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Cars to get ‘Star Ratings’ on performance in crash tests

Gadkari said the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme will serve as a consumer-centric platform, allowing customers to opt for safer cars based upon their ‘Star  Ratings’

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To boost road safety in the country, Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday said the new car assessment programme — Bharat NCAP, proposes a mechanism wherein automobiles in India shall be accorded ‘Star Ratings’ based upon their performance in crash tests.

In a series of tweets, Gadkari said the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP) will serve as a consumer-centric platform, allowing customers to opt for safer cars based upon their ‘Star  Ratings’, while promoting a healthy competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in India to manufacture safer vehicles.

While the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers did not comment on the development, the country’s largest passenger car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India welcomed the move, stating that safety is a high priority for the company and all its vehicles meet the necessary requirements and regulations of safety.

“We are studying the draft notification at present,” Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India, told FE.When asked whether the introduction of Bharat NCAP will lead to an increase in the price of Maruti cars, Srivastava said: “We will have to study in detail the draft notification.

Once we do that, then only we will be able to comment on the kind of effect it will have”.”All our products meet all the requirements and regulations of safety,” he added.Earlier in the day, in a series of tweets, Gadkari said: “Bharat-NCAP will serve as a consumer-centric platform allowing customers to opt for safer cars based upon their ‘Star Ratings’ while promoting a healthy competition among OEMs in India to manufacture safer vehicles”.

Gadkari observed that the ‘Star Ratings’ of Indian cars based on crash tests is extremely crucial not only to ensure structural and passenger safety in them but to also increase their export worthiness.According to the draft notification, Bharat NCAP will be applicable to the vehicles of M1 category with GVW (gross vehicle weight) less than or equal to 3,500 kg. M1 category includes a motor vehicle used for the carriage of passengers, comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat.

Bharat NCAP will evaluate the vehicle for adult occupant protection, child occupant protection and safety assist technologies, and award separate ratings. Among the crash tests conducted on the vehicle will be offset deformable barrier frontal impact test (at 64 kmph), side impact test (at 50 kmph) and pole side impact test (29 kmph).

The ratings would be from a single star to a maximum of five stars for adult occupant protection and child occupant protection. For assessment, a model can be submitted voluntarily by the original equipment manufacturer or recommended by the road transport and highways ministry based on the market feedback and its analysis.

The government can also request the Bharat NCAP authority to select a particular variant for assessment in the interest of public safety.

At present, various cars sold in India are crash tested by Global NCAP to assess their safety standards.Gadkari said that the testing protocol of Bharat NCAP will be aligned with global crash test protocols, factoring in the existing Indian regulations and allowing original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get their vehicles tested at India’s own in-house testing facilities.

While the USA was the first country to introduce a programme for testing the safety standards of a car through crash tests, presently there are several agencies like Australasian NCAP, ASEAN NCAP, China NCAP, Euro NCAP, Japan NCAP, Korean NCAP and Latin NCAP, doing a similar job for other regions.

“Bharat NCAP will prove to be a critical instrument in making our automobile industry Aatmanirbhar with the mission of making India the Number 1 automobile hub in the world,” Gadkari said.

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