Customers should be given the option of choosing the safety features they prefer for their new car even if it’s a base variant.
BHPian anjan_c2007 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
In India, during the last five years, a few safety features have been made mandatory apart from the existing ones. These include dual front airbags, seat belt alerts, speed alerts, ABS, and rear parking sensors.
The government needs to reduce GST on car safety devices and features to make these more affordable rather than always shout from the rooftops that we are losing 150,000 or more lives every year due to road accidents. Sermons come by too easily but “walking the talk” is more preferable.
Safety features like four/six or more airbags, EBD, seat belt tensioners, collision warning, tyre pressure monitoring system, adaptive cruise control, hill start assist feature, adaptive headlights, electronic stability control, ISOFIX for child safety seats, driver alert system and more are provided by some car makers in their higher to top variants.
Toyota has since 2016 made ABS and EBD standard safety features in all its cars.
The hoopla by our Transport Minister over six airbags being made mandatory for each and every car manufactured and sold in India since the Cyrus Mistry accident has faded almost into oblivion as of now. The Transport Minister has clarified while inaugurating the Auto Expo 2023 that car makers need to, on their own add safety features including more airbags, but the government will not make them mandatory.
As a rule, car makers link the top variants with the maximum safety features available in their bin for that model. These command a much higher premium over the base model and also come with lots of bells and whistles of the loaded kind.
The point to be made clear here is that I may not prefer those ornamental bells and whistles that come with the top variant. But I would very much like to buy a base variant that has more safety features. I would be interested in the best safety features in my base or base +1/2/3 model/s.
Hence, safety features provided or opted for, need to be totally de-linked with top variants. Whatever safety features are available in the bin for a particular model of the carmaker need to be made optionally made available for the entire range of that particular model. The customer needs to be given the option of choosing the safety features he prefers for his new car. For instance, if one buys a base variant and prefers six airbags his requirement needs to be catered to by the carmaker if the top variant also comes with six airbags.
Such options may play spoilsport for car makers with their top variant sales figures that in turn are linked with their turnover and profits. They need to go by their conscience and ask themselves how many precious lives could be saved by them with such a decision. And their larger margins earned through very good safety device sales could very well indemnify their losses due to lower top variant sales.
Here’s what GTO had to say about the matter:
ABS has been made compulsory in India, along with a driver-side airbag, seatbelt reminder, 80 / 120 kmph speed warnings & rear parking sensors. The government is moving in the right direction.
- Make ESP compulsory, like in the USA, Canada & EU for approximately 10 years. I know this will happen soon. ESP can be a lifesaver in an emergency driving condition and is easier to implement on existing cars than 6 airbags.
- 6 airbags compulsory. This was already planned for Oct 2022 but has been pushed down to 2023 to give manufacturers time to modify their cars, arrange supplies, chips etc. Oct 2023 still looks a bit optimistic to me, although it will happen sometime for sure.
Points 1 & 2 are not a matter of “if”; it’s a matter of “when”.
Here’s what BHPian JoshMachine had to say about the matter:
Beyond a point, I believe the “economics” of safety comes into the picture. There’s also the so-called perception of differentiation among variants and models. Hence the manufacturers get inclined to offer the very best of safety in only the very top-end models.
But as pointed out by others, the Govt has indeed taken some right steps in this direction. And this is likely to continue with Bharat NCAP also joining this mandatory safety regimen.
Hoping conversations like the one below will be a thing of the past soon:
Here’s what BHPian McLaren Rulez had to say about the matter:
Indeed, this is the correct rule that the government should enact. If any version of the car has six airbags, so should every version. Similar stuff for rear wash and wipe, three-point seatbelts, etc.
It’s pretty annoying to have to shell out extra for a stupid glass roof or an air purifier if I want a safe car.
Here’s what BHPian Rajeevraj had to say about the matter:
I think there has been significant movement in this space. There was a time even ~5-6 years back when even 2 airbags were only available in the top model. Entry cars did not even have Airbags/ABS. Now, of course, due to the law, even entry cars have 1/2 airbags and as you the next segment and above, things like dual airbags/ABS etc have become standard. A lot of models give 4/6 airbags, ABS, ESP, Hill Assist, Hill Hold and a bunch of other things across the range or in the worst case at least in both mid and top variants.
So we are at a stage where the base safety features are available across the range for pretty much all vehicles and starting in the B segment, most models have all offered safety features on the majority of the variants. That is significant progress in a country where safety features have never traditionally been a priority.
Still a long way to go, but in my view, we have moved past the stage where safety features are focused only on the top variants.
Of course, the other aspect is that the features themselves are evolving, new safety features are coming up and they first need to trickle through to the mass segment and then become a standard. ADAS can be taken as an example. It has just come into the mass segment, currently, only a top-end feature and will take time to become standard. If such features are accelerated or made optional extras, it will benefit customers a great deal.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
Source: Read Full Article