On Tuesday (April 4), the vehicle safety organization Global NCAP announced that Maruti Suzuki India’s popular models WagonR and Alto K 10 received safety ratings of one and two stars, respectively, for their ability to protect adult occupants during a frontal collision following crash tests.
Both the models scored zero stars for child occupant protection as per the Global NCAP’s latest round of crash tests.
The company, however, said its vehicles meet India’s crash safety regulations which are almost similar to the standards in Europe.
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Global NCAP rates vehicles from zero to five based on their safety features and automobiles with a higher rating are considered safer for occupants.
According to its latest test, Global NCAP stated that the Alto K10 showed a stable structure and marginal to good protection for adult chest to head in the frontal impact but showed weak protection to the chest in the side impact.
The WagonR also offered weak chest protection for the driver despite the improvements in the restraint systems by Maruti Suzuki since the previous version of the model was tested by Global NCAP, it added.
“We have been delighted with the positive response from Indian automakers and some global automakers as well. Although there has been some limited improvement, we are yet to see this safety commitment deployed in the most popular Maruti Suzuki models,” Global NCAP Secretary General Alejandro Furas noted.
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Given that six airbags are becoming a mandatory requirement for new models sold in India, it is particularly worrying for Global NCAP that Maruti Suzuki does not even make this requirement available as a customer option, he added.
When contacted a Maruti Suzuki India spokesperson, the spokesperson stated that safety is a critical issue and is therefore closely regulated by governments around the world as they are responsible for the safety of the people in their countries.
“For Maruti Suzuki also safety has always been a top priority. India’s crash safety regulations are almost similar to the standards in Europe and all our models meet these regulations and are duly tested and certified by the Government of India,” the spokesperson noted.
In many models and variants, the company has gone well beyond government mandatory requirements and provided additional safety features like airbags, electronic stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, Hill-Hold assist, 360 degree-view camera, Suzuki TECT platform for enhanced safety, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, and a host of others, the spokesperson said.
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The company will continue to keep its focus on this very important aspect in all products at all times, the spokesperson added.
“We believe that the government is coming out with Bharat NCAP, an India specific safety rating process, which will be more meaningful for the Indian consumers,” the spokesperson said.
Global NCAP said the Volkswagen Virtus and Skoda Slavia achieved a five-star rating for adult and child occupants showing a stable structure.
“The highest safety rating from Global NCAP for the Skoda Slavia and Volkswagen Virtus further cements the Groups position as the leading European car manufacturer with the safest portfolio of cars in India,” Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Managing Director and CEO Piyush Arora said in a statement.