Global NCAP awards Suzuki S-Presso for South Africa a 3-star safety rating for adult protection, and 2-star for child safety
The most recent chatter around Suzuki S-Presso revolves around the small car’s three stars safety rating or adult occupant protection under its current test protocols. Suzuki S-Presso for South Africa tested by Global NCAP is manufactured in India. Child occupant protection was rated at two stars.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s S-Presso is a fairly recent launch, as recent as September 2019. Soon after, in January 2020 the first exports went underway. This includes markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa regions. Global NCAP gave the vehicle an adult occupation protection rating of 0-star in November 2020. The vehicle picked up a 2-star rating for child safety. In April 2022, MSIL discontinued its single airbag trims for both S-Presso and Alto.
S-Presso dual front airbags
Global NCAP crash test results, though not predictable, are fairly simple to understand. In a controlled study of this nature, specified inputs are expected to yield similar results. And as such, with two airbags and two single-pretensioners being standard for the Maruti S-Presso base model, it would test differently today.
At the time the S-Presso base variant was tested for India, Suzuki South Africa claimed its vehicle was safer. This was attributed to the fact that the lower-spec variant from India had only a single airbag, and no seatbelt pretensioners. S-Presso sold in South Africa benefited from dual front airbags and front seatbelt pretensioners as standard on all variants. Global NCAP has now put those claims to test and awarded the S-Presso for Africa a higher safety rating.
S-Presso structure showed unstable performance. Driver’s chest demonstrated a weak protection level to only just acquire a three star rating. A poor child protection rating is attributed to lack of ISOFIX anchorages, lack of a three-point belt in all seating positions and the fact that the company didn’t recommend a Child Restraint System (CRS). To strengthen vehicle safety protocols in South Africa, as of July 2022, assessment protocols will be updated to include side impact, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and pedestrian protection requirements.
Suzuki To Maruti Suzuki – Global NCAP
Global NCAP’s approach too has changed in the 3 years since Ignis was tested. The testing body referred to the manufacturer as Suzuki, but in the latest crash test, all dialogue is addressed to Maruti Suzuki.
Alejandro Furas, Secretary General of Global NCAP said “The safety performance of the S-Presso in South Africa has been far from satisfactory and claims of improvement are not reflected in levels of child occupant protection which remain the same as the Indian version we tested in 2020. There has been significant progress with vehicle safety in the Indian market with a welcome requirement for the fitment of six airbags as standard. We hope that Maruti Suzuki will not apply a double standard for the vehicles they sell in Africa compared to those sold in India.”
Fatal road accidents in 2019
Considering the high number of road fatalities in India, a healthy dialogue around road safety needs to be of paramount importance. A recent report stated 56,136 people were killed in two-wheeler related road accidents in 2019. Total accidents involving bikes were reported at 1,67,184.
That year two wheeler fatal road accidents accounted for 38 percent of total road accident deaths. Trucks/Lorries accounted for 22,637 deaths at 14.6 percent. Cars accounted for 21,196 deaths at 13.7 percent. And, buses accounted for 9,192 deaths at 5.9 percent. Pedestrian deaths are reported at 7.7 percent, 3W/Auto rickshaw deaths are reported at 4.7 percent. Other motorized Transport (SUV/Station Wagon, Jeep, Tractor, etc) deaths are reported at 12.1 percent. Other Non-Motorised Transport deaths are reported at 3.3 percent.
In order to reduce road accident deaths, the Govt of India is going to make 6 airbags compulsory in all cars which have seating for up to 8 adults. They are also going to make Bharat NCAP testing compulsory. All cars that will be sold in India will get a safety rating in the future. Certain car manufacturers have voiced their concern and are against these reforms as it will adversely effect sales. But Govt seems not interested, and has said that these manufacturers are showing double standards.