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Old 27th January 2009, 07:18   #16
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lets not forget that we as a people are generally 'value seekers'. and frankly the larger majority of us in India can just about manage the downpayment on a car. So in many cases the first priority will always be to save as much money as possible on the vehicle purchase.

And I agree with the statement made here that it is irresponsibility, a certain lack of civic sense and a general lack of education plus a disregard for road rules and road manners that contributes largely to accidents in our country. this last failing - disregard for rules is an affliction that cuts across social levels/ education levels and economic levels as we all know. So lets not be quick to judge and blame the dealers alone for the accidents.
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Old 27th January 2009, 08:44   #17
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I think we cannot blame the dealers here. They are existing to sell cars, and would go to any extent to add that ABS is very useless feature for Indian customers if this leads to one more sold car. It is now upto the customer to decide and demand these features.
Coming down to customers, I think we all know that for an average Indian, its very difficult to have a car, so when he enters the showroom, the salesperson knows what is he looking for. Offer a few freebies ( specially use the word " Free " ) and the deal will be finalized. This problem of mentality goes too much back into history. We can only expect things to improve after the tax structure is overhauled and the general public gets more disciplined. At that time, these features will be in demand by customers and manufacturer will have to adjust accordingly.

This brings me to manufacturers. I think they are to blame equally here. Just to increase sales they end up offering the safety features only on the highest version, which comes with alloys, ICE ( mostly not good ), leather seats, etc. What must be done is that ABS and Airbags must be offered as an option for all the variants that dont have ABS and Airbags as standard equipment. I think there are very small percentage of car buyers who are not interested in leather seats, alloys, etc, but rather would love to have ABS and Airbags for the same money. This is where manufacturers are to be blamed.
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Old 27th January 2009, 16:58   #18
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Would it be a nice thing for the manufacturers to instruct the dealers and sales force to actually promote ABS and air bags, rather than harping on the price factor?

Personally, I would not care for thingies like factory fitted ICE, defoggers remote locking or even electric windows. But is any car in India available with ABS and air bag, but no electric windows? Fact is, you need to buy electric windows if you want AB/ABS on your car.

The blame is rather on manufacturers, who price their variants such that you get AB/ABS only if you take some fancy accessories too. Obviously, the customer too will start thinking hat ABS and AB are luxury accessories.
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Old 27th January 2009, 17:36   #19
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First of all I can't understand the logic of more accidents due to the lack of abs/airbags.

First people must be educated to wear seat belts. Even if a person goes for car with abs and airbags it is totally useless if he/she doesn't wear seat belts. It is a pity that people having the highest degress PG or PhD don't wear the seatbelts. What can the manufacturer or dealers do regarding this ?

I remember around 10 years ago , Ford's ads had foot note requesting occupants to wear seat belts, Hyundai too had like " make every mile safer for you and for others". But manufacturers now don't give any safety message through ads, they boasts about abs/airbags, NCAP ratings etc. but never asks people to wear seat belts.
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Old 27th January 2009, 17:41   #20
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More than Manufacturer or dealer in India it is the large segment of the buyers leaving the safety to GOD!

It is the attitude of large segment of Indian buyers attributing safety to fate saying "if we have to die that way we will die in an accident... " so why to worry much about Air bags!

That is why new Xylo has DDAS to which images of Favourite GOD can be up loaded!
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Old 27th January 2009, 18:06   #21
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The issue is not only with the dealers, it's with lots of the general public too. A year back, we were shopping for a Swift for my Friend. Me and my colleague were with him. I was asking him to go for zxi or a vxi with ABS. The colleague of mine convinces our Friend that it is a waste to pay so much for ABS as we don't need it in Indian Conditions! Unfortunately, I had not come across T-BHP then. He finally bought a Lxi. (Even the Dealer was supporting my colleague that you can buy lxi and fit accessories with the money you save over vxi or zxi)

Last time, when we were on our way to Bangalore during the rains, a bull-dozer cut across without checking the highway traffic and we were doing nearly 100KMPH. We were lucky to have missed it by an inch and was a great sight to see my friend cursing the other fellow for leading him to choose a model without ABS.
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Old 27th January 2009, 18:23   #22
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The other aspect is that an ABS/airbagged car comes on special order which takes a few weeks. The salesman has to fulfill his short term targets hence the pressure to close on something in stock
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Old 27th January 2009, 18:35   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vinayasurya View Post
1) First of all I can't understand the logic of more accidents due to the lack of abs/airbags.

2) First people must be educated to wear seat belts. Even if a person goes for car with abs and airbags it is totally useless if he/she doesn't wear seat belts. It is a pity that people having the highest degress PG or PhD don't wear the seatbelts. What can the manufacturer or dealers do regarding this ?

