Crash bag for Datsun GO 'imminent'

2015-03-19 10:10

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The Datsun GO, launched in South Africa in October 2014, will from July be available with an optional driver’s-side crash bag.

This was confirmed to Wheels24 by the global head of Datsun, Vincent Cobee, while on a lightning visit to South Africa recently.

He stated that from the middle of 2015 the bag would be an extra-cost option in the GO Lux model. The price had not been finalised but such a unit, he said, usually added about R3000 to a purchase price.


This announcement follows stiff criticism of the new vehicle after the GO, an entry-level hatchback, was released in South Africa without crash-bag protection or anti-lock brakes. Worse, soon after its local launch, the GO also failed the Global NCAP- and UN endorsed crash test procedures, and in a recent development Global NCAP has called on motor manufacturers to “democratise safety for all cars worldwide by 2020”.

In a study by Global NCAP released mid-March 2015 it was revealed that millions of new cars sold in middle and low-income countries would fail the UN’s basic safety standards for front and side impacts.

Still, in fairness, Datsun's not the only automaker that fared badly in Global NCAP tests. In late 2014 Maruti Suzuki’s Alto also received a zero-stars rating after failing the tests; in January 2015 the Hyundai i10, Tata Nano, Ford Figo en even the Volkswagen Polo failed the tests with a zero grading – in most part because these models, as specified for the Indian market, did not have bags.

As a result VW made available a bag-equipped Polo for the Global NCAP tests and earned a four-star grading.


Back in South Africa, as in India, there are besides the GO a few other entry-level models (among them Tata Indica, Chery QQ3 and Geely LC 1.0) not equipped with crash bags.

While Cobee readily admits more must be done to make the GO safer, he doesn’t want this to be done in precipitate fashion. “It cannot just be a Band-Aid to cover the problem, it has to be done in a structured and organised fashion.”

Some evolutions of the car have already made the driver's bag fully functional and these evolutions, he said, would be adopted on all models. While other protection systems would be considered, he added, he pointed out that "the stopping distance of the lightweight GO is nearly 20% better than competitors” .

He also viewed this as part of road and crash-protection in the broader sense. “Our rationale is to provide mobility to all so we need to cater for younger, first-car, buyers for whom affordability is paramount. Viewed from this perspective there are many more factors besides vehicle safety that lead to high crash and road-death rates. We must address these issues as well.”


Des Fenner, general manager of Datsun South Africa, said the company was evaluating ways to contribute to vehicle and road safety holistically. More detail on this, he said, would be made available in coming months.

Cobee also said Datsun had, since early 2014, sold more than 60 000 vehicles in four countries – India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa. The automaker also has plans to extend its product range in South Africa (most probably with the GO+) but Cobeee did not want to elaborate.


  • Adrian Bruwer - 2015-03-19 10:34

    And ABS? And power steering?

      Fredster Mania - 2015-03-19 11:30

      ABS more important

      Motormanpete - 2015-03-19 21:35

      The Datsun GO will still fail even if equipped with airbags according to NCAP authorities whereas the others would pass. It is a disgraceful car. BTW the maintenance plan on this tin can is a whopping R67K for the 5yr/150 000 option for a car that has nothing!

  • taggert - 2015-03-19 12:45

    It is bordering on criminal to sell this "Datsun Go" without Air Bags or ABS.I also see Nissan Dealers selling them, so have lost respect for that brand as well. I wonder if the local executives would let their own family drive one.

  • Deon van der Merwe - 2015-03-19 15:14

    We grew up without ABS, Power Steering or Airbags and road deaths were much lower. Keep pedestrians off the roads and train people to drive properly and you could curb the death rate by 75%!!!

      Pieter Van Heerden - 2015-03-20 09:04

      That is a very odd way of thinking. there are thousands and thousands more vehicles on the roads today then when you grew up. driving habits have probably changed - with speeding and road rage major problems today that were not so prevalent years ago. ABS, Power Steering and airbags will not double the cost of a entry level car, as this is existing technology manufactured in high quantities. Auto makers can easily incorporate that into design even at cost price to them, and still maintain the markup on entry level vehicles. These are proven technologies that can avoid accidents and save lives in an accident. I agree with keeping pedestrians off the road and proper driver training, and it should be implemented, but that is a long term solution (safety culture change) as it will be impossible to enforce by any law. It will be easy however for government to impose law that says no new vehicle may be sold in SA without x, y and z minimum safety requirements.

  • Steven Goldswain - 2015-03-19 18:22

    Fitting a airbag will be futile according to euro NCAP. The crash structure completely deformed at 64kph to the extent the chances of survival are extremely low. Watch the clip on youtube.

      Motormanpete - 2015-03-19 21:38

      100% Steven. Why should we be accepting of this rubbish. Many countries do not allow it to be sold and given our sky-high death rates, it is a clear statement from Nissan SA executives that making a quick buck is a higher priority than lives.

      Kaliza Bashonga - 2015-03-20 19:14

      Steven thank you for that warm plate of common sense.

  • Jacques Mouton - 2015-03-19 21:50

    What is a crash bag? The term is airbag.

  • Kaliza Bashonga - 2015-03-20 19:22

    I went to a Nissan dealership recently and took a look at the Dutsan Go. I told the sales man thst I've read articles stating that the Go was infact a "no go" in terms of safety. He said to me "you know why people say it's not safe? Because it doesn't have airbags". He then proceeded to tell me that the car has crumple zones and asked me if I know what crumple zones are "yes, its the parts of the body designed to absorb energy in the event of a crash" i replied. But then i asked "does the Go have a occupant safety cage?“ he replied and said no." so the whole car is a crumple zone? “, he looked down and confirmed that the whole car would crumple up. Nice try though.

      Motormanpete - 2015-03-21 11:15

      Bwhahahahahahah! Kaliza that was one funny comment!

  • Stephen Roderick Young - 2015-03-21 20:55

    It is an entry level car people. We drove tons of Volkswagen Golfs with basic spec for years. If you have the money for more sophisticated cars buy them, vote with your wallet and let the people who can only afford a basic car make an informed decision on their own. It is always the same a "basic no frills car" is put on the market. Then headrest, sound system, aircon,tinted windows etc are added which now makes it too expensive for the entry level market. We then start the whole cycle again which the Go is doing. In any case South African drivers are their own worst enemy we actually don't deserve airbags.

  • Hentus Lemmer - 2015-06-10 19:09

    Crash bag?????? WTF????? Surely you mean AIRBAG.... Don't know what a Crash bag is, but it sounds a bit like those brown paper bags on planes

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