India’s newly formed crash-test body, the Bharat New Car Assessment Program (BNCAP), has launched this week by handing down a dismal zero-star rating for Nissan’s new Datsun Go and the Indian version of Suzuki’s Swift hatch.
Both cars have been developed for sale specifically in emerging markets, where lower safety standards apply.
The tests saw the Go’s structure collapse in the 64km/h frontal offset crash test, with its complete lack of airbags resulting in the dummy driver’s head making direct contact with the steering wheel and dashboard.
Testing of the Swift brought nearly identical results, but while the Go’s structure is so poor that airbags would make no difference, airbags fitted to the Swift would significantly improve occupant protection.
The Go is not expected to be offered in any of the larger established Western markets, and while the Maruti Suzuki Swift shares its styling with Australia’s 5-Star version, its construction and safety features are less advanced.
It is hoped that the new and highly publicised testing campaign, launched by the Indian Government’s Road Traffic Education centre in partnership with Global NCAP, will drive improvement in the safety of cars offered in India.
"We welcome the initiative of the Indian government to launch its own NCAP and recommend that this positive step is combined with the application of the UN regulations for frontal and side impact,” Global NCAP Secretary-General, Mr David Ward said.
“Prompt action like this would prevent the introduction of brand new models like the Datsun Go, which has a body structure so weak that it is pointless to fit an airbag."
Existing New Car Assessment Program partners include NHTSA (United States), ANCAP (Australia & New Zealand), IIHS (United States), JNCAP (Japan), Euro NCAP (EU 27), KNCAP (South Korea), C-NCAP
(China), Latin NCAP (Latin America & the Caribbean) and ASEAN NCAP (South East Asian Nations).