Maruti Suzuki, India’s leading car manufacturer in terms of volume, has unveiled a significant development: the company plans to subject three of its most popular vehicle models to rigorous crash safety evaluations under the updated Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat NCAP). The esteemed automaker has announced its decision to submit the widely-acclaimed Baleno premium hatchback, the compact Brezza SUV, and the immensely popular Grand Vitara mid-size SUV for comprehensive crash testing as part of this novel program.
Rahul Bharti, Maruti Suzuki India’s Executive Officer of Corporate Affairs, shared insights on this pivotal announcement, highlighting the pivotal role of the Bharat NCAP system in enhancing customer awareness regarding safety standards. He affirmed that every vehicle introduced in the Indian market complies with the mandated safety regulations stipulated by the government, ensuring their inherent safety. Moreover, he underscored the value of Bharat NCAP’s impartial and credible rating mechanism, which aids customers in making well-informed decisions, particularly for those seeking enhanced safety features.
Embracing the Indian government’s initiative, the Maruti official expressed the brand’s commitment to contribute positively. He revealed that Maruti Suzuki intends to initiate the process by presenting a minimum of three models for the inaugural round of Bharat NCAP evaluations. In a dedicated appeal to the public, Bharti emphasized the paramount importance of seatbelt usage for all occupants, irrespective of their seating arrangement, as this remains a pivotal determinant of ensuring personal safety on the roads.
What is Bharat NCAP?
For those who may not be familiar with the recently launched Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat NCAP), this is a strategic initiative introduced by the Indian government to elevate and uphold vehicle safety standards within the M1 vehicle category, encompassing vehicles with a weight of up to 3,500 kg. This category encompasses passenger vehicles equipped with a maximum of eight seats, in addition to the driver’s seat. The imminent commencement of the program’s crash testing phase is scheduled for October 1, 2023, and its oversight will be managed by the esteemed Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT).
Bharat NCAP is meticulously structured to assess base variants of various car models across three crucial dimensions: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, and safety assist technologies. The assessment procedure is slated to encompass stringent crash tests, spanning frontal impact, side impact, and pole side impact evaluations, each conducted at specific velocities: 64 km/h for frontal impact, 50 km/h for side impact, and 29 km/h for pole side impact. Through these comprehensive evaluations, vehicles will be granted star ratings that range from one to five, serving as indicators of their overall safety performance.
The overarching objective of Bharat NCAP is to incentivize automobile manufacturers to prioritize and enhance vehicle safety measures. This initiative is poised to play a pivotal role in substantially elevating the safety quotient of automobiles on Indian roads.
In alignment with the program’s stipulations, car manufacturers and importers will be required to submit applications via FORM 70-A to the designated regulatory body responsible for testing. Notably, the presence of safety features such as the Electronic Stability Program (ESP), pedestrian protection, and seat belt reminders will significantly contribute to the resulting safety ratings of vehicles. While electric vehicles are not currently encompassed within the program’s purview, there are plans underway to integrate electric vehicles into the ambit of Bharat NCAP in the future, further underscoring its commitment to advancing automotive safety standards.