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Old 14th November 2014, 22:39   #76
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

1. I am all for airbags and ABS being made compulsory across all cars as a person upgrading from 75000 rupee motorcycle to a 3 lakh rupee vehicle is partly doing it to carry more people and also partly because he 'assumes' it is a safer mode of transport than his current steed.

2. If a figure of rupees 550/- a month on EMIs as another member quoted is all the difference over a non airbag, ABS variant then its absolutely a no- brainer as hardly anyone upgrading from a two wheeler buys cars for outright cash. If mister RCB still thinks that it would drive them customers away then ideally how poor does he think that an average Indian car buyer is? and Will they not bear maintenance and high fuel costs ?

3.It's hilarious and very very sad that a person heading such a large corporation says Europe doesn't have to deal with two wheeler safety so they can concentrate on 4 wheeler safety. Is that arrogance or ignorance ?

4. If VW and toyota can add these features virtually cost free then why cant MSIL ? is it just because most first time uninformed buyers will continue to keep filling their coffers not realizing how detrimental their products are to their safety ?

5. Also if projector headlamps , alloys and spoilers and all that stuff if marketable and sell-able on a stingray with an increase in price is justified then how is adding a 10K ABS module not ? why ? because looking funky and feature filled and glitzy is more important than some hidden module with the capability of saving lives ?

6. If the so called educated corporate leaders of our country share such a view on the safety of an average indian and if a single person gets to decide if a person is worthy of a life saving feature or not irrespective of the pricing are we truly evolving as nation ? its high time customers get to decide what they want to buy! Don't decide for us just educate the people enough to help them take informed decisions !
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Old 14th November 2014, 22:40   #77
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

No wonder such statements are coming from Maruti. If I remember correctly, they go to the extreme of saving a few hundred bucks and skipping the left RVM on some base models. It's no surprise they are crying sour over ABS and airbags.

They don't want to do this because they make a killing, selling the top version to people who are safety conscious. I bet the price difference between the base and top model is the major reason why people compromise on safety.

Let's add this option to all versions and then see how many people will opt in for this.
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Old 14th November 2014, 22:43   #78
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

You cannot blame on Bhargava alone, If the govt is not insisting of global safety standards why should the business man invest more and cut his profit complying to global safety standards.
Its not in the case of automobile's alone check out our standards in quality of food and fruits we are eating raw poison everyday out standards should be changed it has to be equal or above the global standards.
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Old 14th November 2014, 22:51   #79
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Ridiculous statement to say the least! A statement which is worth being in a trash bin!
Trying to hold on to market leadership by skimping mandatory safety features is not at all acceptable.

MSIL is just making a joke out of itself. Lead by example, not just by KMPL. Selling safety features as luxury features is the hallmark of MSIL.

Last edited by MCR : 14th November 2014 at 22:52.
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Old 14th November 2014, 23:01   #80
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Default Suzuki Forgetting What Made Them!!

Had any Auto CEO made that comment within the western media he wil be out of a job, pronto!! The company will distance themselves from the individual and claim he's not in the right frame of mind.

Quite a few people have come out in support of maruti claiming why do they have to do something that's not mandatory.

Well they don't have to, but maruti is not your average Indian car company, IS IT?

They were started by the government using tax payers money to literally monopolize a market when no other serious auto-maker could compete against them. So as a company they benefited from both peoples money and the elected governments policies.

Maruti is in a comfortable position now and can take Indian's for granted.

But hopefully they wont forget once this country looses trust in the brand suzuki as a car company is doomed. Almost half their profits come from India alone. The moment this cash cow dies Suzuki will be eaten alive by VW. Their bankruptcy filing in the American markets shows that as an independent car maker its not the strongest.

Not that someone like Bhargava cares, he's got a few years left and a hefty pension for the rest of his ignorant life!!
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Old 14th November 2014, 23:04   #81
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

The only way people like MCB will provide any safety features is when govt/people/market as for it. Unlike features like AMT, auto climate control, etc which provides perceivable difference to the end customer, safety features such as airbags or ABS does not make any such impact. In India, we are still "learning to drive" and I believe it will take some more time before we become mature enough to ask for such features in a base model. A typical Indian customer for a car is looking for features that are "obvious" and thus "flauntable" for a given price range and not some feature which are "unseen" and "unflauntable", that too for a higher price.

