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are all challenges in India, where roads are often unpaved and pockmarked by ditches. City streets frequently crumble under heavy traffic, monsoon rains and hot sun. The minimal fines imposed for speeding mean limits are often flouted, with drivers peeling around corners and honking at cows, bullock carts, cyclists or anything else in their way.
Tim Leverton, head of Research and Development for Tata Motors, said Tata is looking again at the Nano's structure for ways to improve its strength, after already adding power steering and improving the car's dynamics.
In the Indian tests, only the Volkswagon Polo's 2014 model had air bags, which were added after the earlier model failed the crash test. Volkswagon said the air bags, as well as anti-lock brakes, would become standard from Feb. 1 along with a 2.7 percent price increase to offset the costs.
''We are proud to be leading the cause of driver safety,'' Arvind Saxena, the managing director of Volkswagen's Indian passenger car business, said in a statement.
India's biggest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, did not respond to calls for comment.
The Polo and the Ford Figo were the only two cars to maintain their structures in a 64-kph (40-mph) collision, while the other three crumpled at a slower speed of 56 kph (35 mph) in ways that would likely lead to fatality or serious injury even with air bags.
All five cars chosen were standard, entry-level models, the sort a working class family might choose as their first car, rather than more expensive versions with additional features. About 80 percent of the cars sold in India have price tags of under $8,000.