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Govt defers implementation of six airbags in passenger cars by one year

The MORTH, on January 14, 2022, had issued a draft notification that mandated vehicles of category M1, manufactured after October 1, 2022, to be fitted with six airbags

September 30, 2022 / 08:43 AM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Just days before the deadline, Centre has postponed the decision to make six airbags mandatory in passenger cars by a year. Minister of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Nitin Gadkari tweeted on September 29, that a minimum of six airbags will now become mandatory from October 1, 2023. The earlier deadline for this was proposed to be from 1st October this year.

He wrote: "Considering the global supply chain constraints being faced by the auto industry and its impact on the macroeconomic scenario, it has been decided to implement the proposal mandating a minimum of 6 airbags in Passenger Cars (M-1 Category) w.e.f 01st October 2023." He also tweeted, "Safety of all passengers travelling in motor vehicles irrespective of their cost and variants is the foremost priority."

Also read: Nitin Gadkari urges automakers to adopt global safety norms for cars in India

As per the Vahan portal, the M1 category is a motor vehicle that is used for transporting passengers, comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver's seat.

A source from the auto industry had earlier told Moneycontrol, on condition of anonymity, "The government is likely to miss the October 1 , 2022 deadline to implement the rule of mandatory six airbags in a car. There are physical limitations behind the same.  While the govt had issued a draft notification, they have to give 30 days to the industry players to seek their views and comments.  After the government goes through the industry's feedback, it will work on the final notification, which will also take some time. "

Also read: MC Explains | Why six airbags may not be enough

Another source said: “The component manufacturers will only start building additional capacities (for airbags) if they have a firm order from the OEM. Once the OEMs start placing orders, the capacities will also become adequate within six months from now. What the OEMs now need to do is recalibrate the vehicle by equipping it with physical (airbag) sensors in seats as well as in seatbelts and then submit it to test agencies like ARAI or ICAT to get it type-approved before they can produce it.”

The MORTH, on January 14, 2022,  had earlier stated that in order to enhance the safety of occupants of the motor vehicle against lateral impact, it decided to enhance safety features by amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR), 1989.

The ministry had issued a draft notification that mandated vehicles of category M1, manufactured after October 1, 2022, to be fitted with two side/side torso airbags, one each for the persons occupying front row outboard seating positions, and two side curtain/tube airbags, one each for the persons occupying outboard seating positions.

In the same notification, the ministry stated that the fixed cost of an air bag is a function of volume of the vehicle model produced and shall be determined by "market forces". However, the approximate variable cost for 4 airbags [2 side air bags and 2 curtain airbags], may vary from Rs 5600 to Rs 7000, as per the same notification.

Certain automakers Moneycontrol spoke to have opposed the rule to make six airbags mandatory in vehicles and maintained that it will add to the cost burden on the customers looking for cars in the entry-level segment. The engineering head of a car-making firm said on condition of anonymity that when this rule comes into place, an entry-level car would cost an additional Rs 17,000 to the customer.
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