Go's 'zero' rating: Datsun SA answers

2014-11-07 09:48

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.


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."


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.


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
Tata Nano
Ford Figo
Hyundai i10
Volkswagen Polo


  • steven.makhubo - 2014-11-07 09:59

    Ouch this is not good news at all

      Adrian Bruwer - 2014-11-07 10:21

      Told you so, he he. It's a low-budget rubbish vehicle. 3 cylinders, no ABS breaks, no airbags, no power steering..

      Jak Keyter - 2014-11-07 11:41

      So you want BMW-class safety in a R90k car? Let's not be unrealistic. If you buy a new car for under R100k, (unfortunately) you shouldn't expect too much.

      Neil Masson - 2014-11-07 13:06

      Jak Keyter - BMW is no standard for passive safety, Subaru and Volvo are way ahead in this discipline.

      Neil Masson - 2014-11-07 13:50

      Wassabi, prove me wrong.

      paul.gertzen - 2014-11-07 14:35

      Neil agreed, you want proper safety buy a Renault, google before you thumbs down. Too bad they did not enforce this on their Nissan/Datsun sibling

      Neil Masson - 2014-11-07 14:43

      Magnus, Yes Renault are up there but not the leaders. (7 Years ago they were on the podium.) At the moment its a tussle with Subaru and Volvo. Subaru the only manufacturer with every vehicle in its lineup as IIHS Safety Plus picks (IIHS has the most comprehensive and stringent crash tests in the world)

      Shaun Malambo - 2014-11-08 01:40

      Add the cheaply made Toyota Etios to the list as well. Yet another Indian made vehicle sold on South Africa with no Euroncap rating.

  • Delwyn John Kruger - 2014-11-07 10:03

    "Safety is an important and key issue in India." BWAAHH HAA HAA!! That is Hilarious!!!

  • Andile Mehlonyosi - 2014-11-07 10:16

    Bad news indeed

  • Sejouse Freedom - 2014-11-07 10:36

    India China South Africa Whatever happened to SABS approval? Oh wait... India? Ahh wait. That's the country so much of our technology is being invested in? Technology and money which should be invested locally? Again... Gupta? Zuma? How many business interests does the Zuma family have in India?

      Tobie Schalkwyk - 2014-11-07 11:39

      I must admit I'd rather have business interests in India than in South Africa (as far as the car industry is concerned) where the unions are driving the country down the drain!

      Sejouse Freedom - 2014-11-07 12:29

      You obviously don't know. Here's a tip. Read more financial news. Become educated. Have a nice day.

  • Laurence Weyers - 2014-11-07 10:44

    Didn't the guys from Top Gear design this car?

  • Tawanda Murimirwa - 2014-11-07 10:48

    I remember the Datsun 120y from the 80's. It's only safety feature was the steel body.

  • Lawrie Sathekge - 2014-11-07 10:52

    is just that South Africans are very vulnerable we shouldnt trading with countries like India everything they produce is of lesser value,just like copy cats China

      Lawrie Sathekge - 2014-11-07 11:15

      Defending india my foot,tell me onething that coutry brought in SA of higher standard except cash?

  • Jaco Steenkamp - 2014-11-07 10:55

    Death trap on wheels

  • Lawrence Robert Atkinson - 2014-11-07 11:04

    This is another Uno. You don't need a coffin, the car becomes your coffin. Lucky most Uno's have gone, used as coffins fire their owners and their family.

  • Johan Kotze - 2014-11-07 11:04

    What a disastrous introduction to a once great brand. That was a long time ago like most things.

  • Jaco Nel - 2014-11-07 11:07

    ja but it's cheap. i'm going to get one. just dont crash.

      Oppie Koppie - 2014-11-07 11:23

      I would rather buy a used car for 90K with all safety and comfort features. My life and that of my families takes priority. Wish you would give more value to yours.

      Kwashirai Chigodora - 2014-11-09 10:52

      how you going to stop idiots crashing into you?

  • Erik Kasper Van Wyk - 2014-11-07 11:07

    "seat comfort and reduced motion sickness" at least you wont be puking when the metal shell wraps around your head during a collision. Its very temping knowing you can purchase a brand new vehicle for that type of money but sometimes you just have to know better.

