Five India-Made Cars Fail Crash Tests

NEW DELHI—Several of the most popular cars sold in India—including the Tata Motors Ltd. Nano and the Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. Alto—failed to protect passengers during collisions in independent crash tests on India-made automobiles by an international safety watchdog.
The London-based Global NCAP said Friday that crash tests on five models—which together made up about a fifth of the new cars sold in India last year—showed that passengers risked death or serious injury in collisions at 64 kilometers, or 40 miles, per hour.

“India is now a major global market and production center for small cars, so it is worrying to see levels of safety that are 20 years behind the five-star standards now common in Europe and North America,” said Max Mosley, chairman of Global NCAP in a statement. “Poor structural integrity and the absence of air bags are putting the lives of Indian consumers at risk.”
Hyundai Motor Co.’s i10, Ford Motor Co.’s Figo and Volkswagen AG’s Polo hatchbacks were also included in the tests. It involved putting the cars and crash test dummies through a direct frontal impact.
Only the entry-level versions of these cars, which didn’t have air bags, were used for the tests although some have pricier versions from the auto makers which do include air bags.
The manufacturers of the vehicles said they weren’t cutting corners on safety.
“All our vehicles, including the Tata Nano, meet all Indian safety regulations, including the frontal barrier crash test at 48 kmph,” said Tata’s head of advanced product engineering Tim Leverton. “All our cars on Indian roads, including the Nano, are engineered for safety in view of Indian road and traffic conditions.”
“Our vehicles consistently meet or exceed applicable industry safety standards,” said a Ford India spokeswoman. “We are monitoring the progress of this review and will work with Indian authorities, Global NCAP and the other relevant stake holders as appropriate.”
Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai didn’t immediately respond to requests for reaction to the test results.
Auto makers in India tend to sell the low-end, stripped down versions of their cars to attract the country’s cost-conscious consumers. The less expensive versions also often don’t have simple safety features such as collapsible steering columns.
India doesn’t yet require its vehicles to meet the United Nation’s minimum crash test standards and doesn’t have a new car assessment program that provides consumers with independent reports of vehicles crash safety, NCAP said.
India is the world’s sixth-largest car producing market, with sales of 3.14 million vehicles last year. It is also becoming an important manufacturing hub for small-car exports.
The study revealed that the Alto, Nano and i10 all have structures that crumbled so much during the crash tests that even if they had air bags, occupants would have been exposed to serious injury.
Global NCAP said the Figo and Polo had more stable structures which would have been strong enough to save passengers from serious injury should driver and front passenger seat air bags be added.
Volkswagen this week began installing air bags on all models of the Polo hatchback. Global NCAP has tested its air bag equipped Polo and given it four out of five stars for safety.
“We are happy that the Volkswagen Polo has secured a four-star safety rating for adult occupant protection,” said Arvind Saxena, managing director of the passenger car business at Volkswagen Group Sales India. “With our recent introduction of dual front air bags as standard fitment on all variants of the Polo in India, the Polo is now the safest premium-segment hatchback in the country.”
Five India-Made Cars Fail Crash Tests Five India-Made Cars Fail Crash Tests Reviewed by Glam Treat on 04:18:00 Rating: 5

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