Let us look at basic safety features like seat belts. It is safe to assume that except in cities where the rules are enforced, 90% of the drivers dont wear them. They find it a hassle, rather than a safety feature. Same is the case with wearing helmets while driving/riding 2-wheelers. Airbags and ABS are still far away for these folks.
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Old 14th November 2014, 23:13   #82
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Unfortunately, the Chairman made a joke out of himself. Definitely this statement of his will become a hot topic in all parties and meetings and I will be amazed if he can stick his head up in front of other executives and heads.

Having heard this from a top shot, I cant expect anything better than this from a sales executive. So if anyone wants some saturday afternoon entertainment, walk into maruti showroom making people think you are a prospective swift customer and quiz the SA about the safety of the swift without airbags and ABS, and the crash test. You will be provided the best comedy of your lifetime. Do post it in the other thread

Speaking on a serious note, the statement about two wheeler upgrades cannot hold good for a Swift. If they think that Swift customers are the ones upgrading from a bike, what about the cheaper cars in the stable? At least, an alto will be a safer option compared to a bike though it wont have safety features as such. But it is a load of bull to justify how safe the swift is taking such absurd reasoning.

They, the company should come out of the mileage USP at least for cars above the WagonR at least and focus on other aspects. Yes for a person upgrading from a bike as they say, the mileage offered by an alto will be of an important aspect. Once they start moving upwards, I dont think that will hold much significance. Afterall, who even complains if a diesel swift returns a kmpl or two less? Even the petrol version. I am more than happy with what the Dzire gives and would be more than willing to sacrifice 2kmpl if the car was made stronger.
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Old 14th November 2014, 23:24   #83
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Ok looks like I might look like the devils advocate here. But what i say, I only do so for the benefit of us as consumers. Cos at the end of the day, it is us individuals who suffer and not either sides of this corporate-political battle.

Let me start by saying that the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Not saying that I support these statements by the likes of not only by R.C.Bhargava, but also by Andy Palmer, former Chief Planning Officer, at Nissan, or that cars like the Datsun Go, or Swift are safe, but im trying to individually observe the parties involved in this issue, whats in stake for them, and IMO why they are right or wrong.

Let me start with Global NCAP's and ADAC.

Please read this article by an Automobile industry Veteran about "Global NCAP" and ADAC. Both have been involved in less than ideal controversies themselves and both have managed to "silence these controversies". Here is the article.

“Mr Mosley was, and is, a man obsessed,” wrote London’s Daily Mail. Currently, Max Mosley is obsessed with gaining control of key aspects of the fledgling auto industry of a former British colony, namely India. Called “formidable, tough, ambitious, and, at times, ruthless,” Mosley will destroy anything that gets in his way. Currently, he wants to destroy a car. Not just one car, a complete line of cars.

Yesterday, Max Mosley wrote Carlos Ghosn a letter. What did Mosley want from Nissan’s CEO? Nothing more than the “urgent withdrawal of the Datsun Go from the Indian and related markets.” As the Chairman of Global NCAP, Mosley wants control over what kind of cars are sold in India. Mosley had the misfortune of having been born in 1940 as the son of notorious Sir Oswald Mosley, the most prominent Nazi apologist in Britain. Mosley furthermore had the misfortune of having been embroiled in a long series of scandals, (possibly) culminating in a notorious S&M sex orgy where he is “giving orders in German as he lashes girls wearing mock death camp uniforms and is himself whipped until he bleeds,” as the Daily Mail reported. This is only mentioned to underscore Mosley’s fascination with control. It is, as they say in the car business, a heritage matter. Control is part of Mosley’s design DNA.

Now why should Nissan shredder the first model of its re-activated Datsun brand? Five days before the letter-writing, Mosley’s Global NCAP, a company registered in the UK as a limited company, and as a charity, published a not quite charitable crash test, in which the Datsun Go was found severely lacking by Germany’s auto club ADAC, and where the car was “rated a zero for safety by Global NCAP,” as a Global NCAP press release says.

So far the widely reported facts. Now, let’s dig a little deeper. As often, the digging will be a dirty affair.

The affair begins with the minor quibble that there is no NCAP for India, and that punishing an Indian car for failing the regimen of Euro NCAP is as ludicrous as ticketing Dan Neill in America for going 200 mph on a German autobahn.

