Crash test: Nissan sold in Mexico vs. Nissan sold in USA

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when I saw this video first this was the most interesting part: 25 years of developing safer cars make a huge difference

communists! regulation is evil! name one thing the government did good!


I’ve always had a soft spot for those old Sentras. They remind me of miniature Volvo 240s, which makes me giggle, and the SE-R flavor seemed like it’d be so much fun.

In fact, I’ve long fantasized about secretly importing the Mexican flavor, then swapping VINs so I could register it in the US.

Of course I’d never actually do that, but the nostalgia for the just-out-of-reach new car I wanted as a teen runs deep.

Watching this video has gotten me right over that idea!


I’ve owned both a Sentra and a Volvo 144. I know which one I’d like to be in an accident. Although the Sentra was a much nicer drive because it was so much lighter.

Edited to add. Wow, the difference in the amount of impingement into the passenger cabin is huge.


Renke, do you think it’s car design improvements that make it safer, or materials, weight, and other elements that influence the cost of construction?

If it’s the latter, I suspect the safety changes will be nominal, since pricing the low-end buyers out of the market is unlikely to be very popular.

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you’re aware of the saying “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”? this is a counter-example: I understand the single words but I am not sure what you’re trying to say. sorry. (if it’s the fault of the recipient or the sender is open for discussion…)


You think that is bad - compare it to those cars made in India.

Yeah, safety standards save lives. Period.

Unfortunately some countries/people are willing to trade off the risk for cheaper transportation. I can’t say I completely blame them - you often times need a car. The good news is that even these “unsafe” cars are much safer than cars from 50 years ago, and as new safety techonlogy is developed, refined, and cheapened, it will make its way into these other cars as well. Or as these countries move upward in the GNP slide, they can afford safer cars.



In Mexico, the price difference between the Tsuru and the Versa is less than 1500 dollars, And there are even lower priced options available from Nissan like the March (known in the US as the Versa Note) which is only 1k more than the Tsuru.
The Tsuru’s been popular because it has a reputation for being cheap to run and also maintain, but with the introduction of NOM-194-SCFI-2015 which comes into effect in 2019, which makes, among other things, air bags mandatory the Tsuru is out since according to Nissan, the Tsuru body type can’t accommodate air bags.

So what makes cars safer? Apparently its government regulation.


It’s actually pretty impressive, at least from my layman’s perspective: we usually think that ‘safer’=‘built with magnificent sturdiness’; but since that school of design leads you down the path of building main battle tanks unacceptably quickly, they’ve instead gone from designs that crumple in ways that do horrible things to the passenger compartment to designs that crumple; but largely take the bullet for the passengers.

Doesn’t make trends like brittle plastic ‘bumpers’ that crack if you so much as look at them funny, much less bump something, any less pleasant; but the degree to which structural sacrifice happens around you, rather than right through you, on impact is pretty remarkable.


sigh the brief experiment with 5mph bumpers was killed off by the oil embargo…

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I’m not @renke; but I suspect that it’s some of both: adding things like additional airbag modules is, undeniably, driving the cost up. No matter how mass-produced and impressively cheap they get, you could obviously make the vehicle at least slightly cheaper and slightly lighter by omitting them, if allowed.

On the other hand, some safety improvements are roughly cost neutral, or even come along with cost reductions; the evolution of vehicle frames,from more or less entirely separate assemblies built from structural steel beams, with the sheet metal body just tacked on top, to the contemporary designs that(while almost never full monocoque) integrate ‘body’ and ‘frame’ much more tightly, to the point where basically all the weight is doing at least some structural work.

That’s not cheap in terms of CAD and tooling costs; but once you’ve tooled up, the unit cost of a just plain more elegant design can be equal to, or lower than, the brute force and ignorance approach.

First world safety standards definitely include things that just plain increase costs(omitting these features may be a false economy when you count medical expenses, suffering, lost productivity, etc; but if you can cleanly omit a module, it’s hard to argue that it is other than optional); but superior design, and the tools required to assemble it, can get better results and better prices once you amortize it over enough units.


It’s almost like the Tsuru has been driven into a wall…a great wall…that Mexico pays for!


Yeah, I mean… safety costs money. Airbags cost money. More steel costs money. If the vehicles are more expensive because of the additional safety equipment, you end up with a family of five on a motorcycle instead of in a car.


Libertarian quality control, clearly people wanted unsafe cars, or else Nissan never would have made them! (Sarcasm)


I can understand that companies adapt their products to different markets but lowering product safety is shameless money grabbing.

Apparently similar shenanigans happen in other areas too, not just cars. There were recent complaints that lower quality (= probably unhealthy) food is sold in Eastern European countries compared to western Europe.

Some products are more equal than others? MEPs debate food quality variations


That there is the balance needed. An affordable auto is much safer than a moped or motorcycle, which offers basically no protection in a crash.

If the added costs makes it so no one can afford your cars, it is more complicated than that.

We are approaching this from and American frame of mind, where most people can afford a decently safe used car, at the very least.

Places like Mexico, India, or any other much poorer nation is full of people who can’t afford that luxury. And even a less than safe car is safer than the alternative.


The election results must really be weighing on me when i see this as an economy metaphor…


If the Tsuru is a 90’s Sentra, it’s got to be an early 90’s version. Here’s a near-exact copy of my 1983 Datsun/Nissan Sentra:

Here’s the 1990:


The Tsuru is the B13 Sentra, which was introduced in 1990.