3) I remember around 10 years ago , Ford's ads had foot note requesting occupants to wear seat belts, Hyundai too had like " make every mile safer for you and for others". But manufacturers now ...
1) ABS reduces braking distance on a high grip surface. And in situations where grip is less, ABS actually increases braking distance but with ABS you dont lose control over vehicle. So we can safely assume that ABS decreases chances of accidents. Airbags are passive safety equipments and ABS comes under Active safety.

2) Completely agree with you here. In fact if the car is equipped with Airbags and if the person is not wearing seat belts, then the results can be fatal. If the car has airbags, belts are must or else the airbags do the job exactly opposite to what it is designed for, i.e. airbags can prove fatal. The airbags have a very rapid inflating rate and this is very dangerous without belts. This remains a very grim situation. I have seen people even in Landcuriser Prado not wearing belt and a kid sitting in mom's lap in front seat.

3) Now a days, mostly all manufacturers have all the stuff written in manual, if people care to read the manual carefully. I remember that even in our 1992 Maruti 800 manual, there is mention of seat belts.
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Old 27th January 2009, 20:18   #24
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Wow, I really seem to have opened up a topic that so many people have opinions about. Kudos to everyone who has taken time out to actually express their views here, and I'm glad to see that so many people have agreed with my perspective.
Well the point is, I can see that some people have actually had experiences which have proven that safety features help to keep you as secure as possible. though as someone said that they dont rule out a chance of an accident, but then again they are necessary to make sure that in the event of an accident you minimize the fatalities involved.
On the point of seatbelt education - there was a big article in times of india the other day about how an airbag can actually paralyze you by displacing your vertebrae if your not wearing a seatbelt when it is engaged. Again, I think that as members of such a big public forum, we should all take it into our hands to educate other people who may not know so much about cars, and also over confident people who know a lot and believe they are skilled enough drivers to tackle any kind of accident situation. It comes to my mind that in school I had done a big project on safety through seatbelts, and studies way back in 2003-2004 itself showed that seatbelt usage reduced accident deaths by upto 55%.
Not to forget that if we come across people of any kind, be it dealers or consumers who pass out wrong information regarding the "non" necessity of safety features in a car, we should definitely make it a point to let them know how wrong they are.
At the end of the day, the reason why manufacturers keep doing what they are doing now is probably because they have given up on the people on the roads these days. Its taken for granted that indian people lack discipline on roads and instead of doing the right thing by adding more safety to cars, they end up playing with the minds of people buying a car in terms of the budget that they have. Manufacturers will not change until and unless we responsible people take it into our hands to first be disciplined ourselves, and then make it a point to spread awareness to others.
I know I might be sounding preachy, but I still have not overcome the shock of what my friend told me yesterday regarding the dealers comment on how safety features are "not necessary in indian conditions". What was even more sad was that he hd actually managed to convince my friend regarding it to some degree. I had a similar experience when I was buying my verna, and I insisted very strongly that we go for the abs. Thanks to my dad who readily agreed that a further investment of 20k or more is not a big deal when you take someones life into account. I hope this thread will serve as a platform for people to educate themselves more about not only personal safety, but safety of others on the road as well.

Last edited by pras.oct25 : 27th January 2009 at 20:34.
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Old 27th January 2009, 20:24   #25
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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
The other aspect is that an ABS/airbagged car comes on special order which takes a few weeks. The salesman has to fulfill his short term targets hence the pressure to close on something in stock
Perhaps high time people quit bothering about the dealers commission, and started being more patient to buy a car that was more safe.
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Old 27th January 2009, 20:35   #26
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Originally Posted by pras.oct25 View Post
Its taken for granted that indian people lack discipline on roads and instead of doing the right thing by adding more safety to cars, they end up playing with the minds of people buying a car in terms of the budget that they have.
I think manufacturers have to do this to sell cars. Start giving more safety features like traction control, etc in cars and this would actually make driving by Indians more dangerous as they will care less about safety. ABS+Airbags need to first of all evolve before we can throw in any active safety features.

What the manufacturers need to do more is offer better passive protection, but again given the Indian operating conditions, the entire body structure will be affected after being used for long in India.

There are more than one issues here ranging from the customer being ignorant or rather ill informed and not making demands regarding safety to the manufacturers and dealers that are not inclined to do anything. At least manufacturers can offer features as options in all variants, but this will remain a distant dream for us all.

There is no institution like Euro NCAP in India and even if there was one, it would be full of corruption and the prefect results will never come out of it. To improve this, we need to attack the core that is the customers. Informing the customer about safety is the best thing to do. Maruti at least took initiative to offer training classes which are one of the best.
We can do our best to inform others ( already have done it in college many times ) for the safety features and how benefitial they are.
Thats all what we can manage.
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Old 27th January 2009, 20:41   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
I think manufacturers have to do this to sell cars. Start giving more safety features like traction control, etc in cars and this would actually make driving by Indians more dangerous as they will care less about safety.

