Fondly known to many of us as Genting taxis, the B13 was the Nissan Sentra of the mid-1990s that has been discontinued for over two decades now, except in Mexico where it is still produced and sold today as the Nissan Tsuru.
The passing of time has made much of the B13’s engineering out of date, and it is notably behind the times with regards to safety, having been rated zero stars three years ago by Latin NCAP. It does not even have ABS or airbags.
Nissan has, however, finally called time on the Tsuru and announced that the production of the vehicle in Mexico will cease next May.
“This is a long overdue decision to cease production of a car that is fundamentally unsafe. Three years ago our partner Latin NCAP crash tested the car and revealed its Zero Star rating. It has taken Nissan too long to recognise that selling sub-standard cars is unacceptable. At last they have responded to the demands of Latin NCAP and Mexican consumers to withdraw the Tsuru from the market,” said David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP.
To illustrate just how unsafe a vehicle the Tsuru is compared to a modern vehicle, the people behind the Global and Latin NCAP organizations have organized a Car to Car test to crash the Tsuru against the 2016 Nissan Versa B17, the latter better known to us as the Nissan Almera.
Both vehicles involved in the test are manufactured in Mexico. In the test, they were propelled head-on against each other on 50% overlap at a combined closing speed of 130km/h – meaning, the two cars were probably doing 75 km/h each.
The aftermath of the crash clearly show the Tsuru’s lack of crashworthiness. Whilst the Versa’s passenger cell remained relatively intact, the Tsuru’s was badly deformed. Results of the post-crash analysis found that, ‘a driver in the Tsuru would have had high probability of suffering life-threatening injuries, it is likely that the crash would have been fatal, there were no airbags, and the main structures all failed, fatally compromising the survival space.’
Alejandro Furas, Latin NCAP Secretary General said, “In April this year we published a report showing that the Nissan Tsuru had been involved in more than 4,000 deaths on Mexico’s roads between 2007 and 2012. Even though we welcome Nissan’s announcement, why should at least 15,000 more units of this potentially life threatening model be sold between now and May? Why has it taken Nissan three years since we first crash tested and gave the Tsuru a Zero Star rating to take this unsafe car out of production?”
An official recording of the Car To Car crash test is embedded below. Fast forward to the 6:00 mark.