Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Jitendra Singh
Car makers focusing on enhancing sales, ignoring safety measures
Mahindra & Mahindra's Quanto MPV and Renault's Duster SUV offer you 'jump seats', or extra seats just around the boot area, but without the crucial, and mandated, seat belts. Almost all carmakers, from Maruti Suzuki to Hyundai and Honda, offer variants in India without life-saving features such as airbags and ABS (anti-lock braking system) although these features are included in vehicles exported to even smaller markets. Despite rising cases of fatalities on Indian roads due to the lack of safety features, security of in-cabin passengers appears to have taken a back seat as sales-hungry companies engage in a high-pitched battle to bag customers in one of the most high-potential markets.
Surprisingly, most of the companies operating in India are global players and pack their export models with top-notch safety features — even offering six air bags on a compact car — whereas the models meant for India lack many of these. Industry analysts said the behaviour of the companies shows a clear disregard for passenger safety and is a case of utter discrimination. SP Singh, senior fellow and coordinator of Indian Foundation for Transport Research & Training (IFTRT), said manufacturers in India should provide the same level of safety on their cars that they provide on their global models.
"When they market the vehicles, they project them as international models. But when they sell them in the market, the products here are very different from the ones they make for the European markets," Singh said. "This is a clear case of discrimination against Indian buyers and should not be allowed."
Read complete story at Economic Times.