Ethical Performance
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Car safety agenda comes to fore in India

July 2014

Five small cars in India, accounting for 20% of all sales in the country, have failed crash tests. The examiners warned that fatalities or serious injuries could result if these cars were in accidents. The cars were apparently designed without safety features, including airbags, to keep down prices.

Max Mosley, chairman of the UK-based Global New Car Assessment Programme (Global NCAP), which promotes public safety and public health and conducted the tests, said: “It’s worrying to see levels of safety that are 20 years behind the five-star standards now common in Europe and North America.

“Poor structural integrity and the absence of airbags are putting the lives of Indian consumers at risk. They have a right to know how safe their vehicles are and to expect the same basic levels of safety as standard as customers in other parts of the world.”

The crash tests were failed by the Tata Nano, the world’s cheapest car, the Volkswagen Polo, the Ford Figo, the Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800 and the Hyundai i10. Tata, which has now added power steering and other features, said it was considering how to strengthen the Nano’s structure. Volkswagen has withdrawn its Polo model without airbags. It is now adding airbags and anti-lock brakes.

Ford has said it will work with the Indian authorities, Global NCAP “and other relevant stakeholders as appropriate”.

Asia | Health and safety

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