The recent NCAP tests of Indian cars got us all talking about the utter lack of vehicular safety. The tests appear to have increased the general awareness of the benefits of safety features like ABS and airbags among car buyers but there is no marked increase in people opting for these safety features in budget small cars.
Maruti has introduced safety pack (airbag and ABS) across almost all of its model lineup, as optional extra in some cases and standard in others. A recent report reveals that only one in twenty Maruti Alto customers opts for the safety pack.
The company is going on overdrive to market its safety packs now. For example, Maruti dealers are pitching the safety pack with a tagline of “Gift your family a raksha pack” this Raksha Bandhan. This festival which celebrates the brother-sister relationship is not normally a festival that generates a spike in auto sales but the advent of rivals like Renault Kwid and Datsun redi-Go has prompted Maruti to take advantage of it.
Talking about the lackluster response to the safety packs in entry level models, Maruti’s executive director of engineering, C V Raman, stated that the perceived value of airbag among price sensitive customers is quite low. However, he was confident that the increase in awareness level is set to increase the penetration of safety features in budget segment in the future.