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Mandatory front seat airbags rule: FADA says 'manufacturers should absorb cost increase'

(FILES) In this file photo the General Motors Flint Assembly plant is viewed on May 18, 2020 in Flint, Michigan, producing Heavy-Duty Chevrolet and GMC Sierra Crew and Regular Cab Trucks. - US auto safety authorities said on November 23, 2020 that they had ordered General Motors to recall nearly six million pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles that contain Takata airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rejected a four-year old appeal from GM and concluded the automaker Premium
(FILES) In this file photo the General Motors Flint Assembly plant is viewed on May 18, 2020 in Flint, Michigan, producing Heavy-Duty Chevrolet and GMC Sierra Crew and Regular Cab Trucks. - US auto safety authorities said on November 23, 2020 that they had ordered General Motors to recall nearly six million pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles that contain Takata airbags. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rejected a four-year old appeal from GM and concluded the automaker "has not met its burden of establishing that the defect is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety," according to an agency statement. (Photo by JEFF KOWALSKY / AFP) (AFP)

  • The Union road transport and highways ministry proposed to make it mandatory for automakers to provide an airbag for the front passenger, over and above the existing airbag for the driver of passenger vehicles

The Central Government's proposal to make airbags mandatory for front passengers on new vehicle models manufactured from 1 April will lead to an increase in price and vehicle manufacturers should absorb the major hike in costs to prevent impact on sales, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) has said.

According to a draft notification issued by the Union road transport and highways ministry on Tuesday, the MoRTH proposed to make it mandatory for automakers to provide an airbag for the front passenger, over and above the existing airbag for the driver of passenger vehicles.

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Stakeholders can offer their comments on the government proposal over the next month.

The ministry has proposed 1 April, 2021 as the date for implementation of the move for new models, while it has set a deadline of 1 June, 2021, for existing models.

"FADA welcomes MoRTH's intention for mandating dual front airbags. This is a much-needed safety norm which India should adopt and be at par with global standards," FADA President Vinkesh Gulati said in a statement.

Gulati, however, added that while the government's vision to make driving safer for its citizens is appreciated, it will definitely increase the price of vehicles.

The implementation of BS-VI emission norms led to a big price increase, and this will also come with a price increase, he added.

"We hope OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) should absorb the major cost of input due to the second airbag as it will impact the sales in short-term which will be bad for the industry, which is able to show growth on MoM (month-on-month) basis, but still lags in YoY (year-on-year) basis after COVID hit us hard," Gulati said.

MoRTH stated that the step for mandatory front passenger airbag is aimed at improving passenger safety in case of accidents.

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