  • Umesh O J Mahadeo - 2014-11-07 11:19

    This is a solution to our political woes, DATSUN please donate 1 to every ANC member and supporter

  • Phillip du Plessis - 2014-11-07 11:21

    Will never buy or recommend someone to buy this car..

  • Nick van den Berg - 2014-11-07 11:25

    80% of cars on our roads dont have airbags nore abs. My bantam and corsa dont have. We survived 60years without this money making schemes. We can for a further 160 years.

      Oppie Koppie - 2014-11-07 11:31

      Really now. We survived without so much more too. Should we apply the same logic. 60 years ago didnt have as many cars on.the road either. The risks have changed. We need to evolve.

      shaun.terbruggen - 2014-11-08 09:32

      Pray tell how many serious accidents have you had in said Bantam and Corsa and lived to tell the tale. If you are not involved in an accident, even a car made of cardboard is as safe as houses, dude.

  • Rod Glod - 2014-11-07 11:45

    Buy one for your kid or wife..NOT!!!!

  • Viman Singh - 2014-11-07 11:57

    Lawrie, you about the thickest dom person here. Datsun is not an indian vehicle. India also wants it out.

  • Karl Van Heerden - 2014-11-07 12:29

    Ok News 24, let us see how balanced your reviews are. Please also place the clips of the other budget cars that you mentioned failed the test.....

  • Leon Schnell - 2014-11-07 13:23

    You have to feel sorry for Datsun actually. Manufacturers make cheap rubbish products all the time, and we just live with it. You might complain if your R100 kettle stops working, but ultimately nobody died because of it. Car safety is a far more emotive issue, because the costs of cars' failings are more directly felt and far more dire. It's a slippery slope though, because if we force all car manufacturers to produce 'safe' cars, are we also going to force all manufacturers of cheap knives to ensure that people cannot stab themselves during a catastrophic failure of the handle? Ultimately then ... sorry Datsun, your car is rubbish, but it's not your fault. You designed it to be as cheap as possible, and it's still the buyer's responsibility. What I disagree with is the car manufacturers calling patently unsafe cars 'safe' in their marketing materials, so we may well need proper independent ratings of all cars' safety included on their windscreens right there alongside their fuel consumption (even though that's still faked sometimes). If you the consumer then buy a cheap car with a Z- safety rating, you only have yourself to blame when the inevitable happens. At least you didn't get conned into believing a marketing scam, with no legal recourse.

  • Sabs Mzuku - 2014-11-07 13:43

    Does it have safety belts? i'm sure the brake pedals are optional.. #gags

  • tantehildegard - 2014-11-07 13:48

    Datsun, shmatsun. Even the Indian dustbin of Volkswagen's Polo scored zero, zippo, no points. Significance for the Western perspective on less wealthy countries? I guess so.

  • Author English - 2014-11-07 13:49

    i had a vw polo classic (old shape), no abs, no airbags, no side impact bars, it was a straight forward plain and simple car the way i like it. I hit a still standing jeep on the highway at 60km/h and walked away without even a scratch. Try that in a chev spark with all its ''safety'' features and you will come off second best. All these so called safety features are pretty useless if the car itself disintegrates or at high speed.

  • shaun.terbruggen - 2014-11-08 06:09

    Slow down to a mild panic folks. Although Figo, Brio and Polo are manufactured in India, SA gets HIGHER specced versions than are available in India. The above 3 all arrive in SA with 2 airbags and ABS as standard equipment.

      Kwashirai Chigodora - 2014-11-09 10:57

      AND are designed and made to the specs of cars that passed crash tests! People must also not confuse safety spec for crash test passing. This car failes because its passenger shell collapses terribly. not just because it doesnt have ABS or airbags. What good is an airbag when everything is imploding or exploding?

  • Colin Ashby - 2014-11-08 06:45

    no go fo me

  • Kwashirai Chigodora - 2014-11-09 11:01

    PEOPLE! this car failed largely due to the terror of its collapsing passenger shell in a crash. lets not try to justify thias rubbish by mentioning cars that dont have airbags and abs whereas some of those actually scored high marks for passenger protection in crashes. Figo, Brio and Polo did not collapse on their passengers in car crash tests. This one is a death trap ... period. leave the others out of it. No excuses. Gohn must just resign his other CEO posts to another and stop being superman who produces rubbish cars!

  • Jonathan Ellway - 2014-12-08 10:52

    0 marks on NCAP crash testing - Nissan what are you doing???????

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