In a recent interview, Maruti's C.V. Raman explained how the new Maruti Swift is safer despite being lighter than the original Swift launched back in 2005.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited, India’s largest car manufacturer, has had immense success with its frugal and affordable small cars. That said, lately, there have been concerns about safety regarding Maruti cars, which were addressed by the company’s spokesperson in a recent interview with ET Auto.
Maruti Swift crash testing by Global NCAP
For the uninitiated, Maruti has recently announced its decision to abstain from Global NCAP safety testing. The company has stated that its cars will follow the safety regulations approved by the Government of India, and will comply with the upcoming Bharat NCAP safety norms. While this seems like a good thing, it should be pointed out that Maruti cars have mostly gained modertate to poor safety ratings, except for the Vitara Brezza. Let’s understand this better with the example of one of the most popular hatchbacks in India, Maruti Swift.
Maruti Suzuki Swift Mileage Test | IndianAutosBlog
Maruti Swift was introduced back in 2005, back when vehicular safety was not really a big concern for India. The car offered no airbags as standard, and did not have any electronic aids. The lack of safety equipment kept the prices low, which helped with sales, but compromised road safety. The car had a 0-star safety rating for the non-airbag variant. Compared to that, the new Swift is lighter, more economical, and safer as well. The current car has two airbags and ISOFIX child seat mounts as standard, earning the car a 2-star Global NCAP safety rating. The twist in the story, however, is that the Suzuki Swift sold in Europe has a 4-star safety rating by EuroNCAP, while the Japanese-version has a 5-star JNCAP safety rating.
“For example (sic), the weight of New Swift has been optimized by 125 kg in comparison to the first generation Swift launched in 2005. This weight optimization has been achieved by the increased use of AHSS and UHSS for all structural parts.”
-C.V. Raman, Senior Executive Director, Engineering, Maruti Suzuki India Limited
The current-generation Indian-manufactured Maruti Swift has a kerb weight of 985 kg (less than the 2005 model's near-1100 kg), while the Suzuki Swift built in Japan weighs 1055 kg. While it may seem like the Indian-version has an edge over its JDM counterpart, that is not the case. According to a few reports, the structural-strength of the vehicle is reduced, making them less able to withstand an impact during an accident. According to GNCAP safety report for the Maruti Swift, “The bodyshell was rated as unstable and it was not capable of withstanding further loadings”. For the international Suzuki Swift, EuroNCAP states that “The body suffered minimal deformation” during the front-collision test.