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More cars get top safety ratings in India

While Nexon became the first Made-in-India car to be awarded five star ratings Kia followed next with the mid-size SUV Seltos

December 31, 2019 / 12:15 PM IST
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New-generation cars that were launched in India over the last two years have fared better in crash safety tests than older-generation cars that were awarded zero-star safety-ratings.

Tata Nexon, Kia Seltos, Renault Captur and Skoda Octavia, all of which are sold in India, are a handful of cars to have scored five-star safety-ratings (maximum that a car can get) in crash tests conducted by UK-based Global New Car Assessment Programme (GNCAP).

While Nexon became the first Made-in-India car to be awarded five-star ratings, Kia followed next with the mid-size SUV Seltos. The Seltos is the best-selling SUV in India presently.

The government’s new mandatory norms of installing airbags, anti-lock braking system, rear sensors and seat belt reminder alerts besides meeting full-frontal, offset-frontal and lateral and side impact crash tests have forced carmakers to improve safety standards. These norms came into force in October 2017.

Other new cars launched in India, such as Hyundai Venue, new Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Mahindra Marazzo and Nissan Kicks have scored four star ratings each in similar tests. Other models of the same manufacturers landed zero-star safety-ratings in tests conducted in previous years.


For instance, Hyundai, the country’s second largest carmaker, saw one of its best-selling small cars, Eon, receive zero star rating in 2016. The Eon has been discontinued in India.

Similarly in 2016, Mahindra Scorpio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco and Maruti Suzuki Celerio landed zero star safety rating. The now-discontinued Tata Nano also received zero star for safety during its tests in 2014. Tata Motors never offered airbags in the Nano even as an option.

A few new-generation cars such as Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, Hyundai Santro, Renault Lodgy, Datsun Redigo, Maruti Suzuki Swift, tested by GNCAP have got three or fewer stars.

One of the reasons why the world's biggest car companies like Volkswagen, Ford and Toyota do not have light-on-pocket, small cars in their portfolio is because of the challenges involved in making them comply with crash-safety norms.

Three out of four cars sold in India that have safety ratings are SUVs. Maruti’s Vitara Brezza, a compact SUV, has a four-star safety rating like its immediate rival Hyundai Venue. No hatchbacks sold in India has five-star safety-ratings. India is the biggest market in the world for small cars (also known as hatchbacks).

New cars that are yet to be launched in India including Volkswagen T-Roc, MG ZS EV and Citroen C5 have got four to five star rating for safety. These cars (all SUVs) will be launched in 2020.

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Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Dec 31, 2019 12:15 pm
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