The Government has proposed a new regulation that requires all cars to come with a front passenger airbag. The new rule is scheduled to be implemented from April 2021.
In recent years, the Government is working on enforcing more stringent safety standards for vehicles in the country. From last year, a new set of safety standards were implemented for all new car models in the market. Under the new safety regulations, all vehicles are required to be equipped with driver-side airbags, ABS, reverse parking sensors and speed warning system as standard.
The Government proposes to make front passenger airbags mandatory in all vehicles
These new requirements have created positive changes in the automotive market with more and more India-spec vehicles to achieve higher safety ratings at the Global NCAP test. It is good to know that the Government is not entirely content with the current situation. According to a draft notification issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, the Government has proposed making the front passenger airbag compulsory for all car models in the market.
As per the draft notification, the proposed timeline for the new regulation implementation is April 2021 for new car models. The same regulation will be implemented from June 1, 2021, for all existing models.
Before this new rule goes into effect, many car manufacturers have made dual front airbags standard in their ranges of vehicles. However, there are a few cars that are not equipped with dual front airbags like Maruti Celerio, and Renault Kwid. Also, expect that the adoption of this new rule will cause price hikes for entry-level variants of some models.
Commenting on this proposed regulation, Mr Vinkesh Gulati, President of Federation of Auto Dealer Association), said:
“FADA welcomes MoRTH’s (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) intention for mandating dual front airbags. This is a much-needed safety norm which India should adopt and be at par with global standards.”
He also added:
“We hope OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) 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 MoM (month-on-month) basis, but still lags in YoY (year-on-year) basis after Covid-19 hit us hard.”
Recently, various models in the Indian market have taken the Global NCAP Safety Test. Some of the models have gained the full star ratings at this crash test, for example, Mahindra XUV300, Tata Altroz, and Tata Nexon. However, there are also some models that end up with disappointingly low scores like Maruti Swift (2 stars), Maruti Wagon R (2 stars), Hyundai Grand i10 Nios (2 stars), Hyundai Santro (2 stars), Renault Kwid (1 star), Datsun Redi-Go (1 star), Maruti S-Presso (zero star). Most of the vehicles tested on the Global NCAP Test were the entry-level variants and missed out on some basic safety features, explaining the underwhelming results. Hopefully, after the new regulation is implemented, the safety level for all cars in the market will be improved.