Picture of Datsun Go
failing the Global NCAP crash test. Picture courtesy Global NCAP. For
representation purpose only
Indian cars may now become safer now that the government is
planning to ensure that each of the cars pass the frontal and side impact crash
test. Currently, there is no regulation in terms of crash tests for any vehicle
manufactured in India for domestic use.
Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon.
Radhakrishnan informed the Rajya Sabha on December 1, 2014 during the winter
session of Parliament that the Government is planning to mandate the offset
frontal crash test and side impact crash test norms for passenger cars. The Minister
said that for this, requisite test facilities are being built under National
Automotive Testing and Research and Development Infrastructure Project (NATRIP)
initiative. Once these facilities are ready, the regulations will be
implemented. To meet these regulations, majority of car manufacturers will
require to use several safety devices, including air bags.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM) are the
members of the Standing Committee on the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, which
decides the implementation issues. Automobile manufacturers provide their
viewpoints from time to time in this forum along with other stakeholders.
The announcement from the Minister comes at a time when
Indian passenger cars made in the country failed crash tests conducted by the Global
NCAP. In fact its Chairman Max Mosley even wrote to Nissan Chairman and CEO,
Carlos Ghosn, calling for an urgent withdrawal of the Datsun Go from the Indian
and related markets. The Datsun Go small car sold in India scored zero stars
for adult occupant protection and just two stars for child occupant protection.
The Datsun Go’s vehicle structure collapsed in the crash and was rated as
unstable. The car’s lack of airbags meant that the driver’s head makes direct
contact with the steering wheel and dashboard – the dummy readings indicate a
high probability of life-threatening injuries. And to make matters worse, the
Global NCAP observed that the failure of the body shell makes it redundant to
fit an airbag.
Global NCAP is an independent charity registered in the
Recently, the crash test results released by Global
NCAP showed that while Nissan’s Datsun Go received a zero-star safety ratin, the Maruti Suzuki Swift also scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and
just one star for child occupant protection.
In January 2014, the first-ever independent crash tests of
some of India’s popular and important small cars had shown a high-risk of life
threatening injuries in road crashes. All the cars selected by Global NCAP for
testing in a frontal impact at 64km/h received zero-star adult protection ratings.
The models tested included India’s best-selling car, the
Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, the Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen.
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