As many as five popular passenger vehicle car models in India, including Maruti Celerio, Renault Kwid, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon, failed crash tests with 'zero star' rating by vehicle safety group Global NCAP.
The UK-based group tested five models, which included Maruti Suzuki's van Ecco, sold in India and found that the vehicles "showed low levels of adult occupant protection".
"The latest Indian crash test results from Global NCAP released today in Delhi continue to disappoint with all five models rated as zero star," Global NCAP said in a statement.
Commenting on the latest crash test results, Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward said the latest results show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable in a crash.
"This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety together with fitment at least of front air bags," he added.
Renault's fast selling small car Kwid was tested in three versions, including one with airbags, but each was rated as zero star for adult safety, Global NCAP said, adding as a result of the crash testing the company has sought to improve the safety performance of the Kwid.
"It is very surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature. Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard," Ward said.
Car makers must ensure that their new models pass the UN's minimum crash test regulations, and support the use of airbag, he added.
When contacted, Renault India Operations Country CEO & Managing Director Sumit Sawhney told PTI: "We appreciate Global NCAP recognising Renault's efforts and commitment to safety enhancement. Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all our products meet and exceed the requisite safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities."
Stating the Indian government has announced that the crash test regulation for the existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for the new cars in 2017, he said: "We are already future-ready in terms of technology, design and engineering for enhanced safety for all our vehicles. Renault is committed to comply with these timelines."
While Maruti Suzuki declined to comment, comments from Hyundai and Mahindra & Mahindra could not be immediately obtained.
Industry experts, however questioned why Global NCAP tested vehicles at a speed of 64kmph while the frontal offset regulation in Europe and US, which have the most advanced safety standards, is to test them at 56 kmph. India is also adopting 56 kmph in its regulations from 2017.
"There's no scientific reason whatsoever of testing cars at 64kmph and then failing them. Testing a car at 64 kmph by crashing it against a wall in lab conditions is equivalent to about 120 kmph speed in real life, road crash conditions," said in official of an automobile company, on anonymity.