Ahead of government's vehicle safety norms set to kick in 2017, country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) plans to introduce features like airbags and anti-lock braking system as an option in its mass market models.
The company has already offered these safety features as standard across all variants of its premium car S-Cross and also introduced in the upcoming premium hatchback Baleno.
"We are working on several models on enhancing the safety. We are producing safety packages on these (mass market) models and our introduction would be much ahead of government regulations coming into force," a senior company official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
As per the company's plans, MSI is looking to offer the safety features even on entry-level variants of its models, including Alto800 and AltoK10, as an option keeping in mind the price sensitivity of the segment, the official added.
Currently, the company gives safety equipment options on higher variants of its various mass market models like Alto800, AltoK10, Swift, Dzire and Ciaz.
As part of the plans, the company has offered safety package as an option in base variants of the new upgraded version of multi-purpose vehicle Ertiga. It is also working to offer the same in mid-sized sedan Ciaz.
The Indian auto industry is gearing up to meet new safety standards as the Centre has decided to introduce stringent norms under which all new cars will have to undergo mandatory crash tests from October 2017.
The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has developed a comprehensive testing facility at Chakan, near Pune, for crash test of the new vehicles.
The developments assume significance as India accounts for one of the highest numbers of road accidents globally -- 5 lakh per annum in which 1.5 lakh people die and about 3 lakh are crippled for life every year.