Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) is an independent charity based in U.K. They focus on consumer orientated vehicle safety initiatives and thus a recent report regarding a few of our Indian small hatches makes for an interesting reading.
They picked up each of a Maruti Alto 800, Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo and hurled them nose-first into a concrete wall at 64km/hr. They found out that these cars aren’t any good when it comes to adult protection ratings in a frontal impact. In fact, these cars received zero marks in the test. It is worth noting that these 5 cars made up around 20 per cent of all the new cars sold in the country last year.
Max Mosley, Chairman, Global NCAP puts the dismal performance of these cars on poor structural integrity and the absence of airbags. The structural integrity of Maruti Alto 800, Tata Nano and Hyundai i10 was found to be inadequate and it gave in so much that the study says that even adding airbags to these models would not have much of a difference in reducing the high risks of life-threatening injuries to the occupants.
The other 2 test cars, Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo, fared slightly better with their structures that remained stable. The study concluded that with airbags fitted, protection for the driver and front passenger would be much improved.
Global NCAP also tested the same models with reduced speed of 56km/hr as mandated by the UN’s basic crash test of 40 per cent offset frontal impact test. Except Alto 800 all the other 4 cars tested passed this minimum standard.
Indian safety regulations, as mandated by the government, include the frontal barrier crash test at much reduced speed of 48 km/hr. The manufacturers of the cars tested by Global NCAP affirm that their cars meet all the prescribed safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities.
This is not something new which we are not completely aware of. In a shocking bit, even the upcoming Celerio (which happens to be a world model) doesn’t have on offer airbags even as an option according to the leaked specs sheet.
And in a country, where even the left side rear view mirror is considered as optional, only God can be our saviour. We request you to consider cars which are safer and better!