How carmakers take it easy on safety standards

There is a need to adopt internationally accepted standard to prevent sale of unsafe cars to Indian consumers.

Even as India is ranked fifth largest in global passenger car production, new independent crash tests show that there is a need to adopt internationally accepted standards to prevent the sale of unsafe cars to Indian consumers.

In the second round of crash tests conducted by the Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), a UK-based registered charity, Nissan’s Datsun Go and the Maruti Suzuki Swift have demonstrated a high risk of life-threatening injuries.


Both cars have got a zero-star safety rating for their adult occupant protection. The NCAP has said that the risks would have been significantly lower if the cars had to comply with the UN regulations on frontal and side impact.


Maruti Suzuki Swift:

* Scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and just one star for child occupant protection.
* Vehicle structure showed signs of collapsing in the crash and was rated as unstable.
* The car’s lack of standard-fit airbags meant that the driver’s head makes direct contact with the steering wheel — the dummy readings indicate a high probability of life threatening injuries. Unlike the Go, fitting airbags would improve occupant protection.

In January 2014, Global NCAP published crash test results for five of India’s best-known cars: the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, the Hyundai i10, the Ford Figo, the Volkswagen Polo, and the Tata Nano. All the cars received zero-star adult protection ratings.

Volkswagen has since decided to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard. This model subsequently received a four-star safety rating.



Euro NCAP Results:

Suzuki Swift:  
Aug 2010: 5 star rating
Sep 2013: 5 star for facelift review

Hyundai i10
2008: 4 star rating

Front impact: The passenger compartment remained stable in the impact. Protection of the driver’s chest was rated as weak owing to the extent to which it was compressed during the test. Structures in the dashboard presented a risk of injury to the knees and femurs of the front seat passengers.

VW Polo
Aug 2009: 5 star rating
Mar 2014: 5 star for facelift review

Ford Figo
Nov 2012: 5 star rating

Car makers have claimed that models sold in India meet local norms. Comparable global variants have higher safety norms, in most cases 5-star ratings in the same models sold in the EU.

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