In a country where cows, stray
dogs, humans, scooters, cars and trucks, among others, try and share space on
pot holes roads, it comes as a major surprise when the New Car Assessment
Programme (NCAP), a non profit organisation registered in the UK, has come out
with a crash test which says that cars like the Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki
Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon have all failed
to protect the adult occupants.
Even while the manufacturers
of these cars are following every safety standard set by the Government of
India and clearing every test set forth by bodies like ARAI, the people behind Global
NCAP have trashed the cars based on tests done abroad in conditions that may or
may not be conducive to that in India. What really needs to be asked is: Does NCAP
have an axe to grind in India?
The latest Indian crash test
results from Global NCAP released in Delhi say that all five models are rated
as zero star. These models included the Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio,
Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon. All these models showed low
levels of adult occupant protection.
The Renault Kwid was tested in
three versions, including one with airbags, but each was rated as zero star for
adult safety. Commenting on the latest crash test results, David Ward,
Secretary General of Global NCAP said, “The latest SaferCarsforIndia results
show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable
in a crash. This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety
together with fitment at least of front air bags. It is very surprising that a
manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential
feature. Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the
world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard. Car
makers must ensure that their new models pass the UN’s minimum crash test
regulations, and support use of an airbag.
“We welcome Renault’s efforts
to correct this and we look forward to testing another improved version with
airbags. Renault has a strong record of achievement in safety in Europe and it
should offer the same commitment to its customers in India.”
Ward was speaking during the
Indian Automobile Safety Conference hosted by IRTE in Faridabad. “The results
highlight the importance of the Indian Government’s decision to mandate front
and side impact crash tests from October 2017. Legislative action is needed to
ensure that the minimum levels of occupant protection recommended by the United
Nations are guaranteed for Indian consumers. But manufacturers don’t have to
wait for legislation and we urge them to act to eliminate all zero star cars
from production as soon as possible. Global NCAP also welcomes the forthcoming
launch of a Bharat New Car Assessment Programme which can help build a market
for safer cars in India,” Ward noted.
Mahindra & Mahindra in a press
statement noted that “All Mahindra automotive products are developed and
manufactured to meet or exceed the safety standards set in India for a safe
driving experience. In fact, many models
exceed the expected regulations of 2019. The star rating as released by Global
NCAP (GNCAP) in the latest crash test was conducted on non-airbags variant of
the Scorpio. Typically, in any star rating process, non-airbag variants do not
perform well on safety standards. Most variants of the Scorpio are equipped
with airbags and a safety package. Approximately 75% of Scorpio customers
choose the air bags variants of the vehicle. There is nothing more important to us than our
customer’s safety. We are committed to
meeting and exceeding all current and future safety norms and in most cases giving
our customers choice of enhanced safety beyond the regulated standards.”
The Global NCAP tested the
standard version of the Kwid without airbags. It scored zero stars in adult
occupant protection and two stars in child occupant protection. The collapse of
the structure in the passenger compartment and the lack of airbags explained
the poor result.
Following safety improvements
Renault proposed that Global NCAP test an updated evolution of the Kwid in
production from early April 2016. The car was tested with and without an
airbag. The new Kwid without an airbag scored zero stars in the adult occupant
protection and two stars in child occupant protection. The structure did not
collapse however it was rated as unstable and that it could not withstand
further loadings. It was possible to see the structural reinforcements
implemented in this version of the Kwid but when Global NCAP checked the left
(passenger) side, there were no reinforcements. The structure was reinforced
only on the driver side.
The new Kwid with the addition
of driver airbag was also tested. This version also scored zero stars in the
adult occupant protection and two stars in child occupant protection. The
structure was the same as the new KWID without airbags but a high compression
in the dummy chest area explains the low score. Renault has confirmed that they
will implement further improvements to the KWID and Global NCAP will test these
new evolutions in forthcoming crash tests, a release from GNCAP said.
Mahindra Scorpio scored zero
stars in the adult occupant protection and two stars in child occupant
protection. The collapse of the structure combined with the lack of airbags
explains the score for the adult occupants protection which means that there is
high probability of life threatening injuries for at least one of the adult
Suzuki Maruti Eeco
The non airbag Eeco scored
zero stars in the adult occupant protection and one star in child occupant
protection. The collapse of the structure in the passenger compartment and the
lack of airbags explained the poor result in adult occupant protection. This
model does not offer optional airbags. Considering the structural collapse
airbags are not likely to help avoid life threatening injuries to the driver.
The Hyundai Eon is offered in
the standard version without airbags. It scored zero stars in the adult
occupant protection and two stars in child occupant protection. The unstable
structure in the passenger compartment and the lack of airbags explained the
poor result in adult occupant protection.
Suzuki Maruti Celerio
The non airbag Maruti Suzuki
Celerio scored zero stars in adult occupant protection and one star in child
occupant protection. The lack of airbags explained the poor result in adult
The low score in child
occupant protection is explained by the high values recorded in the 3 year old
child dummy as well as its forward excursion beyond the accepted limits.As a
result of Global NCAP’s SaferCarsforIndia crash testing Renault has sought to
improve the safety performance of the Kwid. Four versions of the Kwid have been
produced with different safety features, with the fourth only recently released
and yet to be tested by Global NCAP.
Despite the safety improvements
Renault has sought to introduce all of the versions tested to date have been
rated as zero star for adult protection.
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