Maruti said that the updated crash test norms in the country are now at the same level as European standards. The company added that all its products comply with global standards and are thoroughly tested and certified as per norms specified by Government of India. Since the safety of car users is a critical matter, Maruti said that such issues “cannot be left to the opinion of any self-proclaimed party.”
Maruti’s Official Statement – “Safety is a critical issue and is therefore closely regulated by governments around the world as they are responsible for the safety of the people in their countries. It cannot be left to the opinion of any self proclaimed party. The Government of India has recently increased the stringency of car crash test standards and made them identical to European standards. All products of the company are fully compliant with these global standards and duly tested and certified by the Government of India.”
As part of their ‘Safer Cars For India’ campaign, Global NCAP has been continually testing various cars manufactured in India. The latest set of cars that were tested included S-Presso, Hyundai Grand i10 Nios and Kia Seltos.
Nios also got a low rating of 2-star, which is the same as that of its rival Maruti Swift. In fact, Swift scored more points in adult safety (7.08 / 17) as compared to NIOS (7.05 / 17). Seltos was not that good either with its 3-star rating, especially when compared to US and Australian models that have received 5-star safety rating.
Talking about S-Presso, one of the key reasons for its low safety rating is because it comes with only driver-side airbag as standard. The sensor readings for impact on passenger neck were quite high, which has resulted in zero star rating. Moreover, chest loadings were also high for both driver and front passenger. This has also resulted in low safety rating. The car’s structure and footwell area were found to be unstable.
In child occupancy test, S-Presso scored 2-stars. According to Global NCAP, the low rating for child occupant was due to the poor performance of the restraint systems. Certain safety features are not offered as standard with S-Presso such as ISOFIX anchorages and 3 point belts in all positions.
While improving car safety is a noble cause, any single agency cannot be given full rights to determine safety standards of cars. This will be quite similar to a monopoly, wherein the concerned organization can take decisions without justifications. While Global NCAP’s intentions may be sacrosanct, the problem may be with the lopsided ecosystem it is developing across the globe.
Global NCAP’s way of handling communications also appears to be a case of direct assault on a reputable carmaker. In case of S-Presso, the comparison with Mahindra and Tata cars that have received 5-star safety rating reeks of high-handedness.
It’s not surprising that Maruti is majorly irked and has raised its objections to the way things are being presented. If things continue in the current fashion, it is likely that sooner or later other automakers will also start resisting the growing clout of Global NCAP.