Indian-market vehicles have no airbag requirements and low safety standards

It’s not a secret that the U.S. and Europe of some pretty strict safety regulations for vehicles, but there are other markets that have very low or even non-existent safety regulations for cars. One such market is the Indian market, where new car safety standards are minimal at best, with Global NCAP calling them “Clearly sub-standard” in a recent media release. And that brings me to our conversation today – the five Indian-market vehicles from Renault, Maruti-Suzuki, Mahindra, and Hyundai that recently failed Global NCAP testing.

See, in the Indian Market, airbags aren’t required, and up until October of 2017, front and side impact testing isn’t a requirement for new cars on the market. Talk about driving blind, right? Safety structures that are designed to crumple in certain areas help to eliminate injury to front adult passengers, but that clearly isn’t enough protection – especially for a market where driver’s like to do interesting stunts like drive on two wheels while rotating tires (don’t act like you haven’t seen at least one of those videos that have gone viral in the past.)

These failures in safety aren’t exactly a new problem, as Indian-market cars have been disappointing on that front for a while, but we decided to take a look at all of the videos anyway. Continue reading to the crash test videos for each Indian model that was tested, and be happy that you weren’t the test dummy.

Continue reading to learn more about the crash test results

Hyundai Eon


The Hyundai Eon was tested at 64 kph (about 40 mph) and scored zero stars for adult safety and just two stars for child safety in the rear seat. As you can see in the video, the test dummy in the driver’s position gets a healthy dose of steering wheel to the face and chest, while the test dummy in the passenger side took some dash to the head while getting a chance to smell its own feet.

As you can see in the video, the “face skin” of the passenger dummy is actually pulled off the test dummies head during the collision. The rear-facing car seat and child test dummy in the rear are flung forward, then slammed into the backrest of the seat, while the forward-facing child dummy ended up with his head between his legs for a second before rebounding back. I don’t know about you, but If I had to be any of the dummies, I would want to be the forward-sitting child in the rear.

Suzuki Maruti Eeco


The Suzuki Maruti Eeco was also tested at about 40 mph and scored the same as the Hyundai Eon – 2 stars for child safety, but no stars for front adult safety. Being a larger, passenger van, one might expect this crash test to yield better results, but that just isn’t the case here. The front passenger dummy would have walked away pretty sore but probably without major injury. The poor driver, on the other hand, had the steering wheel embedded into his face.

It actually looks like the seat swings forward as the steering wheel moves toward the dummy, making for a pretty gruesome impact. Not something I would like to experience. The rear, front-facing child would likely receive little injury aside from some hardcore whiplash, and the rear-facing child probably came out okay – the car seat barely moved upon impact but did recoil toward the seatback shortly after. Even with all of that movement the test dummy seemed to be free of anything that might cause serious injury.

Suzuki Maruti Celerio


At a near-40 mph crash speed, the Suzuki Maruti Celerio did even worse than the others we’ve already talked about. As you already know, it earned a zero-star rating for adult safety, but unlike the others, it only earned a one-star rating for child safety. In the crash test, had the test dummy on the driver’s side be a human, he would have needed a new chest plate and some intense facial reconstruction. We see that upon impact, the steering column shoots forward to meet the dummy’s chest, but then pushes upward – breaking through the upper dash pad – and striking the dummy in the face as well. Furthermore, when the dummy recoiled, its head would have struck the door glass, had it been in place. The front passenger probably felt some whiplash and needed a visit to the chiropractor, but looked to go through the crash test without any major injuries.

The front-facing child in the rear had similar results to the other cars tested, but the rear seat looks like it flexed more than on the other models, leading to the test dummy being flung around a little more. From the inside view, the rear facing test dummy didn’t do so well. On impact, the car seat tilts to the rear, then twists toward the other test dummy before recoiling hard into the center of the seat. Needless to say, had this been a real accident with a real child, that dummy would be needing some serious medical attention.

Mahindra Scorpio


The Mahindra Scorpio scored zero stars for adults, but it did score two for child protection. In the crash test, the front passenger test dummy bent forward on impact, but as the impact continued, the safety structure crumpled at the roof allowing the dash to move rearward a bit. It barely touched the top of the passenger dummy’s head during the collision, but if the vehicle was going any faster, it could have clearly broken the test dummy’s neck.

The test dummy in the driver’s seat wasn’t so lucky. As the dash and steering wheel moved toward the rear, the dummy’s head hit the steering wheel, then proceeded even further to take a nice bite out of the instrument cluster. Upon recoil, the dummy flung backward toward the B-pillar where its head would have struck the glass and pillar at the same time. Obviously, he wouldn’t be going home. Both child dummies were flung around quite a bit, but didn’t seem to experience anything that would present extreme injury. It should be noted, however, that the rear-facing child seat did lift completely off of the rear bench during the collision.

Renault Kwid


The Renault Kwid is the highlight of failure out of the five vehicles tested. It was so bad that NCAP tested two other variants of the Kwid – all of which also received a zero-star safety rating for adults. One of the Kwid models even had a front airbag, but still failed miserably. It did score a two-star rating for child occupant safety, but even still, it was found that the Kwid’s safety structure was practically non-existent, with only the driver’s side of the vehicle being reinforced – oddly it was this side that collapsed the most.

As you can see from the video, the test dummy in the driver seat was quite literally sandwiched between the steering wheel and the seat, while being pushed downward toward the buckle in the safety structure. The front passenger dummy also took a good knock to the noggin on impact as its head flung forward and hit the corner of the center stack. The rear passenger dummies didn’t move around too much, but still flung around well beyond NCAP’s standard for rear child passenger movement. Needless to say, at just 40 mph, a head-on collision could turn out to be fatal for the driver, and it wouldn’t exactly be a cakewalk for the other passengers either.

Conclusion

The whole point of NCAP testing is to encourage manufacturers to provide the safest vehicles possible. The problem is, manufacturers aren’t building cars with safety in mind all the time. They sure market it that way in places like the U.S., where manufacturers like Hyundai have achieved pretty impressive safety ratings, but considering how badly the Hyundai Eon failed; Hyundai clearly didn’t worry too much about safety in the Indian market did it?

After watching all of these crash test results at just 40 mph, it really makes me wonder about the carnage created in the models during accidents at higher speeds – especially in models like the Renault Kwid. For the record, Renault has said that it would step up is safety game and improve its safety standards, and there is another Kwid waiting to be tested. Be that as it may, Renault (and the rest of the manufacturers here for that matter) should be ashamed of itself for putting such an unsafe car on the market. Safety should be important regardless of the market where the car is going to be sold, but apparently, it isn’t worth it to them to supply air bags or good safety structures as standard equipment.

Source: Global NCAP

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