The Transport Ministry in Assam has banned the sale of small cars weighing below 1500 kgs and those that fail to meet Global NCAP crash test norms.
The Global NCAP conducted crash tests of various popular cars that are available on sale in India and most of these vehicles failed to get even a half decent score in the test. While car companies were quick to defend themselves by saying that their vehicles comply with the safety norms in India and that these global tests are not applicable here, a big fiasco was created and people bashed manufacturers for their unsafe cars. Few automakers like Toyota and Volkswagen immediately reacted and made airbags as a standard feature on all their cars while certain other companies did not pay heed to the safety part and kept on launching limited editions.
A court order in Assam has now banned the sale of many such cars which have failed in the Global NCAP tests and the ban of these vehicles has created a huge dent in the overall sales of many major auto companies. Sales of vehicles like the Maruti Alto, Swift, Hyundai Eon, i10, Honda Jazz, etc. have been stopped after the interim order that was passed by the Gauhati High Court. Cars having a mass of less than 1500 kgs have been banned along with quadricycles too. The petitioners have stated that Euro safety norms should be applicable in Assam too since it is a mountainous region.
This ban has affected around 140 models but compact SUVs have been exempted from the ban. Car companies have not taken this lightly and they have raised the issue individually as well as through SIAM. Industry seniors have said that their vehicles are passing safety norms set by the government and that the new norms will be applicable only by 2017. However, on a frank note, it is good to see transport bodies knowing the importance of safety features and not allowing the sale of these vehicles. Car manufacturers also need to wake up to this fact and add safety features to their products rather than brushing aside safety norms set by global industry standards.