In what could be a major step-up for carmakers, Nitin Gadkari, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, has asked all private vehicle manufacturers to include a minimum of 6 airbags across all variants and segments.
Some time ago, when the government of India asked carmakers to up the safety by mandating airbags and ABS, it was a significant move. The rule was to make cars safer in India. Now, Nitin Gadkari, the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister, has asked all private vehicle manufacturers to integrate a minimum of six airbags across all variants and segments within a year.
While this is a big step for carmakers, Express Drives reached out to carmakers to listen to what they have to say. Some declined to comment, while others wanted time. However, this was not the scene with automotive component manufacturers, and Continental shared its opinion.
Continental’s Head of Passive Safety and Sensorics business unit, Sukhdeep Sandhu, said, “A proposal by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Hon’ble Minister of Road Transport and Highways, urging passenger car manufacturers in India to provide a minimum of six airbags across all variants and segments would increase the overall safety standards of the vehicle, and it is a step in the right direction. This proposal shows the intent of the government to improve the safety of the occupants in case of a crash. The number of fatalities in road accidents is a critical issue facing the Indian auto industry. As an ambassador of Vision Zero – Zero Fatalities. Zero Injuries. Zero Crashes, Continental has always believed in ‘safety is for all.’
“A driver airbag had become compulsory for all passenger vehicles from July 1, 2019. Earlier this year, the government-mandated airbags in all new cars for the passenger seated at the front seat of a vehicle, next to the driver. We hope that many such safety standards are considered as a part of the safety mandate in the future. The increased safety content as a standard feature in vehicles will boost R&D and manufacturing in the country, paving the way for more affordable solutions in the market.”
“We have always taken an ‘In the Market, For the Market’ approach. In 2019, we added a new assembly line to manufacture airbag control units (ACUs) at our Bangalore plant. We have also invested in other safety technologies like Wheel Speed Sensors, anti-lock braking systems (ABS), and electronic stability control (ESC) in India, as the focus towards safety increases in the country. We have already achieved a milestone of 50 million wheel speed sensors at our Manesar plant in 2020.”
For car manufacturers, implementing 6 airbags is a cost concern and adding extra safety equipment will make the cars heavier, affecting the fuel economy. Apart from this, carmakers should find a way to implement 6 airbags as many components would need some sort of redesigning.
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