In the first-ever independent crash tests conducted on popular Indian cars by the Global NCAP - a UK-based body that carries out consumer oriented vehicles safety initiatives - have turned out to be a national embarrassment and a serious wake-up call for automakers. Some of the highest-selling small cars such the Tata Nano, Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i10 have received zero star rating in the said crash tests.
“All the cars selected by Global NCAP for testing in a frontal impact at 64 kmph received zero-star adult protection ratings.” the report from Global NCAP stated. The NCAP first chose the entry-level variants of each of the said models - none of which, come with airbags as standard. These cars form a fifth of the total passenger vehicle sales in India.
Taking measures to increase vehicle safety in India, the government today announced that they are chalking out ‘Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment’ programme - an outfit that will be responsible for carrying out mandatory offset frontal and side-impact crash tests on all new vehicles entering the Indian market. The government is expected to notify crash test norms within the next couple of months. It would be implemented in phases in accordance to plans being worked out by the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP.)