Two more popular cars in India—the Maruti Suzuki Swift and
the Datsun Go--- have flunked the crash test, according to Global NCAP, a UK
based non profit organisation and the umbrella body of consumer car safety
testing bodies. In January 2014, the same body had announced the crash test
results for five of India’s best-known cars: the Suzuki Maruti Alto 800, the
Hyundai i10, the Ford Figo, the Volkswagen Polo, and the Tata Nano. All the
cars received zero-star adult protection ratings. Volkswagen has since decided
to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard. This model
subsequently received a four-star safety rating.
According to a press report by Global NCAP, crash tests of
Nissan’s Datsun Go and Maruti-Suzuki’s Swift demonstrate a high risk of
life-threatening injuries with both cars receiving zero-star safety rating for
their adult occupant protection. These risks would be significantly reduced if
the cars had to comply with the UN test regulation for frontal and side impact.
The UK based body has in the meantime welcomed the Indian
Government’s initiative to launch a New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) but
believes that this positive step should also be accompanied by action to apply
the United Nation’s minimum crash tests standards. India is now the fifth
largest producer in the world of passenger cars but new independent crash tests
show why the country should use internationally accepted safety standards, the
press note said.
Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley said that India has the
potential to be a world leader in the automobile industry but Indian consumers
are not aware of how unsafe they would be in case of a crash. “That is why we
are pleased that India is launching an NCAP consumer testing programme. This
would be a step forward for safety but regulations based on the UN’s minimum
crash test standards are also needed. If this happens every new car sold in
India would have a proper crash structure and airbags,” he added.
Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward said: “We welcome
the initiative of the Indian government to launch its own NCAP and recommend
that this positive step is combined with the application of the UN regulations
for frontal and side impact. Prompt action like this would prevent the
introduction of brand new models like the Datsun Go, which has body structure
so weak that is pointless to fit an airbag.”
Mr Ward added that “It is disappointing to see a global
company like Nissan launch a new car design in 2014 that so clearly falls below
UN safety standards. This runs counter to the objectives of the UN Decade of
President of the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) said: “Consumers
are not yet aware of the safety aspects of the vehicle they purchase. The
consumer believes that the automobiles they are purchasing meet the best safety
standards. While deciding to purchase the vehicle the consumer does not yet
consider safety as a deciding parameter. This awareness needs to be created. It
must be the responsibility of both the vehicle manufacturer and seller to
provide this information to the consumer and make this aspect the basis of
marketing. Referring to The Prime Minister’s campaign “Make in India”, the call
is “not just make in India, but make the highest quality of products in India
which match the best of global standards.”
Baluja complimented the Ministry of Road Transport &
Highways for their initiative with the Automobile Industry to start the process
of the Indian NCAP as well as towards framing a regulatory structure. Baluja
however laid emphasis that while USA initiated the process of having an NCAP as
early as 1979, and most automobile manufacturing countries have followed suit,
India is far behind schedule and must complete both the regulatory and NCAP
consumer information process not later than 2016.
Datsun GO 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. However the failure
of the body shell makes it redundant to fit an airbag. The two-star rating for
child protection is due mainly to the poor performance of the Child Restraint
Maruti Suzuki Swift
scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and just one star for child
occupant protection. The Swift’s vehicle structure showed signs of collapsing
in the crash and was rated as unstable. The car’s lack of standard-fit airbags
meant that the driver’s head makes direct contact with the steering wheel – the
dummy readings indicate a high probability of life threatening injuries. Unlike
the Go, fitting airbags would improve occupant protection. The Swift’s poor
child protection score is due mainly to the poor performance of the Child
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