Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) has been at the forefront of creating awareness about vehicle safety globally. The global safety watchdog, project of UK-registered charity- Towards Zero Foundation , has been instrumental in creating buzz about vehicle safety.
In an exclusive interaction with Express Mobility, David Ward, Executive Director, Global NCAP shared his views on the evolution of safety in the Indian passenger vehicle market, hits and misses, Bharat NCAP, the importance of airbags and seatbelts and how Global NCAP will keep pushing the safety envelope in the automotive space.
It was in January 2014, the global safety watchdog released the first-ever independent crash test results under its ‘Safer Cars for India’ initiative. Global NCAP conducted the tests based on the 2013 Latin NCAP assessment protocol for adult occupant protection and the 2010 Latin NCAP assessment protocol for child occupant protection.
The organisation tested five cars with all of them scoring zero stars for adult occupant production; all but one car also failed the UN’s regulatory requirements for frontal impact (ECE R94) at 56kmph with 40% offset against a deformable barrier. This was attributed to the lack of airbags in all of the five cars tested, as well as poor structural integrity in three out of the five cars tested.
But, Ward is optimistic, given the fact that the OEMs in India have come a long way – “Well there’s been a huge increase in quality over the last four to five years and Global NCAP is very pleased to help support that process through our safe cars for India project.”
“And with our partner the Institute for Road Traffic Education (IRTE) in Delhi we have now tested nearly 60 models and have seen huge progress. From nearly all cars having zero star ratings at the beginning in 2014, which did not meet minimum safety standards now we have um leading car brands like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra competing for five-star results. In parallel a very welcome initiative by the Indian government particularly Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari for introducing new vehicle safety standards which align India with best international practices,” shared Ward.
He added that over the years, the government’s pressure along with improvement in customer awareness around vehicle safety has pushed OEMs to improve vehicle safety standards.
When asked about the future of Global NCAP in India, he says that the idea behind ‘Safer Cars for India’ initiative was to be a catalyst for Bharat NCAP and not to be its replacement. Furthermore, while the Bharat NCAP is expected to be up and running by next year, Ward says Global NCAP will come out with test results for some more cars in India till then.
As for Global NCAP’s role in the post-Bharat NCAP era, Ward says “The important thing with NCAP is that they should always be above and beyond regulations. If every car is getting five stars then that tells you that the NCAP isn’t strong enough. NCAP is about putting on a competition that should be like the Olympics, getting a five-star NCAP rating should be like winning a gold medal in the Olympics.”