There are many parameters that one should consider when making a vehicle purchase. In India, it’s been traditionally about fuel efficiency, maintenance costs or ease of ownership, and resale value. Safety as an important sales driving parameter never really featured on the top of the list, but has gradually been gaining ground with consumers getting increasingly aware and more demanding.
The Global NCAP results of the latest crash tests conducted on five Indian car models — the Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon — are disappointing to put it mildly. It is expected that the manufacturers are going to react with strong words in favour of their models suggesting that the cars comply with all Indian safety norms. But is it really enough?
There might be debates about these crash test results, especially questioning the testing methodology and the speed of 64Km/h at which the vehicles were subjected to impact being higher than ideal. Now, what really is ideal, anyway? David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP, in an official statement on the crash test results said, “The latest SaferCarsforIndia results show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable in a crash. This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety together with fitment at least of front air bags.”
The recent sales sensation in the compact hatchback segment, Renault Kwid, was tested in three trims, including one with airbags, but all of the variants scored zero for adult safety.
Ward, commenting on Renault, added, ”It is very surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature. Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard. Car makers must ensure that their new models pass the UN’s minimum crash test regulations, and support use of an airbag.”
He further added, “We welcome Renault’s efforts to correct this and we look forward to testing another improved version with airbags. Renault has a strong record of achievement in safety in Europe and it should offer the same commitment to its customers in India.”
Renault India released an official statement that said, “GNCAP announced their results today and welcomed Renault’s efforts and commitment to safety enhancement. Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all our products meet and exceed the requisite safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities. India is gradually moving towards international safety norms by including more robust safety regulations and the assurance of the Bharat NCAP is a positive step in this direction. As a customer-focused company, Renault fully supports this initiative and we are already future-ready in terms of technology, design and engineering for enhanced safety for all our vehicles. Indian Government has announced that the crash test regulation for the existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for the new cars in 2017 . Renault is committed to comply with these timelines.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines