The chief of Global New Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP), Max Mosley, may write to Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe in January 2015. And that will be to appraise him about GNCAP's appeal to Nissan to withdraw the Datsun Go from the markets where it is currently sold.
The GNCAP chief had written to Nissan's chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn with an appeal to withdraw the Datsun Go soon after crash testing the car in early November. The car had failed to get any star rating for adult occupant protection and attracted strong criticism from GNCAP. Mosley says he hasn't received any response to his letter. "We are going to wait a little bit longer and if we still don’t get a response then we are going to write to the prime minister of Japan because it’s a Japanese company. And, it is wrong that the company should be selling cars into India which are much less safe than the cars it sells into other markets," Mosley told Autocar Professional, adding that he will wait till the new year for a response from Carlos Ghosn.
Nissan maintains that there's nothing wrong with the Datsun Go and it meets existing Indian regulations. A company spokesperson had earlier said, "We want to reassure you that the Datsun Go meets the required local vehicle regulations in India as well as in Indonesia and South Africa. The Datsun Go was developed with a strong intention to deliver the best adapted solutions to the local conditions.” The company says that the GNCAP results and its criticism will not make any change its plans for the Datsun Go. In an interview last month, Guillaume Sicard, chief of Nissan's India operations, said, "We know what we are doing, how we are doing it, why and at what speed we are doing it. Our vision and strategy are very clear. This is not because of certain articles that you read and certain statements from NCAP. We have trust in our strategy, our brand and product." Sicard says that, for its price, the Go offers the maximum possible technology some of which also help in avoiding a collision.
GNCAP's test of the Datsun Go was part of its Safer Cars for India campaign which started in January 2014. Other cars from India that were tested include the Volkswagen Polo, Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai i10, Tata Nano, Ford Figo and Maruti Swift.
Some believe that GNCAP has been extra harsh on the Datsun Go, because other cars which failed to get a star rating did not attract strong criticism like the Go did. Mosely reacts to it by saying that Nissan should maintain consistency in safety in all its cars. "The thing with the Datsun Go is that it’s such a weak structure that even if you fitted airbags, it wouldn’t save the passenger, it completely crushes the driver and the (front) passenger. Nissan, the same company, made this extremely safe car (Teana) revealed a few days ago at the ASEAN NCAP," says Mosely. It is to be noted that Nissan's premium midsize car Teana got the perfect score (16.00 points) for adult occupant protection. It also became the first car to get a 5-star rating for child occupant protection from ASEAN NCAP.
Also read: Exclusive interview with Max Mosley, chairman, Global NCAP: