New Delhi: The base variant of Renault India Pvt. Ltd’s Duster, which comes with no airbags, recorded a zero star rating for adult occupant protection in tests conducted by UK-based vehicle safety assessor Global NCAP but Renault claimed its products “exceed” Indian safety standards.
The absence of airbags means driver injuries would have been unacceptably high in a crash, Global NCAP said in a statement.
The Duster scored 2 stars out of a maximum 5 for rear seat child occupant protection.
After the test, Renault asked Global NCAP to test another version of the Duster that comes with one airbag—for the driver.
“This increased the score to 3 stars for adult occupant protection; child protection remained the same at 2 stars,” Global NCAP said.
But here too the Indian version fell short. Global NCAP said Duster’s single airbag version for Latin America was tested by Latin NCAP in 2015 where it scored 4 stars. The Indian Duster’s airbag was smaller than that of the Latin American Duster, it said.
“The difference in airbag size brings corresponding differences in protection. With the Indian Duster, the head of the driver did not contact the airbag in the centre as it should, exposing the head to impact on the steering wheel and therefore more risk of injuries. This can be seen when the head reaches maximum front excursion and compresses the airbag. The Latin American Duster airbag on the other hand was a larger size and covered the head and chest of the driver. With the head in maximum forward excursion the airbag still shows containment to the head protecting it from the steering wheel,” Global NCAP said.
When contacted, Renault India said, “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 fully supports this.”