So then, why? I asked Global NCAP, and received no answers. Let’s try and find them.

Earlier in the year, Mosley’s Global NCAP had set its sights on India. As opposed to developed markets like the U.S. and Europe, the rather underdeveloped car market of India has no auto safety standards to speak of. “Formidable, tough, ambitious” Mosley wants to change this. There is a lot of money to be made setting, checking and enforcing standards. “Ruthless” Mosley knew just how to sell it to the Indians: “India’s best-selling cars, including the Tata Nano, Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai i10.,” were crashed in front of cameras, and three of them, the Alto 800, the Nano, and the i10 failed miserably. The Ford Figo also failed, but GNCAP gave it a pass, saying it woukld have fared better, would it have airbags, which it didn’t. The Volkswagen Polo also failed. Then, “VW sent in a [Polo] Trendline,” writes Top Gear, that was “equipped with airbags, and that car fared a whole lot better, being the only hatchback made in India to notch up a four-star Global NCAP rating.” Bootlicking makes for mild masters. The crash videos were, so to speak, a smash hit at Global NCAP’s first Emerging Market Automobile Safety Conference in Delhi, and “the response from media and consumers in India has been overwhelmingly positive,” as Global NCAP was happy to announce.

Why the huge production? India “could become the world’s third largest [car] market by 2020,” Global NCAP wrote in a press release, and Mosley wants a piece of it. The crashing of cars is a costly affair, and NCAP doesn’t do it for free – unless it suits them for propaganda purposes. “Unlike most other major car producing nations, India … does not have a New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP)” wrote Mosley’s pressure group. The crash tests were enclosed, hint, hint.

The public pillorying of gutless cars has been a favorite tactic of the devout S&M believer. “Mosley knew that the greatest weapon at his disposal was publicity, a fact he exploited ruthlessly,” writes Motorsport Magazine. “Soon a poor NCAP result became a greater deterrent to sales than poor fuel consumption or performance figures.” The message is simple: Pay up, or shut down. The punishment for a lack of submission to NCAP can be long and painful: Videos of crashes land in YouTube, and they stay there forever. Next to sex and cat videos, crash porn is a major click magnet for YouTube. So, usually, car companies decide that it is cheaper to pay protection money, and to join NCAP, with the privilege to submit a car of their choice per year for testing, than to be subjected to endless, and entirely non-consensual flogging.

After the India conference, something unheard-of happened. Nissan’s vociferous former chief strategist Andy Palmer said out loud what other car execs only dare to mutter. Nissan’s cars were not among the tested, so Palmer probably thought it was safe to speak his mind – as he usually and refreshingly does.

“I think the people who criticize these cars for not meeting US or European crash standards are living in a dream world,” Palmer told Autocar. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people – the exact number is unknown – die in India in traffic accidents. Speed limits, DUI or seat-belt laws in India are generally flaunted, and rarely enforced. Percentage of road deaths involving alcohol – unknown. Deaths in cars amount to only a fraction of the carnage – simply because there aren’t so many cars yet in India. A surprisingly large number of people die in conveyances considered highly safe – in trucks, an even higher number perishes in the “other” category. The by far highest number dies away from four wheels, on foot, bicycle, and motorcycle.

Without saying it, Palmer accused Mosley of hypocrisy. If he really cares for the dead and maimed, Mosley should be for putting people in cars instead keeping cars away from them. And for that, cars must be attainable, not filled with first world gadgets that put cars way out of reach of most people, in a country with a per capita GDP of $1,500. Said Palmer:

“We are talking about cars built to transport people who would otherwise be four or five-up on a motorcycle. These people today can’t afford more, and if we fit safety systems we will drive the prices up and they’ll choose the motorbike again. A car with a body and individual seats is much safer than a bike.”

Palmer’s outburst triggered a flurry of angry press releases from a clearly wounded Max Mosley. Many industry observers are convinced that the Datsun Go was crashed as revenge for Palmer’s comments; never mind that Palmer has left Nissan to become CEO of Aston Martin, and never mind that the Datsun Go is everything but India’s best-selling car. According to Bloomberg, the few people who have money to buy a car in India, want to show-off their wealth. And the masses don’t have the $5,000 the Datsun Go goes for.

