In another reminder of how unsafe Indian cars are, two popular small cars, Maruti Suzuki Swift and Datsun’s entry-level car Go, failed a crash test by global testing firm Global NCAP.
Swift is India’s second-largest selling car, while Go has struggled. Both got zero stars out of five, and were rated unstable.
Interestingly, Global NCAP also tested the Swift variant that is exported to Latin American markets: they scored three stars. In India the Swift and Go are sold without critical safety features such as airbags and anti lock braking system as standard.
“Indian consumers are not aware of how unsafe they’d be in a crash,” said Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley. “Regulations based on the UN’s minimum crash test standards are needed.”
Manufacturers reacted strongly.
“Datsun GO meets local vehicle regulations in India,” said Nissan India operations president Guillaume Sicard. “We are willing to adopt as well as help evolve standards in vehicular safety standards.”
Maruti Suzuki reacted in a similar vein: “The cars manufactured and sold by Maruti Suzuki in India fully conform to all regulations applicable in India...”
Global NCAP bought the cars and informed the makers prior to testing. These three were the only cars tested in this round. In January, five cars — Maruti Alto 800, Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo — failed crash tests.
“Global NCAP wants to do business in India so they do these tests as a PR exercise,” claimed a senior official in a leading car company in India. “If a car made for India, meeting Indian specifications, is tested for a customer in Europe, it will obviously fail. Conduct these tests for Indian regulations and question us if our cars then fail.”