Indian safety is worrying says Global NCAP

Indian safety is worrying says Global NCAP


India’s five most popular small cars have scored a zero in a crash-safety test conducted by UK-based Global NCAP.

The Tata Nano, the Maruti Alto 800, the Hyundai i10, the Ford Figo and the Volkswagen Polo, account for almost 20% of sales in the Indian continent, which now has the greatest number of global road fatalities per annum.

However, in response, all of the manufacturers concerned have responded with the same line, that they comply with all Indian safety standards.

Global NCAP chose the entry-level version of each model, and as a result none were fitted with air bags as standard.

The five cars were tested for frontal impact at 64kmph and received zero-star adult protection ratings with a high risk of life-threatening injuries in road crashes. None of them come with critical safety features like airbags or anti-braking system as standard equipment in India.

Global NCAP says the Nano, the Alto and the i10 were so poor structurally that even airbags wouldn’t make the cars very safe.

The Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo had structures that remained stable – and, therefore, with airbags fitted, protection for the driver and front passenger would be much improved says Global NCAP.

Because of this, Global NCAP agreed to a request from VW to assess a version of the Polo that has two airbags fitted as standard as from now. It has withdrawn the non-airbag equipped car from sale.

Other manufacturers had the same opportunity. The protection proved much better for the VW and this airbag-equipped model received a four-star rating for adult occupant protection. Indian consumers are encouraged to check which version of the Polo they buy.

“India is now a major global market and production centre for small cars, so it’s worrying to see levels of safety that are 20 years behind the five-star standards common in Europe and North America,” says Max Mosley, chairman of Global NCAP.

“Poor structural integrity and the absence of airbags are putting the lives of Indian consumers at risk. They have a right to expect the same basic levels of safety as customers in other part of the world.”

“All our vehicles, including the Tata Nano meets all Indian safety regulations, including the frontal barrier crash test at 48 kmph, as mandated by the government,” says Tim Leverton, chief of the advanced and product engineering department at Tata Motors.

Maruti refused to comment, but a Hyundai spokesperson says Hyundai Motor India affirms that its vehicles are designed and build to meet all the prescribed safety standards set by Indian regulatory authorities.”

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