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Nissan has announced that it is ending production of its Tsuru sedan in Mexico by May 2017. The automaker said that there will be no direct substitute for the zero-star rated car – more familiar to many as the B13 Sentra – and will begin steering customers towards other models in its Mexican line-up.

The automaker made the announcement on the eve of a car-to-car crash test involving the Tsuru and the five-star rated 2016 Nissan Versa (US-market version of the Almera) organised by Global NCAP and Latin NCAP. The results of the test, which involved a 50% overlap and a combined closing speed of 129 km/h (80 mph), graphically highlighted the urgent need for the Tsuru to be taken out of production.

Global NCAP said that a driver in the Tsuru would have had a high probability of suffering life-threatening injuries. It added that it is likely that such a crash in real world conditions would have been fatal because there were no airbags in the Tsuru and the main structures all failed, fatally compromising the survival space.

“Our first ever car-to-car test clearly shows the importance of minimum crash test regulations. Mexico doesn’t yet apply them and the US has had them for decades. The lack of standards can result in the sale of unsafe cars like the Nissan Tsuru,” Global NCAP secretary-general David Ward said.

“Across Latin America, all countries should apply UN or equivalent safety standards to all new passenger cars, so that there is no future for zero-star cars,” he added.

The Tsuru was crash tested three years ago by Latin NCAP and given a zero-star rating. In April this year, Latin NCAP published a report showing that the Tsuru had been involved in more than 4,000 deaths on Mexico’s roads between 2007 and 2012.

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While welcoming Nissan’s announcement that it was pulling the plug on the Tsuru, Latin NCAP secretary-general Alejando Furas questioned the delay in getting the car off the market.

“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?,” he asked.

Meanwhile, the automaker, in making the announcement of the Tsuru’s future, added that a special commemorative version of the car will be sold beginning March 2017, with only 1,000 units available.