Global NCAP Raises Concerns over India’s SUV Obsession

NCAP cheif says say no to SUVs

In recent years, SUVs have seen a surge in demand in all parts of the globe. However, the Indian automotive market has witnessed an even more significant surge in the popularity of SUVs. Now, amidst this trend, concerns have been raised recently regarding the safety implications of promoting SUV sales. This particular sentiment was shared by David Ward, the Chief of Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme).

Global NCAP Raises Concerns over India’s SUV Obsession

India should discourage SUV sales

David Ward, in an interview with media outlets, stated that the escalating trend of SUV sales in India is not ideal. He stated that India should not repeat the mistakes made by the United States in excessively promoting these vehicles. Ward also emphasized the heightened risks SUVs pose to pedestrians due to their higher bonnets.

He added that SUVs result in more severe upper body injuries in the event of a collision compared to conventional hatchbacks and sedans. During the Global Road Safety Initiative meeting organized by the Institute of Road Traffic Education, Ward highlighted the need to address the risks associated with SUVs.

He pointed out that the surge in SUV sales, coupled with low traffic awareness in India, could significantly impact road safety. Ward stated that this is especially dangerous for pedestrians and smaller vehicles.

Key highlights from Ward

Global NCAP Raises Concerns over India’s SUV Obsession

One of the key concerns raised by Ward is the disproportionately high number of pedestrian fatalities in collisions involving SUVs. He emphasized that the design features of SUVs have a lot to do with this issue. Ward stated that higher bonnet positions of SUVs contribute to the severity of injuries sustained by pedestrians.

Additionally, Ward appealed to governments to take proactive measures to discourage the sales of SUVs with higher bonnets. He stressed the importance of prioritizing road safety. The NCAP Chief also added that implementing policies that promote safer vehicle designs and usage practices should be promoted.

Ward’s warnings are particularly significant in the context of India’s road safety challenges. With nearly 1 lakh out of the total 1.68 lakh road accident fatalities in 2022 involving two-wheeler riders and pedestrians, there is an urgent need for targeted interventions to improve road safety.

SUV has become the most popular segment

Global NCAP Raises Concerns over India’s SUV Obsession

However, despite the concerns raised by Ward and the Global NCAP, SUVs continue to experience a surge in popularity among Indian car buyers. The rapid increase in sales of compact and midsize SUVs has led to a decline in the sales of entry-level hatchbacks and compact sedans, as buyers increasingly opt for SUVs, even stretching their budgets to afford them.

Additionally, as a response to the growing demand for SUVs, almost each and every car manufacturer is capitalizing on this trend by introducing more models across SUV segments. They are launching micro-SUVs and sub-compact SUVs at prices comparable to conventional hatchbacks.