Maruti Swift and Datsun Go fail NCAP crash test

Maruti Swift and Datsun Go fail NCAP crash test

Popular cars Maruti Suzuki Swift and Datsun Go failed the latest round of Indian crash tests carried out by Global NCAP. The Go is an entry-level...

Popular cars Maruti Suzuki Swift and Datsun Go failed the latest round of Indian crash tests carried out by Global NCAP. The Go is an entry-level model, which competes with Maruti Suzuki's Alto 800 and Hyundai Eon, while Swift is positioned as a more premium hatchback.

Swift has received a zero star rating in the 64kmph frontal collision test. Two variants of the car were tested -- one exported by Maruti to Latin America and another which sells as the base variant here in India. Latin American market regulations mean that car's base variant too has airbags and ABS, while in India neither is standard.

Screenshot from Datsun Go’s crash test

Global NCAP's testing protocol mandates that all cars (including base variants) must carry at least airbags and ABS to get its certification. The Indian Swift model failed the test even before the crash happened. The crash analysis showed the crash-test-dummies having sustained near-fatal injuries, more so in the case of the driver. The car's structural integrity was also deemed as unstable. And this is a key point, given the made-in-Europe Swift has a much sturdier structure and achieved a 5-star crash certification from Euro-NCAP.

The Latin American export Swift got a 3-star rating, chiefly due to the presence of airbags and ABS, which meant fewer injuries to the crash-test-dummies. But structurally that car performed similarly to the other Swift.

But it isn't just about adding airbags or ABS, as the Datsun Go's crash test shows. The car's body shell disintegrated severely during the same kind of test. Of course, the lack of airbags further compounded the potential injuries. The driver and passenger dummies sustained fatal injuries to the head, torso and legs.

Last year Global NCAP had carried out the first round of India tests, where the Tata Nano, Hyundai i10, Maruti Alto 800, Ford Figo and VW Polo had been crashed. None of the cars had passed due to a lack of airbags as standard, with the smaller cars faring poorly on build quality too. The focus of these tests is to create awareness among Indian consumers, and also suggest the adoption of safety protocols by the government. Very often manufacturers claim they don't offer safety features in base versions due to lack of demand by consumers.

There is a draft bill on road safety that has been prepared by the NDA government, and set to Parliament. Sharing details of the new bill, the Road Transport Ministry says that it proposes setting up an India NCAP and adoption of safety standards that will mirror what's currently mandated in Western Europe.

All manufacturers whose cars are crash tested are always informed and invited to witness the test. While Maruti offered no comment or statement, Nissan India, which owns Datsun, said, “Automotive regulation standards in fast-growing countries are constantly evolving and as a global manufacturer, we are willing to adopt as well as help evolve standards in vehicular safety.”

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