Following the crash test results conducted by Global New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Datsun GO were a complete failure. The cars did not even earn one star in terms of safety.
When questions were raised about safety, carmakers defended themselves instead of making the necessary changes to make cars safer.
It's high time the country is aware of what is actually happening. Carmakers are just thinking of sales numbers rather than the quality of their products.
When officials from Maruti were questioned about the issue, this is what they had to say:
CV Raman, the Executive Director-Engineering for Maruti replied saying, "All MSIL as well as other vehicles comply with Indian regulations. As far as swift is concerned. The test is not mandatory in India. There is no regulation to pass that test."
Manohar Bhat, VP marketing for Maruti Suzuki said, "All our cars meet the highest safety standards set by the Indian government and regulatory bodies in the country. Now, if they are subjected to a foreign safety assessment with a higher standard than they are made for, they may not pass it."
"There is a lot of stress on safety within the country and we are doing everything possible to adhere to that. A lot of these international tests do not take into account that Indian road conditions are not the same as roads anywhere else. The speeds that can be achieved by the vehicle given our roads makes it completely different, so applying a foreign standard may not be practical."
Answers such as these are just unacceptable! Is it because they are selling large numbers that they think it is okay not to undergo crash tests or meet safety regulations? If export models can be built better and safer, why aren't these cars being sold in the domestic market?
According to Bhat, these tests run by international agencies do not take Indian road conditions into account. But the tests have actually been very lenient. Cars should actually have to meet higher standards in safety if Indian conditions are bad. After all, several Indian highways too have a speed limit of 80 km/h, and a few even above that.
What the consumers have to be aware of is, if the car fails to be safe at 64 km/h, how will it be anywhere close to being safe at 80 km/h-plus?
According to the tests conducted, the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Datsun GO's body structure disintegrated. Potential occupants would have suffered near fatal injuries.
It is time questions are raised and action taken rather than manufacturers being allowed to defend themselves and blame agencies that put the spotlight on people's safety.
India has recorded 1.2 million fatal road accidents in the last decade. Simple steps like first making airbags and ABS standard will drastically reduce road fatalities. Manufacturers must implement similar steps instead of providing luxury features like hands-free mobile connectivity in the car or fancy gadgets that add to driver distraction rather than reduce it.