“Someone clearly got back at Palmer,” said a chuckling European industry executive, who chose to remain unnamed, fearing the formidable long arm of ruthless Max. In Europe, industry greybeards see more than a quick get even, they see a well-known modus operandi.

Some 10 years ago, the industry was fearful of being overrun by cheap cars exported from China. It never happened, to a large degree because of what happened in Germany to the first cars from China. In 2005, a SUV imported by Landwind was crashed by Germany’s auto club ADAC, perfectly timed for the Frankfurt Auto Show a few weeks later. Of course, the Landwind blew the test, and the Chinese SUV became the laughing stock of the Frankfurt show. A few years later, the Chinese Brilliance BS6, and then the Brilliance BS4 were tested according to NCAP rules, again by Germany’s ADAC, again with horrible results. This time, a few media reports said the tests were rigged. Germany’s Focus Magazine had “doubts about the procedure.” Nevertheless, back then, the reputation of NCAP and ADAC was godlike. The Brilliance importer went bankrupt. China’s invasion was dead in the water.

What’s more, China, which before had a safety regimen like India, namely next to none, appeased the NCAP dragon, and created C-NCAP under the tutelage of the government-owned China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC). Suddenly, all was peachy in China. C-NCAP keeps raining 5-star ratings on its happy industry. Max Mosley does not complain. However, there are loud complaints in China itself.

In the Middle Kingdom, C-NCAP is widely viewed as a paper tiger, some call it “a scam.” In a poll conducted by China’s huge internet portal, only 6% of the respondents thought C-NCAP tests are fair. China’s state-owned news agency Xinhua blasted C-NCAP as a “pure money machine.” In reality, C-NCAP is a paper tiger, and nothing has changed in China as far as safety certifications are concerned. Even CATARC chief Hang Zhao has to admit: “China has not yet had a truly formal certification system. The existing rules can only be called ‘access system’, which only determines whether a particular car model is allowed to enter the market.” China’s traffic deaths are more than 100,000 per year, similar to India, but they die without Mosley’s compassion.

Early this year, Global NCAP’s favorite testing partner, Germany’s ADAC was traumatized by a long series of scandals that did cost first a cheating PR chief, and finally ADAC’s president and its General Manager their jobs. Research and books were manipulated. The auto club was put under the magnifying glass, and now Germany’s TV station Bayerischer Rundfunk said that the Brilliance test results of 2009 were “preconceived.”

At the same time, Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reminded its readers of what it had said in 2005, namely that the ADAC “cheated” when in tested Renault’s Dacia, run by the same Carlos Ghosn to whom Mosley just wrote a letter. The car rolled over in front of running cameras. The FAZ journalists found that before the car rolled over, “the tester had first ruined the tires, then they mounted the spare tire with a different rim, and finally, they raced the Dacia until it finally went airborne.” The ADAC admitted the cheating. However, the matter failed to make waves in Germany, says the FAZ, “because nobody cared about a Rumanian maker of cheap cars, as long as the German auto industry was left in a good light.” Back then, Ghosn thought about suing, but decided against it. He probably regrets it now.

The same “cheater-club ADAC” (FAZ) is still haunting Global NCAP, and it performed the disastrous test of the Datsun Go. There are many reputable technical services in Europe, ready and able to crash cars in a professional manner. Global NCAP had plenty opportunity to do what major automakers had done, namely distance themselves from the disgraced club. Knowing no shame, Max Mosley asked the ADAC to smash the unwitting Indian cars.

The Daily Kanban asked Global NCAP two days ago via email: “The ADAC has admitted falsifying research. Why do you continue using the ADAC for your tests?” Global NCAP never answered.

Global NCAP may be a charity, but they are not charitable enough to test cars for free. Usually. Usually, Global NCAP doesn’t test cars at all. Usually, that is done by the real NCAPs, such as Euro NCAP in Europe, or ANCAP in Australia, or JNCAP in Japan, and they usually don’t test cars from far away lands for free either. Usually, they assign NCAP stars according to a set protocol, and not after one single full frontal crash as in this case. Usually, they won’t say that a car will “certainly fail to pass the United Nation’s frontal impact regulation,” unless they have tested the car according to the UN-ECE regulation 94 that requires a specific set of the crashes to be performed at a lower speed than that ordered by Mosley. This was a highly unusual test. The only thing that was usual was the usual propaganda.

