Maruti on Track to Meet Safety Norms

The Economic Times - - Brands & Companies - Nabeel.Khan


New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki is rac­ing ahead of the pack in mak­ing its ve­hi­cles com­pli­ant to new crash reg­u­la­tions.

Five of its pop­u­lar mod­els — S-Cross, Baleno, Ciaz, Vi­tara Brezza and Ig­nis — have been suc­cess­fully tested for pedes­trian, off­set-frontal and full-frontal crash safety, the most for any mass producer of cars In­dia. The na­tion’s largest car­maker by sales is de­vel­op­ing an in-house fa­cil­ity to con­duct pedes­trian and frontal crash tests at Ro­htak near Delhi at a cost of ₹ 3,800 crore. The fa­cil­ity, in which it has al­ready in­vested ₹ 1,900 crore and is op­er­a­tional, will pro­vide sup­port also to par­ent Suzuki’s global op­er­a­tions.

“We have con­ducted 35-40 dif­fer­ent crash tests on each model and vari­ant to check the com­pli­ance,” said CV Ra­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor in charge of R&D.

In­dia ac­counts for the most num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties in road ac­ci­dents. Ac­cord­ing to a World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­port in 2015, about 12.5 lakh peo­ple die in road ac­ci­dents glob­ally ev­ery year and 2 lakh of these deaths hap­pen in In­dia. Ex­perts blame lack of safety reg­u­la­tions, dis­re­gard to com­pli­ance of ex­ist­ing rules as well as poor main­te­nance of ve­hi­cles and bad roads among the rea­sons for large num­ber of road ac­ci­dent deaths here. The In­dian economy takes a 3%, or about $58 bil­lion, hit ev­ery year due to road ac­ci­dents, ac­cord­ing to a study by the United Na­tions Eco­nomic and So­cial Com­mis­sion for Asia and the Pa­cific. Among 19 coun­tries tracked in the study, only Ja­pan was ahead of In­dia based on the fi­nan­cial im­pact of road ac­ci­dents at $63 bil­lion.

The gov­ern­ment is in­tro­duc­ing tougher safety rules, mak­ing airbags, anti-lock brak­ing sys­tem and crash tests com­pul­sory in a phased man­ner. Un­der the Bharat New Ve­hi­cle Safety As­sess­ment Pro­gramme (BNVSAP), all new pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle mod­els must pass full frontal im­pact, off­set frontal im­pact and side im­pact crash tests from Oc­to­ber this year. Pedes­trian pro­tec­tion will be­come com­pul­sory a year later, while au­tomak­ers have two to three years to meet these re­quire­ments on their ex­ist­ing mod­els. Also in the works is a pol­icy to scrap old ve­hi­cles.

Re­cently, Maruti demon­strated be­fore the me­dia the off­set-frontal crash test of the Ig­nis at 56 kmph at Ro­tak. The re­sult was im­pres­sive, as the car came out with its cabin in­tact, airbags prop­erly in­flated and doors that freely opened.

5 pop­u­lar mod­els have been suc­cess­fully tested for pedes­trian, off­set-frontal and full-frontal crash safety

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