CRASH TEST FAIL: An image released by the Global NCAP shows the Datsun GO failing its front impact safety test. Image: Global NCAP
Update: Wheels24 has added links to crash test footage of the models referred to by the Global NCAP. You'll find them at the end of this article.
NEW DELHI, India - A global car-safety watchdog has called on Nissan to immediately withdraw its Datsun Go model from the Indian market because it scored zero in tests for basic safety features. The car was launched locally in October 2014 and Wheels24 contacted Datsun SA for comment and the company's responses to our questions are at the end of this news item.
The crash test results of the #SaferCarsforIndia campaign, released by vehicle safety watchdog Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), were published on November 3.
'GRAVE RISK OF DEATH'
Global NCAP said in a post on its website: "The vehicle structure collapsed and was rated unstable during the test. The high forces placed on the crash test dummies posed a grave risk of death or serious injury.
“The Go's bodyshell is so unstable that it would be pointless to include airbags in the car." There are none in the South African units.
WATCH the Datsun Go crash-test video!
Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley, former FIA president, has written to Nissan chairman and chief executive officer, Carlos Ghosn, calling for an urgent withdrawal of the Datsun Go from India and related markets, the post said.
Mosley said: "It is extremely disappointing that Nissan has authorised the launch of a brand-new model that is so clearly sub-standard. As presently engineered, the Datsun Go will certainly fail to pass the United Nation's frontal impact regulation."
Vijayendra Vikram Singh, spokesman for Nissan India, said it had not received the letter so had no comment.
Singh said the Datsun Go met the minimum required vehicle regulations in India and added: "Safety is an important and key issue in India."
POOR VEHICLE SAFETY IN INDIA
Automobile industry-watchers say international car companies often follow less-rigorous safety requirements at their manufacturing units in developing countries but say they comply with local regulations.
In January 2014 five top-selling small cars failed the first Global NCAP crash tests for Indian cars. They were India's best-selling Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, the Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo.Volkswagen has since decided to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard and the car has received a four-star safety rating from Global NCAP.
DATSUN SA RESPONDS
The Datsun Go is available in SA in two versions - an entry-level unit priced at R89 500 and a R99 500 variant. Neither is available with airbags or anti-lock brakes, not even as an option. Datsun told Wheels24 it planned to review these (and other) safety features in the near future as part of a model upgrade.
Wheels24 contacted Datsun South Africa's general manager, Des Fenner, for comment on whether the GNCAP results would affect local buyers/owners:
Wheels24: Have you received the letter to which GNCAP refers?
Des Fenner: "We have heard from media that a letter has been sent."
W24: What would be Datsun's reaction to the letter?
DF: "We are not ready to provide any comments before we get more information. As previously indicated, we believe road safety is a key concern globally and in India, but is not a fixed or ‘one-for-all’ issue (it differs by countries and evolves through time, as the traffic and society conditions change)."
Fenner said: "Datsun GO meets required local vehicle regulations in India and South Africa and was developed with a strong intention to deliver the best adapted solutions to the local conditions, from best-in-class braking and good visibility to durability, seat comfort and reduced motion sickness – all being taken as a package aiming to decrease potential risk of road accidents.
"Automotive regulation standards in fast-growing countries are constantly evolving and, as a global manufacturer, we may confirm that we are willing to adopt as well as help evolve vehicular safety standards."
Click here for full Datsun Go safety test results
Click on the links below to view Global NCAP Indian model crash tests:
Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800