In a Latin NCAP test, whose details were revealed yesterday, both the made-in-India Suzuki Swift and the Renault Duster scored 0/5 points. This is both shocking and worrying for the Indian car buyer, as it raises grave concerns as to the safety of vehicles sold in India.
The Suzuki Swift made in India and Japan, with two airbags as standard achieved zero stars. The popular compact car achieved 15.53% in Adult Occupant box, 0% in Child Occupant box, 66.07% in Pedestrian Protection and Vulnerable Road Users box and 6.98% in Safety Assist box. The result is valid for the hatchback and sedan versions. https://www.latinncap.com/en/media-area/new/86128d59b1df50/latin-ncap-latest-results-zero-stars-for-renault-new-duster-and-suzuki-swift
The car was just all-round quite unsafe, with the safest part, i.e. the driver and passenger portion of the car also providing horrible chest and lower body support in case of an accident. The rear portion of the car was also not a success safety-wise, as the only non-negative marks the car got for rear safety were from the testing it was exempt from. Pedestrian safety-wise, the car got its highest score, though collision avoidance and safety systems were also quite bad. A full report is available here, and the results are truly shocking. plaza-escorts.com
The Duster didn’t fare much better, also faring quite badly, and also achieving low scores.
The Renault Duster, produced in Latin America and Romania, with double airbags and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard, achieved zero stars under Latin NCAP’s latest protocol. The popular SUV achieved 29.47% in Adult Occupant box, 22.93% in Child Occupant box, 50.79% in Pedestrian Protection and Vulnerable Road Users box and 34.88% in Safety Assist box. https://www.latinncap.com/en/media-area/new/86128d59b1df50/latin-ncap-latest-results-zero-stars-for-renault-new-duster-and-suzuki-swift
The Duster did slightly better, but as is visible, there’s no way they can be complacent with it. In all aspects, the Duster outdid the Swift, though it was noted in the test results that the side structure deformed very easily, and the pedestrian safety rating was also low. A full report is available here.
These results are quite disappointing, and hence naturally raise concerns about the safety in other cars as well. Both these cars are heavily marketed, and are aggressively priced so as to give the companies a good turnover on the cars- with the cuts being made in terms of safety. In India, cars are purchased in astronomically large numbers every year, with over 27 lakh cars being sold in the financial year of 2021. Cars like these may be sold in large volumes, but upon learning these alarming safety statistics, will consumers still be inclined to purchase these cars?
Carmakers like Datsun, Maruti, Hyundai and Kia are not the best in terms of prioritising safety in their Indian variant cars, and it’s sad to see that. The Maruti story made headlines today, tomorrow it could be any other such company. This is where the consumers need to step in.
What can be done?
Demanding prioritisation of safety and safer cars is now incredibly important, as the Indian market has for far too long seen very unsafe cars sold in volumes. If the consumer doesn’t step up soon, it might be too late. This is where companies like Tata and Mahindra have the upper hand, as they do not skimp out on the safety of their cars. I’ll use the Tata Altroz, a car priced as a competitor to the Swift to prove my point.
A similarly-priced car to the Swift performing eons better than it must be enough to wake up the consumer. It’s quite shocking to see such a big gap in results, and this will surely prompt Maruti to make safer and sturdier cars. The consumers are the only ones who can make anything happen, and I believe that #SaferCarsForIndia needs to be more trending, and I hence urge you to write out a tweet with the #SaferCarsForIndia, voicing your opinion on the current safety levels of cars sold in India.
As the old saying goes, “It’s better to be safe than sorry”!