In response to a petition filed, a court in North East India’s state of Assam has ordered a ban overs sale and registration of small cars which do not pass crash tests. The list of cars that have been banned include Maruti Alto 800, Maruto Alto K10, Maruti Swift, Hyundai Eon, Hyundai i10, Tata Nano, Datsun Go and the recently launched Honda Jazz.
Obviously, the move has not gone down well with car makers as Assam is the largest market in North East India, which accounts for 12% of their total sales. Most of the cars which have been banned are amongst the best selling cars in the country. The ban will directly affect car manufacturers annual sales target. This too at a time when the auto industry is going through a sluggish period.
The petitioners have taken Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) as the reference point to ban cars in Assam. This mean, about 140 models have been affected by this new ruling.
Last year, Global NCAP crash tested some of the best selling cars in India. Surprisingly, all of them performed miserably in the test, resulting in them scoring a 0 star safety rating in the books of Global NCAP. This created an uproar amongst the affected car brands. Even the governing body of Indian auto industry, SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers), was of the opinion that tests performed by Global NCAP were too stringent and did not take Indian driving conditions into consideration. And thus no action was taken.
On the other hand, the petitioners in Gauhati High Court are of the opinion that they deserve cars which adhere to global safety standards. This is what has resulted in ban of aforementioned cars.
It remains to be seen if the court order is upheld once challenged by car manufacturers, who are of the opinion that that their cars are safe as per Indian norms.
As far as car safety in India is concerned, Government has already announced that they are committed towards making cars safer. From 1st Oct 2017, all cars on sale will need to pass crash test at the ARAI facility in Pune.
But the question is, will the cars be safer as per Indian standard, or Global standard?