So who paid for bringing the cars from India all the way to Germany, and who paid for the crash test? We asked Global NCAP two days ago.

No answer was received.

Many more questions remain open. Going through the notes which I made before writing this article, I see a long list of scandals about Max Mosley that could and should fill a book. His five hooker S&M orgy alone is good for a sordid spy novel. It reportedly was videotaped by one of the 5 dominatrixes, with a camera supplied by the now defunct News of the World, and for a fee of £12,000. The woman was married to an officer of Britain’s intelligence arm MI5, writes the Independent.

Recounting Mosley’s multitude of scandals becomes impossible, simply because one does not know where to start.

Daily Mail: “A wealthy associate of Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone asked the Conservatives to help Max Mosley become an MP in return for a donation.” Ecclestone? Let’s not even go there.

FT: “Three years ago, when he was about to step down as the head of the FIA, the regulating body of Formula One, the News of the World ran its story under the headline “F1 boss has sick Nazi orgy with five hookers”. Since then, Mosley has been waging his own world war.” World war? Not again.

Independent: “Mr Mosley has considerable inherited wealth. He has been an unpaid chairman of the FIA since 1993, as well as funding a sexual habit that reputedly cost him £75,000 a year.” That would be $120,000 – or a $1,000 hooker every three days, an old man deserves some rest.

With so many scandals – if you have a lot of time on your hands, google them, but be advised that Mosley repeatedly sued Google, demanding that the search engine removes links to Mosley’s extravagant sexlife – one would think that Mosley is ashamed of himself, and that the now 72 year old quietly retires and enjoys the sun in Monaco, where he lives, and that he indulges in the senior-safe aspects of a $120,000 sexual habit. But no, he keeps on going. “Is there a risk that Mosley will cause himself more embarrassment?” a concerned BBC had to ask. Indeed, the embarrassment continues, possibly, because it gives Mosley pleasure.

In the strange world of BDSM, shame and embarrassment can be a turn-on to some people, just like pain can be an aphrodisiac to others. Or the same.

But then, “What’s so wrong with hypocrisy?” Mosley said.
In short its trying to say that ADAC, the German automobile community/ service agency that conducted these tests, was involved in a scandal that severely questioned its credibility. It manipulated the results of some public polls, in favour of the VW Golf. (Look for the ADAC Gelber Engel or Yellow Angel Awards scandal). So clearly lets not put blind faith in these "knights in shining armours" from the developed world. It is clear that there is some kind of financial interest alongside (if not above) public interest.

Regarding the issue surrounding Max Mosley I rather not talk about it here, but those of you who are interested kindly look up the matter (in its in entirety) yourselves. or follow this link:

(it contains the same text as above, but with some links attached. This whole blog, along with "The truth about cars" by the same guy, Bertel Schmitt, a former VW executive, give an interesting insight into the automotive industry from the eyes of an insider)

Also these so called "European standards" themselves vary from time to time, thus a car which managed a 5 star rating just a few years back, cannot dream of doing the same today. Just ask the guys at Renault with their Megane.

Interestingly, this article also sees the test of the Euro spec Celerio, which scored 3 stars, which while not the best result, is significantly better than the its Indian cousin the Swift.

Also, the speed at which the Global NCAP (Max Mosleys organization) test occurred was higher than the speeds tested by Euro NCAP (European regulatory body) (64km/h vs 56 recommended by Euro NCAP).

So what im saying is that the standards keep changing all the time, and the conditions in which these tests were taken are not clear at best.

Now coming to the automakers themselves.
Progress should be taken in steps and us Indians have a long way to go in terms of road safety. This is the card that the automakers play when they try to offer cars without any significant safety features. They know its not the best option, but like its been beaten about many times before, its safer than a motorcycle. It is a flawed argument to say the least, but one could argue it was the lesser of 2 evils. One thing for certain is that manufacturers may not directly be responsible for the lack of safety features as there are no specific standards to be adhered to. Assuming that there were some such standards, and then it was found that manufacturers are not adhering to them, then its a totally different issue. But the harsh fact of the matter is, that it isnt the case.
The fact remains that the cars perform so poorly BECAUSE the requirements are so low. In todays day and age with ever increasing costs, in a country like India with a highly price elastic demand, it is HIGHLY NAIVE and irrational to think (from the eyes of a seller) that any manufacturer will try to offer a "feature" which increase their costs, while potentially offering their competitors a price advantage, without any surety of demand, from what is their most profitable demographic in the industry. Such a "risk" may also not be supported by their shareholders, who are ultimately the "owners" of the company. Business ethics as we see, is not well defined, and is a huge grey area of debatable decisions.

