Nitin Gadkari Calls Out Carmakers For Compromising Safety On India-spec Cars
The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has announced that six airbags will be made mandatory from October 2022 for cars carrying up to eight occupants
Ever since the Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) issued a draft notification earlier this year mandating six airbags from October 2022 for cars carrying up to eight occupants, a few carmakers have expressed concern over the same. Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, has now called out some brands for compromising on safety and structural integrity on their India-spec cars compared to their international counterparts.
This is what he had to say:
“We have taken a decision for mandatory provision of six airbags in cars, even in the economic models. Now some of the companies are making cars in India which are not up to international standard. But they are making cars of the same model, which comply with the international standard, for the foreign market. I can never understand this. We need to understand the importance of such decisions. When India reports maximum road crashes and deaths, why are they not taking it seriously?”
The Transport Minister’s comment comes in the light of the government’s decision to introduce the Bharat NCAP crash test, which is being opposed by some carmakers, including the country’s largest, Maruti.
It should be noted that some carmakers offer India-spec models with less safety equipment and a weaker body shell integrity than their international counterparts. For example, the Kia Seltos sold in India has a 3-star rating from Global NCAP whereas the Australian model has received a perfect score (5 stars) in the ANCAP crash test.
As per the minister, a few manufacturers have even stated that six airbags should not be made mandatory in their cars as this would result in re-engineering, effectively increasing the prices. However, six airbags don’t necessarily mean increased safety, as indicated by the recent crash test result of the Kia Carens, where its structural integrity was rated unstable despite the presence of the requisite six airbags.
We believe carmakers should focus on improving the body shell integrity of the India-spec models to bring them in line with their international counterparts (which usually have a stable structural integrity). In accordance with this, the government’s decision to mandate six airbags will provide better safety prospects to cars sold in our country. The Ministry’s decision to introduce Bharat NCAP crash tests is a welcome move as well as it will test the body structure of vehicles, thereby compelling carmakers to make safer models.
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