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Sitting safe, driving comfortably

On the way to work this morning I felt really comfortable sitting in my car.  The ergonomic design of my car makes driving a pleasure, but this wasn't the reason why I was feeling comfortable.   

The answer is simple. I felt safe. Safe because the car I was driving is a safe car. A car that has been put through tests by independent experts to make sure it adhered to minimum safety standards.  But there's more. Meeting minimum safety standards isn't the end goal for automakers in Europe.They want customers to know that their models are amongst the best in class.  This creates a competitive, transparent market, where safety information is in the public domain.  

It is not the same everywhere.  Not every person has the same opportunities as me to drive a safe car as standard and feel comfortable. A new piece of research by safety charity Global NCAP,  which promotes and conducts independent research and testing programmes to assess the safety and environmental characteristics of cars, shone a bright safety light on some of India's most popular and new models.

The results make uncomfortable reading. The Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon all showed low levels of adult occupant protection. As an illustration: the Kwid was tested in three versions, including one with airbags, but each was rated as zero star for adult safety. Renault came in for criticism from David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP. 

“The latest SaferCarsforIndia results show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable in a crash. This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety together with fitment at least of front air bags. It is surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature," he said.

I imagine that Ward's comments made Renault executives feel rather uncomfortable. He didn't stop there. "Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard."

What do you think?  Should there be minimum global standards that automaker should adhere too? What should they be and how would they be enforced? There are a couple of other points for the fleet community to think about here too 

Firstly, in emerging markets, fleet leaders struggle to get information. So independent testing from reputable bodies has a value in our fleet decision making. This data is worth sharing with colleagues around the world about anything to do with cars in that market has a value. Here's the link to share with your fleet colleagues working in Asia.

Secondly, this time it is a question, should we, as a fleet community, be pressing manufacturers to sign up to minimum voluntary safety standards?  A tough questions, but safety is a tough issue. 

Let me know what you think!


Steven Schoefs06-15-201615:25

Comments
andrzej.sacha_1848's picture

Submitted by andrzej.sacha_1848 on Wed, 2016-09-14 12:10
Clearly it is in the interest of everyone to have safe cars to drive. Not only for the occupants of the vehicle but also of those around in other cars and pedestrians. For the big fleets like those of CocaCola , Nestle and the Pharma companies , they already have well established safety standards for there vehicles that the markets in Asia need to follow. In fact, I would argue that western companies are setting the safety trend in the developing markets. However, here is where the issue is , even though the Indian market is growing by 10% pa , for the average Indian, a car is still very much a luxury, so the mass market is very price sensitive towards certain features and unfortunately safety is still not appreciated as being worth paying for yet. So unless the OEMs all agree to standardise on a safety level , you will continue to experience the issues highlighted in the GNCAP report that highlighted by Steven. Not an ideal situation, but as time goes by and the economies become more affluent so will the safety levels of the vehicles and people will demand safety in the vehicles. I would argue, developing countries will follow similarly to those of the developed world , I was recently watching an episode of Quincy ME from the 1980's and here you have a medical examiner who is driving around Los Angeles without any view of using a seat belt . It just shows how quickly safety has come along. We all need to work on this , but this has to be driven by the populas at large and governments , so i would argue that more influence needs to be directed at the Government agencies. Unfortunately, those in Government already drive or get driven in safe cars.
andrzej.sacha_1848's picture

Submitted by andrzej.sacha_1848 on Thu, 2016-09-15 09:17
Since I wrote the comment to Stevens Blog , I read that Toyota India ( Toyota Kirloskar Motor ) has started offering all of its vehicles in India with anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) as standard across its portfolio of models. But there is a catch, prices will rise. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this move. Anyhow, safety is not only with the OEM's, it has to be across society and government. Having safe cars does not necessary help if the road are dreadful or peoples behaviours and actions are unreasonable.

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