In my honest opinion, I do feel better safety features/standards need to be incorporated, and yet I/we are biased towards the lower variant of the vehicle for the cost factor. Infact, when my family purchased our car, (2013 Swift VDi), we asked for ABS as an option, but were refused as it was reserved for the top end version only. This was particularly infuriating as I did not have the means to pay for a whole bunch of features I didnt need (Alloy wheels, audio system etc) thus sacrificing the few features I actually needed.

I think with some clever supply chain management, and better marketing, allowing these features as an option in all variants will help in this change. Im sure there are many other people like me who avoid the top end for not wanting to pay for unnecessary features, but would perhaps be interested in adding safety features to the desired variants of cars. (im hinting at some sort of a Mass customization instead of a mass Production system here).

Coming to the somewhat obvious fact that this increase in costs will drive away customers, meaning lesser sales for the AutoCos. Yes, its absolutely normal that slump will occur, but its something that, if handled well by the marketing and sales depts, can be overcome in the long run. Remember India is still rather young in terms of an automobile market, and is far from saturation, and there are still a large number of people who would like to purchase their first car in the future. If they don't have a choice of buying their first car without these features, eventually they will rather shell out the extra 30-40k for buying the car rather than purchase a motorcycle. Especially when you take into consideration that the typical indian "First car" owner takes a loan on cars, as they are considered to be long term assets. Thus the delta between paying INR 3,00,000 (for the non ABS/airbag version) vs INR 3,30,000 (with safety features) paid as an Emi over a period of a few years may not be so drastic as suggested. In short, while a price hike of any kind sucks, I dont think this will be enough to put away the Indian customer for ever.

Coming to the "Biker who could have". India over and above anything else (with regards to road safety ofcourse), needs to generate awareness!! no airbag in this world can prevent ignorance of the driver, and Autonomous cars are still atleast a few decades away realistically speaking. Anyone who has travelled on the legendary German Autobahns will know what im trying to say. Ive travelled (as a passenger) at around 200 kmph (barring the occasional speed limit) for over 4 hours in the middle of the night, without a single tense moment. infact a lot of the passengers were actually sleeping. Every driver is respectful of the other and this mutual respect, coupled with common sense is what allows this. This is the reason the Germans are proud of the Autobahn. Its not simply a technical marvel, but also an accomplishment of human discipline, and skill in extreme conditions. Speeding, car safety cells, safety norms, are all arbitrary if the drivers and riders themselves are incompetent. Even though the car we used was a 5 Star rated car, the chances of me surviving such an accident still seems bleak at best. I would love to take a VW Golf or, Euro spec Volvo and have it crashed against an Indian Lorry in typical Indian conditions and see how it fares.

Thus the first step India NEEDS, more than any safety standard, is to create SAFE DRIVERS (and riders)!! I neednt explain in detail, as we all as drivers and riders know what the problems are.
While I welcome any move by the government towards increasing public safety, I think that the problem we face requires much more attention than a simple safety badge.

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Old 14th November 2014, 23:38   #84
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

I read the article and it's absolute nonsense. The guy who wants to buy a car will buy it. He will cut his "others" expenditure for a year or two if he's buying an entry level car.
NCAP is designed to make cars safer, hence every country needs it.
MSIL clearly doesn't want to push safety.
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Old 14th November 2014, 23:50   #85
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Bhargava's interview was an eye opener for me. I thought Maruthi Suzuki was a for-profit corporate, but from the Interview, now I understand that it is a non-profit that aims to make it safer for two-wheeler owners to upgrade to Alto-800 which costs about 3.xx lakhs on the road.
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Old 15th November 2014, 00:03   #86
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

This statement is utter nonsense to my mind. First up, as Mr. Bhargava had quoted, let's talk about numbers. I actually quoted this number just a couple of days back in other posts on car safety here. Annually there are about 200,000 deaths in India on the roads. 16% of these can be attributed to cars. Of those 16%, let's assume a 1/3rd drop due to introduction of safety features, on a conservative side. Now anyone can say that this 5.3% drop is a small percentage. But translate this into actual number. A whopping 10,000 lives! ! Is that a small number? ?????? Anyone who calls that insignificant belongs to a mental institution.

