Indian carmakers beat their foreign counterparts in vehicle crash safety


MUMBAI: Domestic automakers have led the way when it comes to making safer cars for Indian roads. Seven out of the 10 safest affordable cars plying on Indian roads are made by Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra, as assessed by Global New Car Assessment Programme (G-NCAP), an initiative by a UK-based charity that lobbies for safer cars around the world.

In fact, Indian automakers were the only ones to score 5 stars on a scale of 5 for adult occupant safety in the event of a high-speed collision.

“Global NCAP is neutral in terms of origin of different car companies. But it is pleasing to see Tata and Mahindra do so well in our ‘Safer Cars For India’ ratings,” said David Ward, president of Global NCAP.

“India’s made huge progress in the last few years. It is the country that has improved the most in the last decade,” he told ET in a recent interview.

The organisation has crash-tested as many as 42 cars sold in the Indian market since 2014. Of these, it found Mahindra XUV 300, Tata Altroz and Tata Nexon to be the safest.

“My 1st source of pride is that the 5 safest cars in India are Indian,” Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra said on Twitter.

To be sure, most of the vehicles tested so far come with a price tag below Rs 10 lakh and many premium cars sold by foreign automakers have not been tested. These vehicles could be safer if crash tested.

Other cars to excel on the test include Mahindra Thar, which got a 4-star rating earlier this week. Tata Tiago and Tigor, Volkswagen Polo, Mahindra Marazzo, Toyota’s now-discontinued Etios and Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza also feature amongst the top-10 on the list.

Foreign automakers have been criticised for making the same cars safer for export to other countries than the ones sold in India. A recently-launched high-selling SUV in India fared much better on crash tests in the US.

“It often depends on regulatory standards. For example, in most high-income countries electronic stability control (ESC) is mandatory but is not yet in India. Since the adoption of India’s crash test standards, it is more likely that the body shell strength will be more similar. Other differences may relate to number of air bags fitted,” Ward said.

Global NCAP attracted a sharp response from Maruti Suzuki when it rated the S-Presso as a 0-star car earlier this month. The market leader in a press statement said that all its vehicles were compliant with global safety standards and were duly tested and certified by the Indian government.

“It cannot be left to the opinion of any self-proclaimed party,” Maruti Suzuki’s statement read.




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