Govt asks automakers to stop selling vehicles with downgraded safety standards

The government on Tuesday expressed concern over reports that automobile manufacturers are selling vehicles with purposefully downgraded safety standards in India and asked them to stop the ‘unpardonable’ practice.

  Speaking at a seminar on implementation of vehicle location tracking devices in order to enhance the safety on road, organised by auto industry body SIAM, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Secretary Giridhar Aramane also noted that only a few manufacturers have adopted vehicle safety ratings system and that too used only for their high-end models. “I am deeply perturbed by some news items that Indian models are purposefully downgraded by auto manufacturers’ safety standards in India. This practice needs to be stopped…,” he said.

Stating that the vehicle makers play the most significant role in road safety, Aramane said,”…Auto manufacturers could not spare any efforts in offering the best quality vehicle in India and it is unpardonable that few of them are downgrading to sell in India.”

He further said, “Also (I am) very disturbed by the fact that very few have adopted the safety ratings system which is used by very few manufacturers for their high-end models.”

Aramane suggested that maybe it is essential for all the auto manufacturers to get safety ratings for all their vehicles “to ensure that the consumers are aware of what they are buying and what its implications are.”

Over the past few years vehicle safety group Global NCAP, under its safer cars for India campaign had found in various tests that some models sold in India were found to have inferior safety ratings as compared to the export version of the same model sold especially in developed markets.

Citing the example of the US and India, he said, “In the US, approximately 36,560 died in 2018 in about 45 lakh accidents. Whereas, 1.5 lakh died in only 4.5 lakh road accidents in India. Number of accidents is ten times less but the number of deaths in India is around five times and this fatality is despite having slower cars and slower roads in India.”