Hispanic Consumer Group Denounces General Motors for Deadly and Unsafe Practices Against Mexicans

EAST LOS ANGELES, Calif., April 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Consejo de Latinos Unidos (CDLU), a Hispanic consumer advocacy group and public charity, launched the hispaniclivesmatter.net website today as it began an online campaign denouncing General Motors for engaging in “deadly and unsafe practices” in Mexico.

“We see today a hypocritical corporate culture at GM that speaks out of both sides of their mouth: making safety a priority in one breath, denial of unsafe practices in the other,” Forbes declared. GM is under fire for continuing to sell cars without airbags in Mexico.

In 2014, in the aftermath of 2.6 million recalled vehicles for a faulty ignition switch, Mary Barra, Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, testified before the U.S. Congress about making the culture of safety a priority, and later announced the Speak Up for Safety program to great fanfare.

Forbes stated, “Mary Barra has been lying in large capital letters about safety to the Mexican people and deceived all of us.”

The best-selling car in Mexico is GM’s Aveo, whose model without airbags earned a zero-star safety rating last November by the Latin America New Car Assessment Program (Latin NCAP), an automobile safety organization that performs safety tests on Latin American makes and models.

A month later, four leading U.S. consumer groups including Consumer Reports and Public Citizen asked Barra to immediately make airbags standard in Mexico and across the globe.

But then in January, while in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, Barra defended the marketing of cars without airbags telling the International Business Times, “We also have to look at affordability otherwise you cut people out of even having the availability of transportation.”

Last week, the CDLU released a 16-page investigative report showing that General Motors is the only U.S. auto maker selling passenger vehicles without airbags in Mexico. The report also strongly debunked comments by Barra, who recently stated that airbags make automobiles unaffordable in emerging markets like Mexico.

“Airbags making a car unaffordable is a myth that Barra has been peddling,” Forbes stated. “Our investigation found that pricing is more greatly impacted by transmission types, and other upgrade features, rather than life-saving airbags.”

The report took a look at 297 versions of 96 light commercial and passenger vehicles sold by the three U.S. automakers in Mexico, and found that nine passenger vehicles do not have airbags and are exclusively sold by GM.

All nine versions are of the top three best-selling U.S. models in Mexico for 2015, a whopping 11.2 percent of market share. Industry insiders note that at most the front driver and passenger airbags cost $100.00 to install.

“Barra’s reluctance to do the right thing shows blatant economic racism. Hispanic lives do matter. As a leading Hispanic advocacy group, we have fought economic racism for over 15 years; economic discrimination against others because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin is repugnant,” Forbes said.

“Blind or eyes-wide-open, GM appears to have engaged in economic racism for over a decade in Mexico. GM and Barra’s behavior these last few months is even more appalling. Ignoring Latin NCAP, leading U.S. consumer groups, and other respected voices, Barra appears to be relishing the culture of cost and ignoring safety,” Forbes concluded, adding, “We recommend that GM immediately reverse its unsafe and unfair practices in Mexico. Make airbags standard, now, today, this very moment.”

CONTACT: K.B. Forbes 202.320.1212 text or call kb@cdlu.org

Source:Consejo de Latinos Unidos, Inc.