Datsun’s chief Vincent Cobee says that Indian roads don’t need ABS, for the speeds here are too low for ABS to make any significant difference. On the other hand, Cobee would be more interested in exploring some sort of electronic stability program for the budget cars in the Datsun brand.
Meanwhile, here’s what the top man at Datsun had to say about adding safety features to budget Datsuns,
When I look at the current road condition of India, ABS does not reduce braking distance, and the average speed is extremely low, and I’m not sold on the necessity of ABS. Sometime down the road, I am very interested in safety features that are broader, but today quite expensive – which have trajectory control. If you really want to address pre-accidents, I’m not so sure if ABS will solve the problem in Indian conditions of bad roads and low average speed. But its quite likely that finding solutions on trajectory control would be interesting – it can be called ESP or VDC. I understand the benefit of ABS, but today I’m not convinced about the value vs cost of ABS.
What this essentially means is, Nissan India will not equip cars such as the Datsun Go, the Go+ and the upcoming RediGo budget hatchback with ABS anytime soon. Earlier this year, after facing much flak for the unstable body structure of the Go and Go+, Nissan India added a driver airbag as an option to these cars. Notably, all car makers in India may have to necessarily add ABS and twin airbags in all cars sold here once the BVNSAP kicks in.
Until then though, citing high costs for the non-inclusion of essential safety features is how many automakers in India could tackle tough questions about car safety. A while ago, Maruti Suzuki’s chairman made similar remarks when quizzed about improving car safety. Until the government butts in and makes certain safety equipment mandatory, car makers are likely to pursue the route to maximum profit rather than maximum safety.
For the record, adding ABS to a car is much cheaper $240 vs $450) than implementing an ESP system. For instance, Mahindra has added ABS and twin airbags to the TUV300 compact SUV for an incremental price tag of 35,000 rupees. Airbags and ABS are now available even in the base variant of the compact SUV, as an option.This clearly shows that if there’s will by the automaker, adding safety features as optional extras isn’t something hard to do.