Safety body asks Nissan Motors to withdraw Datsun GO from India over poor safety ratings

Consumer safety testing body Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) has called on  Nissan Motors to immediately withdraw its compact car Datsun GO from the Indian market, terming it as 'substandard'.

The missive from NCAP follows the latest crash test results of the #SaferCarsforIndia campaign, released by Global NCAP in Delhi on Monday, which show that Nissan's Datsun Go received a zero-star safety rating.

The vehicle structure collapsed and was rated unstable during the test. The high forces placed on the crash test dummies pose a grave risk of death or serious injury. The Go's body shell is so unstable that it would be pointless to include airbags in the car.

It also failed to clear a number of critical safety tests.

Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley wrote in a letter to Nissan chairman and CEO and asked for an ''urgent withdrawal of the Datsun GO from the Indian and related markets.''

''It is extremely disappointing that Nissan has authorised the launch of a brand new model that is so clearly substandard. As presently engineered, the Datsun GO will certainly fail to pass the United Nation's frontal impact regulation.

''In these circumstances I would urge Nissan to withdraw the Datsun GO from sale in India pending an urgent redesign of the car's body-shell,'' Mosley said.

He added, the application of the UN's minimum crash test standards to all passenger car production worldwide was a key recommendation of the Global Plan for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety.

In the test, the Datsun GO scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and only two stars for child occupant protection. The vehicle structure of the car collapsed in the crash and was rated as unstable.

Similarly, NCAP also also rated the Maruti's Swift at zero stars for adult occupant protection and just one star for child occupant protection. It said, the Swift's vehicle structure showed signs of collapsing in the crash and was rated as unstable. The car's lack of standard-fit airbags meant that the driver's head makes direct contact with the steering wheel – the dummy readings indicate a high probability of life threatening injuries.

However, on Tuesday Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) rushed to the defence of Maruti Suzuki and Nissan and said car makers in India met the country's safety norms, The Times of India reported.

Lashing out at Global NCAP SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur accused it of scaremongering.

He said on Wednesday that every country had its own safety requirements and Indian cars met the safety norms set by the government.

Global NCAP, in January 2014 published crash test results for five of India's best-known cars - the Suzuki Maruti Alto 800, the Hyundai i10, the Ford Figo, the Volkswagen Polo, and the Tata Nano.

The models all received zero-star adult protection ratings and Volkswagen later decided to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard, which subsequently received a four-star safety rating.