Global NCAP crash tests in India show need for faster safety progress

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The third version of the Renault Kwid tested included improved body structure and airbags, but still scored zero stars.
The third version of the Renault Kwid tested included improved body structure and airbags, but still scored zero stars.
The Mahrinda Scorpio was one of the five models tested. All scored zero stars for occupant safety.
The Mahrinda Scorpio was one of the five models tested. All scored zero stars for occupant safety.
The results were launched at an Indian Automotive Safety Conference, hosted by IRTE.
The results were launched at an Indian Automotive Safety Conference, hosted by IRTE.
l-r David Ward, Global NCAP; Rohit Baluja, IRTE; and Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation, spoke in the Opening Session (all photos courtesy Global NCAP).
l-r David Ward, Global NCAP; Rohit Baluja, IRTE; and Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation, spoke in the Opening Session (all photos courtesy Global NCAP).

The latest Indian car safety crash test results from Global NCAP continue to disappoint with all five models rated as zero star. The Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon all showed low levels of adult occupant protection. The Renault Kwid was tested in three versions (version I above), including one with airbags, but each was rated as zero star for adult safety.

The latest set of results in Global NCAP’s ‘Safer Cars for India’ project were published at an Automotive Safety conference hosted by the Indian Institute for Road Traffic Education (IRTE) at its College of Traffic Management in Faridabad, Delhi on 16-17 May 2016. The conference was addressed by India’s Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, who described the rapid growth in highway development across the country and promised renewed effort to improve road safety. The Indian government has committed to establish a ‘Bharat New Car Assessment Programme’ next year and is currently consulting on test protocols.

The conference, which brought together senior government officials, public health and road safety professionals and many representatives of India’s burgeoning car industry was hosted by Dr Rohit Baluja, President of IRTE. Saul Billingsley, Director of the FIA Foundation – a lead donor of Global NCAP, gave a keynote speech in which he highlighted the growing international pressure for action on safer vehicles, including the inclusion of road safety targets in the Sustainable Development Goals and a specific call in the recent UN General Assembly road safety Resolution for all cars in production by 2020 to meet seven UN-recommended minimum safety regulations.

David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP, presented the new crash test results at a press conference during the conference and said: “The latest ‘Safer Cars for India’ results show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable in a crash. This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety together with fitment at least of front air bags. It is very surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature. Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard. Car makers must ensure that their new models pass the UN’s minimum crash test regulations, and support use of an airbag. We welcome Renault’s efforts to correct this and we look forward to testing another improved version with airbags. Renault has a strong record of achievement in safety in Europe and it should offer the same commitment to its customers in India.”

“The results highlight the importance of the Indian Government’s decision to mandate front and side impact crash tests from October 2017. Legislative action is needed to ensure that the minimum levels of occupant protection recommended by the United Nations are guaranteed for Indian consumers. But manufacturers don’t have to wait for legislation and we urge them to act to eliminate all zero star cars from production as soon as possible. Global NCAP also welcomes the forthcoming launch of a Bharat New Car Assessment Programme which can help build a market for safer cars in India.”

Saul Billingsley, Director of the FIA Foundation, said: “It is appalling that car manufacturers are still building sub-standard and fundamentally unsafe cars for Indian consumers. A combination of public awareness, arising from widespread media attention for these independent tests, and government action will eventually bring Indian vehicle safety standards into line with those expected (and delivered by these same manufacturers) in other markets. For the FIA Foundation, our investment in establishing and supporting Global NCAP is paying dividends in improved vehicle safety in Latin America and South East Asia, and we are confident that the same will be true for India. We commend Global NCAP and IRTE for this ‘Safe Cars for India’ initiative, and the Indian Government for its commitment launch a home-grown NCAP.”

See here for full details and videos of the crash tests