Five Indian made hatchbacks failed the Global NCAP crash tests. Cars like the VW Polo, which are considered to be well built failed alongside the ones you know aren't up there yet. All the cars crashed were base models and none of these cars had airbags.
Now, watch the video of a VW Polo fitted with dual front airbags go through the same crash test. Yes, it's on YouTube. That car scored four stars and is probably the real reason why VW recently started offering dual front airbags on all variants of the Polo. Nice move VW!
Now, at this crash test, representatives of these manufacturers were present and some say that their cars meet all Indian crash regulations. Pah! I'm willing to bet no car can meet real Indian crash regulations.
I'll bet no motorised vehicle this side of a battle tank can pull off the avoid cow, miss the cyclist, close shave with the bus and swerve between the illegal hoarding posts to safety test.
The point here is, I don't think we should stop buying Indian small cars because of the Global NCAP results. Yes, the tests are a good, widely respected indication of how a car behaves when it runs into an offset obstacle at 64kph but the truth is, accidents are very dynamic making it difficult to predict the outcome.
You might get away unscathed from a multi-car pile-up simply because your car came to a halt at a certain angle, placing it at the best possible position for its particular crash structure to absorb forces. It's as simple as that and as complicated at the same time.
Another point to be made here. We should send the Indian driving license test to NCAP. Im sure it'll fail the test spectacularly as well.
I mention it because I've been driving all over the country for the past ten years and I can confidently say that the general standard of driving has gone from dismal to disastrous. Who's teaching all those buffoons to use their hazards at the first sign of rain? Who's telling people it is ok to drive on the wrong side of an expressway? Fact is, no one is. No one is teaching anyone anything. Not least the RTO. Why go to school when you can buy your certificate right?
That mentality is exactly what we have to change if we want to improve road safety. Oh, and spend money on airbags.