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If Not for Indian Carmakers Like Tata, Mahindra; Indian Roads Would be Full of Unsafe Budget Cars

(Photo Courtesy: Global NCAP)

(Photo Courtesy: Global NCAP)

It's heartening to see Indian carmakers like Tata and Mahindra exceeding the safety expectations and making cars that can run shoulder to shoulder with any international product out there.

Almost two year back, in late 2018, Global NCAP handed out India’s first ever five-star result under their ‘Safer Cars For India’ campaign. The result came after 2 years of testing on various cars sold in India, the best among which got a four-star, while most of them secured less than 2-star rating. Getting a five-star rating was a proud moment for India also because of the fact that it was an India-made car which received a full score.

Global NCAP is an independent body who tasked themselves with testing vehicle safety for countries with no dedicated safety agency, like NTSB for the US or Euro NCAP for the European nations. India, being one of the biggest auto markets in India, doesn’t have a government appointed, or independent safety agency.

Maruti Suzuki S-Presso Awarded Zero Star Crash Test Rating

Instead, what government does it bring out timely policies to keep cars road-worthy, like in the recent past, they have made airbags and ABS mandatory for all cars to be sold in India. This, however, doesn’t mean the car is as safe in case of an accident, for safety also includes structural integrity, which no agency tests in India.

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In comes Global NCAP with its point based system analysizing for adults and child protection worthiness. To everyone’s surprise, India’s first five-star rated Global NCAP tested car was India made Tata Nexon, company’s compact SUV.

David Ward, Global NCAP Secretary General said, “This is a huge landmark for car safety in India. Congratulations to Tata Motors for achieving India’s first five-star rating for adult occupant protection. The Nexon was engineered in India and this shows the huge capability of the domestic industry to achieve excellence in safety design and performance. With the Nexon, Tata has shown the global car industry that to achieve five stars you can ‘Make in India’. Global NCAP is looking forward to many more Indian five star cars and further improvements in both pedestrian protection and crash avoidance.”

While many considered it as a fluke, more Tata cars were awarded four and five stars in the months to follow.

While Tata Altroz secured five-star rating, making it the safest hatchback in India, Tata Tiago and Tigor were awarded four star ratings, making them the safest in their segments.

Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Awarded Two-Star Safety Rating

Not only this, Mahindra and Mahindra, another prominent carmaker of India, and like Tata, another big CV maker of India was not far behind. Mahindra Marazzo, their newest MPV scored a four-star rating and the XUV300 compact SUV scored a full-five star rating. Not just full five star, but XUV300 also has the highest score among cars made-in-India.

Now comes the recently published Global NCAP safety results. As per the latest round of testing, Maruti Suzuki tested zero-stars for S-Presso hatchback, while Hyundai received 2-stars for Grand i20 Nios. Both of these are among the best sellers in their respective segments.

Not only these, but in the past too, cars like Wagon R (2-star rating), Santo (2-star), Swift (2-star) have received low rating. It’s not like all Maruti Suzuki’s products have badly performed in the Global NCAP rating. Vitara Brezza secured four-stars while Ertiga MPV secured 3-stars. The problem lies in the fact that Maruti Suzuki fails to acknowledge Global NCAP as a credible agency and only relies on government’s mandated safety regulations as enough.

Here’s what Maruti Suzuki has to say on the recent S-Presso ratings - “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."

Whatever the case maybe, it’s heartening to see Indian carmakers exceeding the safety expectations and making cars that can run shoulder to shoulder with any international product out there.

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