Home > companies > Top Indian cars fail NCAP’s crash tests, get zero rating

New Delhi: Five Indian cars on Tuesday failed crash tests conducted on them by UK-based vehicle safety assessor Global NCAP, which awarded them all zero stars out of a possible five—largely on account of the absence of airbags in the models and variants tested.

The cars tested were Renault India Pvt. Ltd’s Kwid hatchback, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Celerio hatchback and Eeco van, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd’s Scorpio SUV and Hyundai Motor India Ltd’s small car Eon.

“All showed low levels of adult occupant protection," Global NCAP said in a statement.

Global NCAP conducted these tests in association with the Institute of Road Traffic Education, Faridabad, and the ministry of road transport and highways.

India has put in place crash-testing norms modelled on international guidelines in terms of the impact vehicles would have to withstand when they are put through safety assessments. The norms take effect in October 2017 for new cars and 2019 for existing models.

In addition, an initiative called Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme is being developed.

According to Global NCAP, three variants of the Renault Kwid were tested, including one with airbags, but each time it received a zero star for adult safety.

“Four versions of the Kwid have been produced with different safety features, with the fourth only recently released and yet to be tested by Global NCAP. Despite the safety improvements Renault has sought to introduce, all of the versions tested to date have been rated as zero star for adult protection," the agency said in a statement.

Renault said it is committed to complying with the timelines set by the Indian government for meeting crash-testing norms.

“Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all our products meet and exceed the requisite safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities," Renault India said in a statement.

Mumbai-based Mahindra’s Scorpio scored a zero star for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.

“The collapse of the structure combined with the lack of airbags explains the score for the adult occupants protection, which means that there is high probability of life-threatening injuries for at least one of the adult passengers," Global NCAP said.

In a statement, Mahindra said all its automotive products are developed and manufactured to meet or exceed the safety standards set in India.

“The star rating as released by Global NCAP (GNCAP) in the latest crash test was conducted on non-air bag variant of the Scorpio. Typically, in any star rating process, non-airbag variants do not perform well on safety standards," the company said.

Mahindra claimed a third of Scorpio buyers choose variants of the vehicle with airbags. Mahindra claimed that many of its models exceed the expected regulations of 2019.

The non-airbag Eeco got no stars for adult occupant protection and one star for child safety.

“Considering the structural collapse, airbags are not likely to help avoid life threatening injuries to the driver," Global NCAP said.

The non-airbag Maruti Suzuki Celerio scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and one star for child safety.

Maruti Suzuki claimed that all its products met Indian safety standards and in most cases exceeded them.

“The tests by global NCAP are conducted at speeds that are higher than those prescribed by the regulatory authorities not only in India but in Europe and USA. The results of Global NCAP have to be seen in that perspective," it said in a statement.

The Hyundai Eon is offered in the standard version without airbags. It scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.

Hyundai did not respond to requests seeking comment.

Many cars sold in India still come without airbags. The country hasn’t mandated their presence in every car. Airbags also increase the price tag of cars in what remains an extremely price-conscious market.

Bajaj Auto Ltd’s ambitious Qute quadricycle secured a one-star rating in crash tests performed by the Brussels-based Euro New Car Assessment Programme, or Euro NCAP, an affiliate of Global NCAP, in April.

In a statement on Tuesday, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, said: “It is clear to me that their stand on safety is beyond my limited comprehension."

Bajaj was invited by the Institute of Road Traffic Education, which held the tests with Global NCAP, to speak on the quadricycle, calling Bajaj’s product a global example and a vehicle of the future.

Bajaj saw the irony in this.

“A case of wanting to have your cake & eat it too?" he quipped.

Mayank Aggarwal contributed to this story.

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