Second, yes there are other categories where an improvement is long overdue. Road conditions, road design, road lighting, etc, there are numerous such factors. Yet purely from feasibility perspective, low hanging fruits must be picked first. Common sense would dictate so at least. By no means I mean to say that do not address other more important issues. Address those simultaneously while making quick improvements, what's the harm in that.

Thirdly, I have a contrarian view on the impact of price rise on account of introduction of safety features. Lets say that the price of an entry level. Car increases by 40,000. Also lets assume that all 100% buyers entering into car market will enter at this price point only. True, many such buyers may find that increase too much and decide to stay away. Equally true is also the fact that a person riding a 2 wheeler daily with his family may find that same entry level car with new safety features as perfect for his and his familys safety. Remember, the same safety features were earlier available only in higher variants costing a Lac or so higher at the minimum. Now this becomes interesting. On one hand you may lose few buyers, on the other hand you may gain few, maybe many more buyers who suddenly find safety features now closer to their entry level cars budget than earlier and hence more affordable. For example, let's say i drive a 2 wheeler. Now I am planning to buy a car and my budget is 3 lacs. Suddenly the car now costs 3.4 lacs on account of introduction of safety features. Earlier the same features were only available in a car model which costed 4.5 lacs. So the gap between safety features and the lack of safety features is now 40,000 instead of 1.5 lacs. Any logical person in his right mind would tend to see the resultant benefit. Who knows what this may lead to?

All in all, making safety features mandatory is a first step, and a VERY BIG First step in the right direction. Surely is a win - win - win situation for all stakeholders.

Last edited by rattanw : 15th November 2014 at 00:16.
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Old 15th November 2014, 00:03   #87
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Folks, this thread is turning out to be intolerant of a second opinion. Any pragmatic opinion has been shot down.

Remember, a manufacturer cannot survive by making "safety" as plank. Recall the instance of Volvo - a manufacturer who epitomised safety and actually wanted to make it a strategic differentiator against German manufacturers. Well, we all know where Volvo is and where the others are.

If we had to put a similar question to Mr. Bajaj and ask why his company manufacturers 3 wheelers which we know have serious concerns on both environmental and safety aspects, I am sure the answer will be on similar lines. As a country, we NEED the 3 wheeler as a mode of transport. Period.

When the government wants to impose Europe levels of safety, will they also move to a European level of taxation for automobiles? The taxation structure in our country almost inflates the price of a car by 50-60% over the ex-factory price. Like someone pointed out, can the government not incentivise this for a certain period in the interest of the population?

From very recent memory, the whole ruckus about wearing helmets in Pune comes to mind. The media does not help in any small measure when they actually provide coverage to organisations dedicated to opposing the helmet rule! Imagine a day when the same media which carried these NCAP reports starts highlighting that starting next month, car prices set to go up by 50,000 because of "safety equipment". Won't there be a public out cry against this?

In conclusion however, I do agree that Mr. Bhargava should have been a little more pragmatic in his views and not sound so immature. It is setting a wrong precedent. But put yourself in his shoes where he has to balance the interests of his shareholders with the customers - and on this occasion he unfortunately chose the former over the latter.

This thread will run for many pages - but let us not target the individual unnecessarily - after all he has made a significant contribution in putting India on the global automotive map.
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Old 15th November 2014, 00:21   #88
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Every time I see discussions like these on TBHP I can't help but get frustrated about why all you beautiful folks get to stay out of our auto industry, while people who care a damn about how their work would affect the "mango man" using their creations are currently sitting in the R&D departments of our auto makers. As they say it is the people that make up a company, a handful of petrolheads amongst a sea of "goal oriented" executives don't stand a chance. Create as many government regulations as you want, these "high performance" executives would easily find a work around for them and even get good appraisals for finding the cheat. Mind you these folks are not "Commies" as one BHPian termed them, but completely unabashed capitalists caught in the career rat race and reporting to dinosaurs whose thinking goes like this - Ye AMT JMT nahi chalega, sare Phoren companies ne karke chod diya, jo bikta hain wohi banayenge.

