Global NCAP's safer cars for India mission so far

by Nilesh Wadhwa 31 Oct 2019

Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP) is a major project of the Towards Zero Foundation which is a UK registered charity. The initiative serves as a platform for co-operation among new car assessment programmes worldwide and promotes the universal adoption of the United nation’s most important motor vehicle safety standards worldwide. The safety watchdog today released the results for the sixth round of crash tests of cars from India that included - the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, Hyundai Santro and the Datsun Redigo.

The initiative envisions a world free from road fatalities and serious injuries. Global NCAP says by 2020 it wants to see all new cars in production exceeding minimum United Nation (UN) crash test standards, for pedestrian protection, and for electronic stability control, which is consistent with its Road Map 2020 proposal launched in 2015.

In January 2014, the first results of the Safer Cars for India project was released at a conference in New Delhi in partnership with the Institute for Road Traffic Education (IRTE). In its first ever India results, Global NCAP tested five popular important models to assess their performance in the UN’s frontal impact crash test carried out at 56kph and also at the higher speed of 64kph typically used by New Car Assessment Programmes. The models tested included the Maruti-Suzuki Alto 800, the Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo. The combined sales of these five cars accounted for around 20 percent of all the new cars sold in India in 2013.

Wake-up call to industry
In November 2014 Global NCAP revealed the second set of test results which featured the Datsun Go, a new design launched in 2014, and the Maruti Suzuki Swift both with and without airbags. Speaking at the Delhi conference, Krishan Pal, then Minister of State for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, stressed that “safety should be required not just for cars to be exported but also those sold in India”. Also commenting on the results, Vijay Chibber, then IAS Secretary said that the Safer Cars for India project served as “a wake-up call to industry” and outlined the government’s proposal to launch a new Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme (BNVSAP).

The programme saw a mixed bag of reaction, with some hailing the initiative as a 'wake-up call', while some commented that 'to criticise these cars for not meeting US or European crash standards are living in a dream world'. But gradually, thing have changed. Till date the Global NCAP programme has completed over 31 crash test rating, which it says has seen positive results and has made OEMs respond to the call for end of zero-star cars. Between 2014 and 2018 Global NCAP has completed more than 29 safety assessments which have acted as an important catalyst in the safety improvement of Indian cars.

In 2015, the central government announced UN equivalent crash test standards for front and side impact will be applied in India for new models from October 1, 2017 and for all cars from October 1, 2019. In addition, India also committed to apply the standard for pedestrian protection, again in two phases from October 1, 2018 and October 1, 2020.

India's first five-star safety rated car
The new legislation was in line with the United Nations General Assembly which in April 2018 recommended that Member States 'implement UN vehicle safety regulations or equivalent national standards to ensure that all new motor vehicles meet applicable minimum regulations for the protection of occupants and other road users, with seat belts, airbags, and active safety systems fitted as standard.'

After testing 31 models in total (including the results released on October 31, 2019), one has achieved noteworthy 'five-star' rating, five have achieved an impressive ‘four star’ rating; four have got three stars; three have got 'two star' and two managed 'one star' rating each. Complete details below -

Also read: Two Maruti Suzuki models, one each from Hyundai, Datsun in Global NCAP's latest set of crash tests

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