Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari confirmed that all the new vehicles that will be manufactured in India will soon have 6 airbags as standard. Earlier this year, the ministry had approved a draft notification that asked to make 6 airbags mandatory in vehicles that can seat eight people. The 6 airbag rule for 8 seater vehicles are most likely to be implemented by 1 October 2022. The ministry has yet not announced a proper date or timeline to make 6 airbags mandatory for all cars.
As per the draft notification of January 14, 2022 vehicles that seat up to eight people – M1 category will be getting 6 airbags. Two airbags will be installed at the front and two curtain airbags would be installed at the rear. In India, safety equipment in car and build quality were not considered as parameter up until recently. It was in April 209 that government implemented stringent safety norms for vehicles and manufacturers started offering safety features like driver side airbag, reverse parking sensors as standard. From January 2022, government made the passenger side airbag a mandatory feature as well.
All these efforts that are being made by the government is to make cars bought by Indian customers a lot more safer. Number of vehicles on the road are increasing everyday and so are the number of accidents. The logic behind increasing the number of airbags in a car is to make it a lot more safer for the occupants. The problem that manufacturers are going face is the cost. Increasing the number of airbags in the car would directly impact the cost of these vehicles. The price is likely to go up by Ra 50,000. Many cars that are sold in India do not offer 6 airbags even in the top-end trim, for them the cost would go up even more as they will have to make necessary changes to the shell and the interior trims to accommodate the curtain airbags.
This is not an exciting news for auto industry as they have been struggling because of the pandemic and many other issues for the last couple of years. talking to Autocar India, David Ward, executive president Global NCAP said, “Our crash test results show clearly how airbags help prevent fatal and serious injuries and the new rules are most welcome.” A reinforced shell and more number of airbags could help cars achieve a better score in the Global NCAP crash test.
Currently Kia is probably the only manufacturer that offers 6 airbags with Carens, there recently launched MUV as a standard safety feature. There are reports that Kia will be soon updating safety equipment offered on Sonet and Seltos. Both the SUVs could get 6 airbags as a standard feature. There are reports of introducing iMT gearbox in the diesel engine option of the SUV as well. In many of the cars in this segment, 6 airbags are available in the top-end variants. There are manufacturers who do not offer 6 airbags with any of their variants and for them the new norm would become a challenge.