Yes, I believe that if we can put all this passion to work we can create stuff like an ABS unit at a very low cost(TVS did it for the apache), probably even an airbag module at a much lesser cost if it was developed by an indian manufacturer, but where is the drive. Our bright engineers did such things in the development of Nano(I risk getting bashed up just for mentioning it), which the entire auto industry - including our own Indian manufacturers said was impossible to make, and it ended up becoming a wannabe jostling for space amongst cars whose design intent was the complete opposite of the nano.

We can cry out loud as much as we want on forums, but the fact is that awareness drives demand and demand drives the addition of features - be it comfort or safety(Yes! safety is a much advertised FEATURE in our industry unfortunately). If someone feels like bashing me up right at this point of time - I would like to rephrase a popular bollywood dialogue - Koi bhi automobile company perfect nahi hota, use perfect banana padta hain... The Europeans, Americans, Japanese and Koreans we compare our cars with, have had decades of headstart over us, if we have to beat them at their own game, it is only possible by bringing passion into the industry.

Our country is indeed different, case in point the AMT - which is a substandard solution(as defined by the phoren auto makers) compared to the DSGs of the world, but it is exactly what the sore indian left foot and ultra light wallets need to survive in our crazy urban traffic. I am inclined towards arguments by gthang and aerohit even at the cost of being seen as someone "going down the wrong way" as one bhpian put it. In a country where the awareness on safety is so poor that an engineering graduate(yes computer science is an engineering stream if you didn't know already) employed with a Multi national company thinks that he is safe in his 10+ lakh european sedan without wearing a seatbelt because he opted for the highest variant with airbags, spreading awareness is a bigger necessity than technology. That and having people in the industry who care about the kind of products coming out of our assembly lines. If you feel that you are entitled to all the safety tech in your car, you also have the responsibility to spread the awareness. Our auto industry is ten times smaller than that of China and our fatality rate is comparable to them, imagine what would happen when even 1/3rd of our population moves into the car buying bracket.

I did write to one of our moderators about doing something in getting petrolheads into our auto companies, even if in non technical roles(Yes it makes a hell of a difference). I feel T-BHP has enough clout to atleast make our manufacturers listen to what they say, its high time you guys used it. If he is listening, I am making another sincere appeal to do something about taking all this positive energy into our auto companies, the places where it is sorely missed(by people like me) and is needed the most.
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Old 15th November 2014, 00:23   #89
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Mr. Bhargava’s statement are disappointing and not worth much commenting . It seems like the Indian auto industry is having an Ostrich attitude to safety.
India is one of the very few markets in the world where Suzuki is a the dominant player and with only “Kita deti hai” attitude they are going to soon lose their dominant position to better build safer cars.
Certainly I am not going to recommend Maruti cars to any one as I know where they stand w.r.t. safety.
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Old 15th November 2014, 00:29   #90
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Default Re: Safety last? Maruti Chairman Mr. R.C. Bhargava's ridiculous statements

Originally Posted by quakerme View Post
You cannot blame on Bhargava alone, If the govt is not insisting of global safety standards why should the business man invest more and cut his profit complying to global safety standards.
Its not in the case of automobile's alone check out our standards in quality of food and fruits we are eating raw poison everyday out standards should be changed it has to be equal or above the global standards.
Sorry buddy, but I lost you completely. If I understood you right, it tells me that you did not quite read the article. Mr. Bhargava is simply "trying" to influence the authority in NOT bringing in any "must ABS+Airbags" norm in India. In popular context, it is called "lobbying". If I am wrong, I request for an elaboration.

The analogies and interpretation of safety is awesomely weird, I must say. Hypothetically, if ABS is made mandatory for 2 wheeler tomorrow, people will start buying bicycles, but it will endanger them even more. Now if some other norm bring in a safety feature in bicycles, then people will resort to walking (even worse). This will go on, till someone start questioning the invention of the wheel. I have no clue which century are we living in.

Mr. Bhargava must understand that India is evolving, and so are the consumers. You represent a brand which is the heart of most Indian families (including mine), so please abstain from such statements.
@M Suzuki, time for some damage control! Get an informed person to represent your brand.
I faintly remember that some CEO of some highly successfully Toy making company, once made a public statement that "their toys are cheap...". The company went bankrupt! Regardless of the intent, a careless (or "wanting to influence") statement can bring in catastrophic impact.
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