By now most of you would be aware about the flunking of Datsun GO and Maruti Suzuki Swift in the recent Global NCAP crash tests. Now, Max Mosley, Chariman of Global NCAP, has written to Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Nissan, to immediately withdraw the Datsun GO from the Indian, Indonesian, and Philippines car markets.
Mosley, in his letter to Ghosn, has expressed ‘extreme disappointment’ on Nissan’s authorizing the launch of a brand new model that is ‘clearly sub-standard.’ Mosley also said that the GO will ‘certainly fail to pass the United Nation’s frontal impact regulation (40% offset frontal impact test at 56 km/h)’ and that ‘under such circumstances he would urge Nissan to withdraw the Datsun GO from sale in India pending an urgent redesign of the car’s body-shell.’
We told you earlier about how the Swift and GO failed the crash tests miserably, where it was noted that even the top-end variant of the Indian-made Swift, equipped with airbags, would have just gotten a 3-star rating (as against the full five stars managed by the European-made Swift) because of its weak body shell. However, things were so bad in the case of the Datsun GO that Global NCAP concluded that it would be plain redundant to even fit airbags on the GO because of its appallingly fragile body-shell structure!
Interestingly, it was not a different scenario in January this year when Global NCAP had released results of crash tests for Tata Nano, Maruti Suzuki Alto 800, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo, and VW Polo. Back then also the base variants of these cars were tested and while all five of them fared badly (all got Zero), the Figo and Polo had stood ahead than the other three in terms of structural integrity. Volkswagen promptly made dual airbags a standard fitment across all Polo variants and requested Global NCAP to test the car again – it then got a 4-star rating.
Curiously, Mr. Mosley had refrained from sending letters to the MDs or CEOs of Tata, Maruti or Hyundai despite declaring that ‘the extent of the structural weaknesses in these models were such that fitting airbags would not be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury.’ Not too different than the Datsun hatchback then…
Now, Nissan (Datsun’s parent company) and Maruti have taken different approaches to respond to the latest crash results. While Nissan’s response included a line that said “…Nissan is willing to adopt as well as help evolve standards in vehicular safety,” Manohar Bhatt, Maruti’s VP Marketing, has plainly dismissed the negative crash-test results of Swift by saying that “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.”
Anway, while Mr. Bhatt thinks that cars in India can’t be driven at speeds of 64 km/h and beyond, we just advise, no, we plead you to wear your seatbelts before you crank the engine, and also to keep that loud pedal in check.