Maruti Suzuki Chairman R C Bhargava says his company will opt for Bharat NCAP only if customers want it
As Bharat NCAP crash tests are about to start in India, the country’s largest manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, doesn’t want to welcome it for a reason. It seems the company wants government to implement norms based on Indian conditions instead.
Three days ago, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari revealed that he has approved the Draft General Statutory Rules (GSR) notification to introduce Bharat NCAP wherein automobiles in India shall be accorded star ratings based on their performance in crash tests.
Responding to the notification, Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava has reportedly said that India is a completely different market than the west where tests such as the NCAP are a benchmark.
“We can’t follow European standards of safety in all our vehicles in India because we can’t apply that to 2-wheelers. Are we going to leave the 2-wheeler owners out of the safety ambit and apply it to only rich people? Surely, we should look at what can be done to provide better transport for the people who use 2-wheelers,” he added.
The Chairman had further said that his company will opt in for Bharat NCAP tests only if its customers want such tests. This is the second time Maruti Suzuki has brought in the plight of the 2-wheeler owners after it cited the same reason for opposing mandatory 6-airbag rule.
Things have not favoured mass-market manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai when it comes to crash tests as most of their offerings have fared poorly in such tests with the latest 1 being Kia Carens which has scored a meagre 3 stars even after sporting 6 airbags.
Nitin Gadkari said Bharat NCAP will serve as a consumer-centric platform allowing customers to opt for safer cars based on their star ratings while promoting a healthy competition among OEMs in India to manufacture safer vehicles.
“Star rating of Indian cars based on crash tests is extremely crucial not only to ensure structural and passenger safety but also to increase the export-worthiness of Indian automobiles,” the Minister added.
Interestingly, the testing protocols of the upcoming Bharat NCAP will be aligned with global crash test protocols factoring in the existing Indian regulations. The OEMs will be called to get their vehicles tested at the country’s own in-house testing facilities.
According to the Minister, Bharat NCAP will prove to be a critical instrument in making Indian automobile industry Aatmanirbhar with the mission of making India the number 1 automobile hub in the world.