Global NCAP, the international automotive safety watchdog, today released the latest round of crash test results of Indian cars.
The cars that were tested in the latest round were the hot-sellers like Renault Kwid, Mahindra Scorpio, Hyundai Eon, and Maruti’s Celerio and Eeco. While the Renault Kwid has been featured consistently in the top 10 passenger vehicle sales of late, the Mahindra Scorpio has been a large volume driver and was also among the top sellers in the UV segment. The Hyundai Eon also regularly makes the cut in the top 10 car sales every month along with Maruti’s Celerio.
All these cars have received zero-stars for adult occupant safety by Global NCAP. For child occupant safety, all cars except for the Celerio (which got a single star) received a two star rating.
Speaking to Autocar Professional Maruti Suzuki India’s chairman RC Bhargava questioned the validity of global automotive tests on Indian cars and said: “Standards for testing cars made in India are fixed by the Indian government. All car manufacturers follow those standards. What is the purpose and relevance of standards being set for crash tests for Indian vehicles being set by some other country or some other organisation? Who defines those standards and why should we listen to them? Even food items made in India are tested here and their standards fixed in India and same is the case with standards fixed for other industries.”
Similarly, a spokesperson from Renault India also said that the cars sold in India already adhere to Indian safety standards, but showed support for the adoption of international safety norms in the country.
“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 is committed to comply with these timelines,” the spokesperson said.
Mahindra & Mahindra justified the crash test results stating that a non-airbag fitted Scorpio was tested by Global NCAP and that “Typically, in any star rating process, non-airbag variants do not perform well on safety standards.”
According to the spokesperson: “All Mahindra automotive products are developed and manufactured to meet or exceed the safety standards set in India for a safe driving experience. In fact, many models exceed the expected regulations of 2019. The star rating as released by Global NCAP in the latest crash test was conducted on non-airbag variant of the Scorpio. Most variants of the Scorpio are equipped with airbags and a safety package. Approximately 75% of Scorpio customers choose the air bags variants of the vehicle. There is nothing more important to us than our customer’s safety. We are committed to meeting and exceeding all current and future safety norms and in most cases giving our customers choice of enhanced safety beyond the regulated standards.”
A Hyundai's spokesperson affirmed that "Hyundai vehicles are designed and built to meet all the prescribed safety standards set by Indian regulatory authorities."
Even as Indian cars meet the current regulatory norms prevalent in India, the fact that government recognises the need to overhaul the safety norms by introducing Bharat NCAP regulations in 2017 points out to the sheer amount of work needed to improve vehicle safety in the country. After all Indian consumers deserve the same kind of protection as consumers get in Europe or any other developed markets.