Dual front airbags may become mandatory for all vehicles in 2021
The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has issued a draft proposal which will make dual front airbags in all passenger vehicles (M1 category) a mandatory inclusion, up from the current mandatory single (driver's side) airbag rule that came into effect from July 2019. Notably, the mandatory dual front airbags stipulation was part of the ministry's original draft proposal to update the AIS (Automotive Industry Standard) from 2017. Currently, there are less than a handful of entry-level cars which offer only a single (driver's side) airbag, with the fitment of the passenger side airbag being a paid optional extra on certain vehicles and variants, priced at up to Rs 8,000. The list includes base variants of cars such as the Maruti-Suzuki S-Presso, Wagon R, Celerio, Alto, Eeco, Renault Kwid, Datsun Redi-GO, Hyundai Santro and Mahindra Bolero.
As per the proposal, all new cars will have to be fitted with dual front airbags from April 2021, while existing models will have to include the safety feature from June 2021. FADA (Federation of Automobile Dealers Association) president, Vinkesh Gulati, has welcomed the move to bring all Indian cars up to a more acceptable global standard of safety, but has also expressed concern over who will bear the cost of this upgrade in safety features. He is quoted as saying, "We hope OEMs absorb the major cost of input due to the second airbag as it will impact the sales in the short-term. It will be bad for the industry, which is able to show growth on a month-on-month basis, but still lags in year-on-year basis after COVID-19 hit us hard."
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