The Latin and Global New Car Assessment Programmes have welcomed the Mexican government's publication of new vehicle safety standards but said they were "very disappointed" by the long delay in full implementation of new crash test regulations which will not be fully applied to all new cars sold in Mexico until 2020.

"Such a long lead time is completely unnecessary as the Mexican industry already has the capacity to apply the new standards immediately and already exports cars compliant with them to Europe and the US. Latin NCAP and Global NCAP also regret that the new regulation does not include electronic stability control," it said in a statement.

David Ward, Global NCAP secretary general, said: "Legislative commitments to mandate ESC technology have been made by Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador and it is very sad that Mexico is failing to do the same. This is a serious mistake and a missed opportunity to promote this life-saving anti-skid technology which helps to avoid crashes and can prevent fatal and serious injuries to thousands of Mexican citizens.

"Latin NCAP and Global NCAP call on the Mexican government to take the earliest opportunity to amend the new regulations to bring forward the date of application of the new crash test standards and to include ESC as a mandatory requirement. We also urge the car manufacturers not to wait for the legislation but to act now to improve car safety in Mexico. Nissan, for example, should immediately withdraw the zero star Tsuru from sale and General Motors should act to improve the safety performance of the Chevrolet Aveo."

Alejandro Furas, Latin NCAP secretary general, said: "It is very disappointing to see the Mexican government delaying vehicle safety improvements. Car manufacturers have known how to achieve better safety standards for at least 20 years. It is sad that the Mexican government has not listened to the voice of Mexican consumers and the important opinion of the health secretary calling for better vehicle safety sooner rather than later. It is even worse to see the Mexican government go along with the delaying tactics of the auto industry in this way. Mexican lives will be lost because of this delay."