Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., (MSIL) is targeting to ensure 80% of its models comply with the new advanced safety norms for existing vehicles by October 2018 — a full year before the stricter norms come into effect.
As per the Indian government’s roadmap for vehicular safety, new models will have to comply with full frontal impact and offset frontal impact norms from October this year, while existing models, will have time until October 1, 2019.
For pedestrian protection, the deadline for new models would kick in from October 2018 and for existing models the deadline is October 1, 2020.
“All cars launched after October will mandatorily have to meet these advanced norms,” said Maruti Suzuki’s R & D head C V Raman. “Existing car models have time until October 2019 before they are equipped with advanced safety. But we have gone ahead and made six of our models compliant to these future norms. Our aim is that nearly 80% of Maruti Suzuki models should meet the advanced safety norms at least one year before these are implemented.”
Six of MSIL’s about 17 models sold in India — S-Cross, Ciaz, Baleno, Ertiga, Ignis and the new Dzire — adhere to the new norms. Mr. Raman added that for each model, about 35-40 crash tests are done at the company’s 600-acre Rohtak facility.
Maruti Suzuki sells about 17 models in the country, including Swift, Ritz, Alto and Vitara Brezza.
The challenge, he said, is to meet the advanced safety norms without compromising on performance, fuel efficiency and comfort.
“It would have been straightforward to simply load equipment like airbags and anti-lock braking systems on a vehicle to make it safety compliant. But that would have increased vehicle weight significantly. So innovation is important.”
Asked about the new safety features leading to increase in price of the cars, he said, “We believe customers will be willing to pay extra for advanced safety.”
Mr. Raman, however, stressed that while the new advanced safety in vehicles is expected to help bring road fatalities down “the most important safety feature ever invented for a car still remains the old faithful seat belt! All the multiple airbags in a car are useless and, in fact, may cause injuries if the occupants are not belted (including on the rear seat).”
Source: The Hindu