It’ll Be Harder To Get A 5-Star GNCAP Crash Test Rating From July 2022

Published On Jun 26, 2022 09:00 AM By Sonny

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The global safety assessment organisation is revising its assessment protocols for its #SaferCarsForIndia campaign to cover more aspects

  • The current basic test is a frontal offset crash at 64kmph.

  • Basic equipment requirements are dual front airbags and ABS.

  • New GNCAP standards will be raised to be closer to other international standards.

  • It will require cars to offer ESC as standard for five stars along with passing other tests.

  • Indian government working on establishing localised safety assessment program under  BNCAP.

The Global New Car Assessment Program, or GNCAP for short, has been one of the lead campaigners for improving car safety in India. Only in recent years have new cars started scoring four or more stars in the GNCAP crash test for Indian models. Now, the standard for getting those high scores is about to be raised, closer to those of other international safety programs.

Current GNCAP testing benchmarks

The Safer Cars For India campaign rolled out in 2014. Since then,  a section of buyers and manufacturers have started giving more importance to the true safety of their cars. In an extremely price sensitive market like India, GNCAP set a very basic standard for all cars to be able to abide by. The first and foremost was that front airbags and ABS should be standard kit, something that was only made mandatory by the government in 2019. Even then, it was not until 2022 that the regulations specified fitting all cars with TWO front airbags forcing the most affordable models to offer them as standard.

Kia Carens crash-tested

The other base level set by GNCAP was that the Indian cars were only subjected to one kind of crash test - a frontal offset crash at 64kmph. If the car performed well in this test, then it would be considered for a side impact test as well. Till date, only a handful of cars have managed to clear that low benchmark of safety criteria. But as that number is on the rise, it is time for GNCAP to put Indian cars through more stringent tests by raising the testing benchmark.

What is going to change?

The assessment organization will be updating its testing protocols starting from July 2022, the plans for which have been in discussion since late 2020. As a result, cars would have to offer more in order to be considered for a five-star safety rating.

The biggest change in the standards would be that all new cars need to be equipped with electronic stability control (ESC) from the base variant onwards. GNCAP has been working with the government to try and make it a regulatory requirement as well. On top of that, Indian cars will now have to be able to be tested for side impact collisions and meet pedestrian protection requirements as well to get a decent score.

Related: Mahindra XUV700 Excels At The Global NCAP Pedestrian And ESC Tests

What about the BNCAP?

It is worth noting that not all brands are in favour of these stringent safety norms that seem to far exceed the local regulatory requirements. Some manufacturers have stated that these global assessment programs may not be taking into account the market conditions whose cars they are testing. Therefore they claim the poor safety score and the bad press that follows is not an accurate representation of the quality of their cars.

Instead, they’d prefer to be evaluated by a homegrown safety assessment, one established by the Indian government. Luckily, that is already in the works and the draft proposal for a Bharat New Car Assessment Program (BNCAP) was recently approved. It aims to match its testing protocols with that of the GNCAP, so carmakers may not have any less difficulty in securing a good safety rating. At the same time, carmakers can expect their current five-star models to have a lower score in upcoming GNCAP tests with the updated protocols.

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