Putting NCAP standards into cars in India will have no significant impact on the number of accidents: RC Bhargava
RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL), was asked about Maruti cars failing in the recent NCAP crash test and when they would excel in the crash tests at a press conference. While answering that question, he made some bold and sweeping assertions about Global NCAP safety standards.
The chairman of the largest car manufacturer in India said that safety is related to preventing accidents and not bestowing the cars with safety measures and features. He further stated that vehicle fitness, inadequate driver training, driver errors, and road signages, along with engineering and design of the roads, are the main contributors to accidents. Therefore, NCAP crash test results for cars in India "will have no significant impact on the number of accidents at all." He even said that if someone promotes NCAP standards, do not get influenced by it, believing it is the way to safer roads.
According to him, it is believed that NCAP has a better understanding of vehicle safety than any government in the world. The safety standards implemented by the government of India are based on European standards for safety, Bhargava said. He also claimed that automotive component manufacturers fund NCAP.
Bhargava emphasised that most accidents happen due to the 'failure of some systems' in the cars, while India lacks the law, regulation and even certification that governs the fitness of these vehicles. "Manufacturers give vehicles which have all the requirements of vehicle safety, what happens after a car goes on the road? How do you ensure that these vehicles which are running on the road remain as compliant with the safety features as when the car was sold to them, there is no law, there is no regulation to govern that," he added.
The chairman also questioned whether a person holding a licence drives properly, given that driver error is a major cause of accidents across the country. "Getting a licence in India today, compared to a licence given in other countries, is different," he said.
While talking about safety features and vehicle fitness, Bhargava said that adding more safety features to the car attracts higher premiums. "It's not at all a correct system to keep loading cars with safety measures when you don't look at the safety of the vehicle or the fitness of the driver who drives,'' he added further.
The views of Maruti Suzuki Charmain RC Bhargava offer a fresh perspective on how the largest automaker in India perceives the Global NCAP crash testing system.
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