Global NCAP today hit out at Bajaj Auto for making ‘misleading’ claims of better safety standards of the company’s quadricycle Qute than some popular compact cars sold in India based on crash test results done by the UK-based vehicle safety group. An independent charity focused on consumer-orientated vehicle safety initiatives, Global NCAP also said although it has given a one-star rating for quadricycles to Bajaj Qute, the vehicle does not perform well and there is a “likelihood of severe or fatal head and chest injuries”. In a letter written to Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj, Global NCAP Secretary General David Ward said: “It is also very disappointing to read that Bajaj was also reported to be making comparisons between Global NCAP’s tests of Indian passenger cars suggesting that the Qute had performed better than cars with a zero-star result.
To make such a comparison is misleading and wrong.” He further said: “The Euro NCAP quadricycle test uses a full frontal impact at 50 km/h whereas Global NCAP’s passenger car tests use a 40 per cent overlap impact at 64 km/h. The latter is a much tougher test and should not be used as a relevant comparison.” Yesterday, in a statement, Bajaj Auto said: “…in a recent Euro NCAP report, the Bajaj Qute was accorded a 1 (one) star rating, superior to the 0 (zero) star rating of popular cars including the VW Polo, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10, Maruti Alto, and Tata Nano.” On the safety of Bajaj Auto’s quadricycle Qute, which is yet to be launched in India but exported to some international markets, Ward said: “Although the one star awarded to the Qute was a slightly better result than some of the other vehicles tested, Euro NCAP stressed that your product does not perform well. They revealed a likelihood of severe or fatal head and chest injuries.” Euro NCAP recommends limiting the speed of the vehicle and also proposes potential improvements (including fitment of a three point inertia real seat belt and an airbag) which Global NCAP strongly encourages Bajaj to adopt as a matter of urgency, he added.
While acknowledging the Indian firm’s efforts to develop products for the global automotive market, Ward said the issue of quadricycle safety and the lack of appropriate regulatory international standards are very serious issues. “It certainly does not help when companies from this sector make exaggerated claims about their products safety or misunderstand the differences between crash tests carried out by independent consumer testing programmes,” he said. If Bajaj follows Euro NCAP’s recommendations, Bajaj has the potential to be a world-class leader in promoting quadricycles that provide levels of safety equivalent to passenger cars that meet minimum United Nation’s crash test standards, Ward said in his letter. “I would respectfully encourage Bajaj to follow this path which is more likely to attract customer support than ignoring the safety deficiencies highlighted by Euro NCAP’s recent tests,” he said.