Sunday, February 02, 2014

Failed Crash Test !! Still Safe

Recently this news article caught my attention. It said the top five small cars of India failed crash test in the Euro NCAP test conducted in London. Many commentators lamented the lack of safety features in Indian cars that makes them less safe for driving. I wonder, if this is indeed the right position to take or even whether Indians need to worry about the results of these tests.

If we closely read about the test, its results and then the conclusions drawn by the "auto experts" of the west - it seems to me a marketing drive to sell safety airbags to Indian Manufacturers. Read this graphic detail of the article in the Gaurdian, arguing that the standard safety features will require only a few hundred dollars to the car's cost.

The crash tests in the west assumes Airbags availability as a standard safety feature in cars. No wonder, Indian small cars - all of them the basic entry versions failed. We need to understand a perspective here.

Every country has an environment of its own and hence its own needs. A small car is often the entry level car for an Indian Family that has been travelling on a much less safe two-wheeler (specially under the severe road and traffic conditions typical of India). For these families, the car takes them to a much higher levels of safety and comfort then they were used to. Quite unlike the Europe/America where the small car could be an individuals vehicle or even statement (the distinction that bikes currently carry in India).

In fact the Tata Nano was conceptualised by Mr. Ratan Tata as a safer transport than a two-wheeler for a family of 3-4. (Read this). And the day might not be far when this car while failing at more crash tests might be making lives of millions happier and safer.

So, Indians - don't worry about the crash test failure. It is another measure from another world - not relevant to us, at least currently. To those whom it matters and can afford there are better cars available with all the crash proof safety. We are evolving into safer times and lets create our own standards of safety.