Fifty years after Ralph Nader's bestseller "Unsafe at Any Speed" which resulted in a public outcry against cars built with poor safety standards in the West, comes GNCAP's second shocking crash test results of five popular cars sold in the sixth largest auto market- India. All vehicles scored zero stars. And some of these cars consistently rank among the top 10 in sales in recent months. Three versions of the newly launched Renault Kwid were tested. The first made late last year having sold about 18'000 units, the second and third with a more stronger structure and airbags launched in April, also scored zero stars. The popular Indian SUV- Mahindra Scorpio which looks rugged, didn't fare better with the A-Pillar simply collapsing on impact. Mahindra claims their vehicles meet and exceed current and also future Indian regulations by offering airbags as optional in base variants. Others including Renault, maintain their claim to adherence to current norms, which are ofcourse in urgent need of reforms and is expected towards end of 2017.
Just a month ago I wrote about the crucial role insurers have in ensuring safer roads in middle/low income countries and two years since I raised the issue on Open Minds after the first shocking crash test results by GNCAP. It seems most car makers are still waiting for the new laws to be enacted before they truly embed safety features which are standard in developed markets. The question therefore remains- how many more sub-standard vehicles will insurers continue to cover(without charging an extra dime) putting at risk the lives of millions of road users?
Picture courtesy GNCAP.