from the basics – it still offers front and rear sensors.

Yes, here you will pay well over R$ 100 thousand for a hatch or compact sedan and you will not receive any of that as standard. And the worst: such equipment is already on the shelves of these same manufacturers, since they have already been adopted in other markets. All you have to do is dig through what the manufacturer has out there and do a plug and play – it’s true that everything needs to be homologated.

Manufacturers’ decisions matter

It is not always just a matter of legislation and obligation alone, the marketing decision of each manufacturer has double weight.

“One of them (of the reasons) is the strategy of each automaker to offer a list of competitive vehicles. Another very influential thing is regulation, legislation. Europe is much more advanced in this sense, which also stimulates the market to seek for solutions and new technologies to make their vehicles more efficient and safer”, said Gustavo Ducatti, dDirector of Electronics and Passive Security Engineering and Operations at ZF South America, one of the largest providers of security assistants in the world.

“This is also related to society itself, which understands the benefits of integrated safety in the cars they buy, and starts to demand such technologies. In other words, here, we deal with the end consumer’s perception of safety”, he added.

Hyundai HB20 Platinum Plus 2022 - José Antonio Leme/UOL - José Antonio Leme/UOL

Hyundai HB20 Platinum could have blind spot sensors

Image: José Antonio Leme/UOL

This view of the market analysis was one of the points highlighted by the specialists. “It depends on the automaker’s strategy. Sometimes it listens to customers, does its research and understands that its audience prefers the Y or Z function, and it chooses to put this solution. Marketing decisions that depend on each vision”, reinforces Michel Braghetto, coordinator of the Technical Commission on Vehicle Safety of SAE Brasil.

The small scale of the Brazilian market has been a reality for years, as the crisis has greatly reduced the number of sales. “What happens: there are some variables. First the volume of our market. You don’t have in Brazil the big producers of new technology that you have in the Chinese, European and American markets”, emphasizes Marcus Vinícius Aguiar, vice president of AEA ( Brazilian Association of Automotive Engineering, which also reinforces the high cost of the chain of taxes, logistics, among others.

Force of legislation has redoubled weight

The mismatch between the Brazilian markets and the more developed ones will still last a while, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“The adoption of the same systems is already in advanced discussions, drafts have already been submitted and soon we will have news that these systems become mandatory in Brazil. We already have technical parameters following the European ones, they are basically the same, but with small differences. have a worse security role here”, commented Michel, who participates in a security study group and is in permanent contact with the government.

“We are optimistic that this decision will be communicated and published in 2022. These technologies will have dates to be adopted over the years and will become mandatory. We already have about 25% of vehicles licensed with technologies such as autonomous braking and others, last year were about 12 to 13%,” said the expert.

According to Michel, the implementation of the legislation will force manufacturers to adopt some of these security functions even before mandatory entry. The reason is the need to differentiate cars from their competitors.

When all new and old models are forced to adopt such technologies, this will no longer be a competitive differentiator. They will leave the paper to enter advertising. In addition, it is not possible to adapt an entire line in the strictest sense, the range is gradually received even before the gradual installation percentages are mandatory.

Technologies promise to become popular such as ABS and airbags

You won’t have to pay more for your car for this. I mean, you’ll pay more for the vehicle, but it won’t be exclusively for the increase in content. Factors such as market scale, Brazil cost, rising raw material prices and lack of domestic production of such technologies are blamed by experts.

The latter can be resolved with the implementation group of local semiconductor production, which can be nationalized in time for the mandatory introduction of active safety equipment.

Chevrolet Onix Premier - Murilo Góes/UOL - Murilo Góes/UOL

Chevrolet Onix Premier could have automatic braking in turn

Image: Murilo Góes/UOL

It was no different with airbags, ABS and, more recently, electronic stability controls. The cost of each resource varies depending on the technology used. Models like the Onix use ultrasonic sensors for blind spot detection, something cheaper than cameras installed in the mirrors.

“Some technologies are cheaper than others. A blind spot sensor you can use ultrasound sensors, parking sensors, or radars in the corners of the vehicle, corner radar. Ultrasonic is the cheapest, you can do a function with some limitation The most advanced technological form would be a radar, it has a positive difference in performance”, says Michel, who recalls that a camera can cost up to twice as much as a radar, however, it can be installed in a pre-existing car, or that is, it can become popular more quickly, avoiding accidents and deaths caused by collisions and being run over.

A ZF study states that more than a quarter of new Brazilian cars should brake alone by 2025. Last year, such technology equipped only 5% of nationals. Of course, this isn’t just for the compact market, as many of these features are implemented across all vehicle classes, from larger pickup trucks to SUVs. The problem is when this will reach all automobiles.

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About Yadunandan Singh

Born in 1992, Yadunandan approaches the world of video games thanks to two sacred monsters like Diablo and above all Sonic, strictly in the Sega Saturn version. Ranging between consoles and PCs, he is particularly fond of platform titles and RPGs, not disdaining all other genres and moving in the constant search for the perfect balance between narration and interactivity.

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