Lo­cally-made Cars May Face the Salt Spray Test

SAFETY FIRST Move, fol­lowed in for­eign mar­kets, to help de­ter­mine cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Rakhi.Mazum­dar @times­group.com

Kolkata: In­dian ve­hi­cle test­ing agency In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Au­to­mo­tive Tech­nol­ogy (ICAT) has pro­posed salt spray test for lo­cally man­u­fac­tured cars to de­ter­mine cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance, a prac­tice preva­lent in over­seas mar­kets. The road trans­port and high­ways min­istry, which wants to make it manda­tory for au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ers to use 70% gal­vanised steel for car body pan­els—in or­der to make them safer—had sought ICAT’s view on the mat­ter. Gal­vani­sa­tion, or cov­er­ing of metal with zinc, makes it less pro- ne to cor­ro­sion, which in turn makes struc­tures safer.

Re­spond­ing to the min­istry’s query, ICAT said, “In In­dia, safety of pas­sen­ger cars is gen­er­ally eval­u­ated by pres­ence of air bags, seat belts, shock ab­sorb­ing de­vices, etc. How­ever, it does not in­clude cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance as one of the cru­cial fac­tors for safety of cars.”

The pro­posal, un­der ‘Cor­ro­sion Pre­ven­tion Rule for Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles’, per­tains to cars made in In­dia and cost­ing less than .₹ 10 lakh. It draws in­puts from a study con­ducted by IIT Mum­bai in 2015 which said cor­ro­sion prob­lem af­fects dura­bil­ity and safety of cars.

ICAT cited data from a study car­ried out by Swedish in­suran- ce com­pany Folk­sam, which showed that in case of ac­ci­dents, the risk of death is 20% higher in rusty cars. The prob­a­ble rea­son is that due to rust, the ve­hi­cle does not de­form as in­tended, which ham­pers its abil­ity to ab­sorb the im­pact af­ter a col­li­sion.

The test­ing body said, “In keep­ing with the con­cern about safety of au­to­mo­biles, we pro­pose that the min­istry may im­ple­ment an In­dian reg­u­la­tion spec­i­fy­ing ve­hi­cle level cor­ro­sion re­sis­tance test. ICAT is ready to sup­port the min­istry for draft­ing the stan­dard as well as to cre­ate req­ui­site test fa­cil­i­ties.” Ac­cord­ing to ICAT, some auto ma­jors like Tesla, Toy­ota, Mazda KIA and Volk­swa­gen have had to re­call their cars due to cor­ro­sion­re­lated prob­lems in crit­i­cal sus­pen­sion parts like ball joints, lock nuts, etc. “Stud­ies also show brake and sus­pen­sion parts in cars are sus­cep­ti­ble to cor­ro­sion as these sys­tems come into di­rect con­tact with wa­ter,” it said.

Ac­cord­ing to a min­istry note, au­tomak­ers in In­dia use only 30% gal­vanised steel for ve­hi­cles to be sold in the do­mes­tic mar­ket, which leads to faster rust­ing and re­duces the car’s struc­tural strength and sta­bil­ity. But the per­cent­age of gal­vanised steel rises to 70% for the same model if it is for ex­port, the note said, as qual­ity con­trol in for­eign coun­tries is far more strin­gent on cor­ro­sion pa­ram­e­ters. The global av­er­age is 50%.

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