A little over six months after it was widely criticised for cutting corners on safety, Japanese car major Nissan’s sub-brand Datsun has added driver-side airbags to the top-end variants of its GO hatchback and GO+ seven-seater cars.
The two new variants are priced at Rs. 15,000 more than the variant just below it. The two cars still don’t offer, even as an option, a host of other safety features such as anti-lock brakes, BAS (brake assist system) or EBD (electronic brake distribution) that help improve stability.
Ironically, the company offers dual airbags, ABS, BAS and EBD as a standard feature in its mi-DO hatchback and on-DO sedans in Russia.
Datsun that was revived by Renault Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn in 2014 with the target of cracking into the low-cost segments of emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa, received a lot of flak when Global NCAP, a UK-based independent crash testing body, tested the Go hatchback for occupant safety and found the car unstable. Go scored a zero in the test as it did not have any safety feature to protect occupants in the event of a head-on or offset collision.
The chairman of Global NCAP Max Mosley wrote to Ghosn requesting him to discontinue the model in the larger interest of road safety.
“The Datsun Go’s body structure is so weak that it is pointless to fit an airbag,” David Ward, secretary general, Global NCAP had said. “It is disappointing to see a global company like Nissan launch a new car design in 2014 that so clearly falls below United Nation safety standards.”
Sales of the Go and Go+ models have been unimpressive in India so far. In the first five months of this year, the two cars have managed sales of 3,743 units and 5,607 units respectively.