Two more popular small cars in India failed crash test by an independent testing agency Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP). Nissan’s Datsun Go, a recently launched car and Maruti-Suzuki’s Swift, one of the best selling models in India, got zero-star safety rating for adult occupant protection. Both the cars underwent 64kmph frontal collision test by Global NCAP placing dummies in the car as passengers. In case of Swift, two variants of the car were tested including the one that Maruti exports to Latin America. The version that is sold in India got just one star for child occupant protection in a scale of five stars. Swift’s vehicle structure showed signs of collapsing in the crash and was rated as unstable. The car’s lack of standard-fit airbags meant that the driver’s head makes direct contact with the steering wheel. Even Swift’s poor child protection score is due mainly to the poor performance of the child restraint system, Global NCAP claimed.
Dastun Go scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and just two stars for child occupant protection. The vehicle structure collapsed in the crash and was rated as unstable. The car’s lack of airbags meant that the driver’s head makes direct contact with the steering wheel and dashboard and a high probability of life-threatening injuries. The two-star rating for child protection is mainly due to the poor performance of the child restraint system.
Last year Global NCAP had published crash test results for five other of India’s best-known cars — Suzuki Maruti Alto 800, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo, and Tata Nano. All the cars received zero-star adult protection ratings. Since then Volkswagen has decided to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard. This model subsequently received a four-star safety rating. Meanwhile, the Central government has announced to launch its own version of NCAP known as Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme. Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley said, “India has the potential to be a world leader in the automobile industry, but if nobody is checking, I believe consumers are not aware of how unsafe they would be in case of crashes — car companies sometimes cut corners on safety.”
He added that India is launching its own consumer testing programme is a welcome step. Global NCAP secretary general David Ward said, “Prompt action like this would prevent the introduction of brand new models like the Datsun Go, which has body structure so weak that is pointless to fit an airbag.” He added that it was disappointing to see a global company like Nissan launch a new car design in 2014 that so clearly falls below UN safety standards.