CITING THE global supply chain-related constraints faced by the auto industry, the Government has deferred the implementation of mandatory six airbags in passenger cars by one year to October 2023.
The Union Road Transport and Highways Ministry had earlier mandated six airbags in vehicles that can carry up to eight passengers from October 1, 2022.
“Considering the global supply chain constraints being faced by the auto industry and its impact on the macroeconomic scenario, it has been decided to implement the proposal mandating a minimum of 6 Airbags in Passenger Cars (M-1 Category) with effect from 1 October 2023,” Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said in a tweet on Thursday.
“Safety of all passengers travelling in motor vehicles irrespective of their cost and variants is the foremost priority,” he tweeted.
Safety of all passengers travelling in motor vehicles irrespective of their cost and variants is the foremost priority.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) September 29, 2022
In January this year, the Ministry had issued a draft notification seeking to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989, to include the airbag mandate for car-makers.
The auto industry has for years been pushing back on this upgrade citing various reasons, including the impact it would have on the cost of the vehicles in a price-sensitive market.
Manufacturers of small cars in the Rs 3-7 lakh range have flagged that more air bags will lift costs to unsustainable levels. A frontal airbag in an entry-level car costs between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000, and side and curtain airbags could cost more than double that amount, although mass manufacturing can bring down unit costs.
Gadkari, however, had emphased the need to make airbags for all occupants in passenger cars a standard feature, asserting that car-makers fit adequate airbags in the same vehicles meant for export markets.
The automakers have also underlined the steep taxes on cars, making their products expensive in the domestic market.
According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, over 1.55 lakh lives were lost in road accidents across the country in 2021 — the highest such figures recorded in any calendar year so far.