India-spec entry-level Maruti S-Presso variant that was crash tested has one airbag and lacked front seat belt pre-tensioners
As a part of its latest round of crash tests under the ‘Safer Cars For India’ campaign, Global NCAP tested the base model of India-spec Maruti S-Presso. The popular low-cost small car with crossover-like styling scored a 0-star rating, putting Maruti Suzuki’s commitment to safety, or lack thereof, under a spotlight.
Suzuki SA’s claim about S-Presso’s safety credentials
As if the clear failure in crash tests isn’t humiliating enough, Maruti Suzuki was thrown under the bus by parent company’s South African subsidiary which took to social media to assure its customers that the local version of S-Presso is safer than the India-spec variant which was crash tested.
When the existing and prospective customers of Suzuki S-Presso in South Africa expressed their concerns on social media, the local subsidiary’s official handles stated that the SA-spec small car is equipped with dual front airbags and front seat belt pre-tensioners as standard.
Unlike the base India-spec car which makes do only with a driver airbag (and no front seat belt pre-tensioners). Suzuki SA went on to say that the difference in standard features would alter the vehicle’s safety performance significantly.
It is to be noted that top variant of India-spec Maruti S-Presso does offer dual airbags and front seat belt pre-tensioners. But the variant tested by Global NCAP is not the top spec variant, like they did in the case of new gen Thar – whose top variant was used in the recent crash test.
Global NCAP has not tested the South African version of the S-Presso which is also made in India. But we doubt it will have a drastically different score given the structure is rated as unstable.
Maruti’s response to S-Presso’s crash tests
Maruti has not responded publicly to Suzuki SA’s comments and claims, but when the crash test results were out, the automaker stated that all its cars were duly tested and certified by the Indian government as per the recently introduced stringent safety standards. Maruti Suzuki went on to say that the idea of safety cannot be left to the opinion of any self-proclaimed party. Global NCAP is a private organization.
While fellow Indian OEMs Tata Motors and Mahindra have shown remarkable improvement in the safety credentials of its recent products which have scored 4- or 5-star ratings in Global NCAP tests, Maruti continues to fair poorly. Save for the Vitara Brezza crossover and Ertiga MPV which managed to achieve 4-star and 3-star rating respectively, rest of its lineup has sub-3-star rating (S-Presso, Alto, Eeco and Celerio failed the tests with 0-star rating).