Some of the more popular cars in India have failed this crash course. In a recent assessment of car safety by Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), products from carmakers Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) and Renault failed to meet expected levels.
Maruti’s van Eeco and the Celerio, Hyundai’s small car Eon, M&M’s utility vehicle Scorpio and Renault’s recently launched small car Kwid were given zero star ratings by Global NCAP, reflecting extremely low levels of adult and child occupant protection.
Global NCAP secretary general David Ward explained that a stable body shell is an absolutely crucial prerequisite for occupant safety, together with at least front airbags.
“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 substandard. Carmakers must ensure that their new models pass the UN’s minimum crash test regulations, and support use of an airbag,” he added.
The global car testing agency tested the Kwid with and without an airbag and gave a zero star for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection. M&M’s Scorpio also scored a zero star for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.
Hatchbacks from the top two car manufacturers, the Celerio and Eon, also registered zero stars for adult occupant protection levels.
M&M in a statement said the latest test was conducted on a non-airbags variant of the Scorpio. Typically, non-airbag variants do not perform well on safety standards.
According to the company, most variants of the Scorpio are equipped with airbags and a safety package. Approximately 75% of Scorpio customers choose the airbags variants of the vehicle.
“India is gradually moving towards international safety norms by including more robust safety regulations and the assurance of the Bharat NCAP is a positive step in this direction. As a customer-focused company, Renault fully supports this initiative and we are already future-ready in terms of technology, design and engineering for enhanced safety for all our vehicles,” Renault India said in a statement regarding the crash tests.
The Indian government has announced that the crash test regulation for existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for new cars in 2017.
“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,” said Ward at the Indian Automobile Safety Conference hosted by IRTE in Faridabad.