Crash testing norms for cars sold in India will soon be unveiled by the Indian government. The government will also make frontal offset and side impact crash tests mandatory for cars sold in India. The National Automotive Testing and Research and Development Infrastructure Project, abbreviated as NATRiP, is currently building crash testing facilities in the country. The safety regulations that the government proposes to mandate will come into force once the crash testing facilities are ready.
Pon Radhakrishnan, India’s Road transport and highways minister, has noted in the Rajya Sabha that car manufacturers will have to add safety aids such as ABS and airbags. In a nutshell, all cars sold in India could have to feature ABS and airbags once the new car safety regulations come into force. Car makers, for their part, estimate that it would cost the industry about 12,000 crore rupees to equip all new cars sold in India, with ABS and airbags as standard equipment.
It is likely that the automakers will push the cost pressure onto buyers. The cost of cars equipped with airbags and ABS is likely to be about 10-15 % higher than equivalent models without these vital safety aids. While car makers fear that increasing prices of the cars equipped with safety features would impact sales by driving away customers, a similar line of argument has been adopted earlier too.
In the early noughties, car makers were asked to build cars confirming to Bharat Stage emissions norms. To get carbureted cars to comply with the tighter emission norms, car makers had to use fuel injection systems, which added to the cost of the cars sold in India. However, the car buyer stomached the extra expense as a part and parcel of the buying process, and ever since, fuel injection has been standard even on the lowest priced car sold in India, in this case the Tata Nano.