French car major Renault got zero star for the basic version of its passenger vehicle, the Indian Duster. In the second set of ‘Safer Cars For India results for 2017’, which was released on Wednesday, Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), a UK-based body focused on testing of car safety, said that the Duster, which is sold without airbags in its basic version, recorded a disappointing zero star for adult-occupant protection.
The crash tests, which were conducted on the Renault Duster in its basic version without airbags and at the request of the manufacturer in the version with an optional driver airbag, showed that due to the lack of airbags the driver injuries would have been unacceptably high. The Duster also scored 2 stars for rear-seat child-occupant protection.
Renault, which also asked Global NCAP to test a version of the Duster that included a single-driver airbag, increased the score to 3 stars for adult occupant protection; child protection remained the same at 2 stars.
In response to GNCAP crash test results, Renault India in a statement said: “Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all our products meet and exceed the requisite safety standards set by Indian regulatory authorities. India is gradually moving towards international safety norms by including more robust safety regulations and the assurance of 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. Indian government has announced that the crash test regulation for the existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for the new cars in 2017. Renault fully supports this.”
Global NCAP has decided to further investigate the Duster as a single-airbag version was tested by Latin NCAP in 2015, where it scored 4 stars. It was found that the Indian Duster airbag was smaller than that of the Latin American Duster. The difference in airbag size brings corresponding differences in protection. In the case of the Indian Duster, the head of the driver did not contact the airbag in the centre as it should, exposing the head to impact on the steering wheel and therefore more risk of injuries, the Global NCAP pointed out.
This can be seen when the head reaches maximum front excursion and compresses the airbag. The Latin American Duster airbag, on the other hand, was of a larger size and covered the head and chest of the driver. With the head in maximum forward excursion, the airbag still shows containment to the head protecting it from the steering wheel. David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP, said: “It is troubling that during the UN Road Safety Week we yet again encounter a zero star car in our crash testing in India. Renault produce the Duster in a number of markets and yet it seems content to provide a version for India which falls so far short on safety”
“The version of the Duster with an airbag scores three stars, but this too fell short as it was fitted with a smaller airbag. A model with a correctly-sized airbag should be provided as standard” he added.
Rohit Baluja, president of the Institute of Road Traffic Education, said: “The maximum speed limit for passenger cars in India has been notified as high as 100 kph. Highways in India are witnessing high speeds of light motor vehicles and therefore it is of utmost importance that our new generation cars are built to the highest safety standards.”