We can do our best to inform others ( already have done it in college many times ) for the safety features and how benefitial they are.
Thats all what we can manage.
Your first point is almost tragic and sadly it has the potential to come out true. But probably not an excuse manufacturers can use never the less.
for the second point
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Old 28th January 2009, 13:12   #28
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ABS is not the best way to brake - this coming from a t-BHPian. Wake up and smell the coffee, Sir. Ignorance is not always bliss, so ask more knowledgeable people, or simply, google !!

You cannot order an airbag from a car that is hurtling into a stone wall at speed, can you? You do not take life insurance because you think you are going to die soon - but because you want your family to be better in case you do.
Proper pedal modulation is very important. ABS isn't the fastest way to stop all the time. It is most effective in inclement weather. Under dry conditions - you can stop faster without ABS intruding. Try it sometime! I was hinting at the fact that drivers are never taught how to drive properly. Everyone assumes that mashing the brake pedal with all their might is the best way to stop. No one pauses to think that perhaps the tire-road transition is the weakest link, and not the brakes. ABS is a last ditch safety device. You're not supposed to lock the brakes in the first place so ABS is for people who don't know how to modulate the brake pedal.

Regarding airbags:
Think about the number of Indian drivers (especially women) that sit 10 inches away from the steering. Now imagine what will happen when the airbag deploys. Their normal driving position puts them within striking distance of the airbag! Yes, airbags have in fact KILLED people.

There are 2 sides to every coin and I just want to make sure you don't hero-worship any of these safety devices

I think driving skills will save the day - but auto makers want to sell cars so they invent clever gadgets.

Do I believe in airbags and ABS? Yes! My 2 seater has 4 airbags and my 4 seater has 7. They both have ABS as well. However I don't rely on them. Safety is MY responsibility, not my car's.

I know you agree with me there!
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Old 28th January 2009, 14:07   #29
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1) Proper pedal modulation is very important. ABS isn't the fastest way to stop all the time. It is most effective in inclement weather. Under dry conditions - you can stop faster without ABS intruding. Try it sometime! I was hinting at the fact that drivers are never taught how to drive properly. Everyone assumes that mashing the brake pedal with all their might is the best way to stop. No one pauses to think that perhaps the tire-road transition is the weakest link, and not the brakes. ABS is a last ditch safety device. You're not supposed to lock the brakes in the first place so ABS is for people who don't know how to modulate the brake pedal.

2) Regarding airbags:
Think about the number of Indian drivers (especially women) that sit 10 inches away from the steering. Now imagine what will happen when the airbag deploys. Their normal driving position puts them within striking distance of the airbag! Yes, airbags have in fact KILLED people.

3) I think driving skills will save the day - but auto makers want to sell cars so they invent clever gadgets.

4) Do I believe in airbags and ABS? Yes! My 2 seater has 4 airbags and my 4 seater has 7. They both have ABS as well. However I don't rely on them. Safety is MY responsibility, not my car's.
1) On dry surface, IMO, braking with ABS will reduce distance. For India, where we mostly stop in emergencies and on poor grip surfaces ( the roads are generally not designed keeping in mind the grip ), I think we need to have a good control. Also the tyres here are of different quality than in W.Europe and N.America. So ABS will actually help us and generally people are not used to anitcipatory driving in India.

2) That has something to do with the feature availability of cars. Not all the cars have height adjustable driver's seat or adjustable steering wheel. This is where manufacturers must act.

3) We are yet to have it in India. So for the casue of safety, we rather NEED ABS and airbags.

4) Agree with you here, but partly. A car has to be designed such that it offers maximum possible protection. For example in Maruti Omni, how much safe one is as a driver, life is at a higher risk.
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Old 28th January 2009, 14:16   #30
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Safety is perceived. Having ABS, EBD, TCS, ESP, Airbags etc doesnít guarantee absolute safety. Without it doesnít mean unsafe either. But these features have limitations and cannot overcome the laws of physics. In my opinion, those who can afford it should go for it whatever the sales person may say.

People who have experienced a couple of decent accidents will vouch for ABS and Airbags. I havenít come across any one claiming ABS caused the accident! Even if there is someone, it most probably is the driverís mistake or just an unavoidable accident.

Sales persons do mislead people. Every time I visit a showroom they try stupid tactics. Premium car showrooms are an exception though. One guy didnít even know what ABS stands for! In his knowledge ABS is Air Brake System! Once at a fiat showroom, they gave me a very brilliant reason why I shouldnít go for Airbags in my palio. In his opinion, when an accident happens the airbags deploy, which costs a lot to replace. Later I knew from that guy itself the reason they are against airbags. They donít have the model in stock. Their incentive comes from selling the stocked vehicles rather than getting a new one in with a special order. He couldnít say anything when I questioned the logic of saving the cost of replacing the airbag at the cost of my life. He was looking at me like Iím a safety freak. But thatís the difference in perception!
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