October 2017 will be the deadline for all car makers in India to meet the minimum crash safety requirements that the Indian government proposes to soon mandate. The deadline will be applicable to all new cars seeking to operate in the Indian market from 2017, including budget options that are built to a tight costs.
By 2018, all existing cars in the Indian market will need to meet the safety standards, which will be introduced soon. In essence, even the likes of the Tata Nano and the Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 will have to meet the new crash safety norms, including the addition of essential safety options such as ABS and Airbags.
The addition of safety features is likely to push up the cost of cars. An official of the road transport ministry in India has made the following observations on the mandatory frontal crash safety test that will be enforced in India,
We will set the minimum standard such as frontal and rear crash test at 56 kmph. Moreover, there will be star rating based on the cars having better safety features. The manufacturers can apply for getting such star rating for safer vehicles.
The car safety landscape in India has been changing rapidly in the past couple of years, with growing spending power of buyers and greater awareness levels leading to higher demand of cars that can be specified with safety features. Also, the slew of NCAP crash safety tests have led to many buyers now actively considering safety features as must haves.
Car industry representatives note that meeting safety standards will not be a problem after the addition of safety features and other reinforcement on existing and new cars for India. Doing so will however, entail a cost increase of the on-road price of the car, which frankly is nothing compared to lives saved in accidents.