We’ve come a long way since the seat belt egg test, but some manufacturers are still dragging their feet when it comes to vehicle safety.

IN AUSTRALIA WE’RE approaching the point where a lack of AEB (autonomous emergency braking) in vehicles is going to affect a vehicle’s ANCAP rating (ANCAP will adhere to Euro NCAP testing methodology from 2018). We’re a few steps behind Europe’s vehicle safety expectations now, but spare a thought for third-world countries where not even airbags are standard in new vehicles.

The latest report from Global NCAP, a UK-based international new car assessment charity which seeks to help prevent road related deaths and trauma in third-world countries, has awarded the Chevrolet Enjoy a zero star NCAP rating and the updated Ford Figo three stars. Both are new vehicles currently sold in India where government legislation doesn’t required safety features such as airbags or ESC to be fitted to vehicles as standard. The structural integrity of the Chevrolet Enjoy has also been questioned and it has been seen in previous tests by Global NCAP that some manufacturers use inferior materials and techniques to produce vehicles.

Global NCAP has been testing Indian market vehicles since 2014 in a campaign named #SaferCarsForIndia and initial tests on most vehicles were very poor, however manufacturers Toyota, Volkswagen, Maruti Suzuki have since made dual airbags standard across the range. The Ford Figo which also scored zero stars in 2014, has been an improvement with the implementation of dual airbags as standard across the range and six airbags in the top spec model.

However the Chevrolet Enjoy has no airbags and scored zero stars for front adult occupancy and two stars for rear child occupancy. View the carnage from the testing here:

The poor results for the Enjoy are in stark contrast to comments made by Mary Barra, Chairman & CEO of GM, who in 2015 said GM would be an “an industry leader” of vehicle safety and that safety in GM vehicles “are foundational commitments, never compromised”.

In response to the results, David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP said, “Ford’s three star result shows that basic levels of safety are achievable as standard in the Indian vehicle market. It is also encouraging to see progress in safety compared to the earlier version of the Figo we tested in 2014.

In contrast, we are extremely concerned about the poor result of the Chevrolet Enjoy. There is nothing to enjoy about a zero star safety score and GM should be embarrassed that they are selling cars with such inadequate levels of occupant protection to Indian consumers”.

Airbags are a critical safety device in vehicles and in a collision can drastically reduce the chance of severe body trauma, or death. In 2015 there were over 146,000 deaths on Indian roads and 63 per cent of those occurred on national and state highways.

Rohit Baluja, President of the Institute of Road Traffic Education said he hopes the implementation of the the Bharat NCAP (Indian new car assessment program), due to be implemented this year, will improve required minimum safety standards for vehicles sold in India:

“Vehicle manufacturers today should adopt the global philosophy of the “safe systems approach” the thought process of which reflects that even if crashes do occur, road users should not die or get seriously injured. This is particularly important for the Indian scenario.

“Other manufacturers too have been catalysed by Safer Cars for India to improve safety for Indian consumers, though sadly some such as GM are yet to step up.

I am sure that Bharat NCAP will continue to set out requisite safety norms in accordance with the principles set by the Global NCAP in order to foster improvements in safety for India’s vehicle market”, Baluja said.


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Alex Rae

Alex Rae brings almost two decades’ experience, previously working at publications including Wheels, WhichCar, Drive/Fairfax, Carsales.com.au, AMC, Just Cars, and more.

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