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View Poll Results: Are Indian hatchbacks even safe for cities?
Yes 17 24.64%
No 42 60.87%
Can't say 10 14.49%
Voters: 69. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 28th May 2017, 01:57   #16
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Default City cars, what about safety?

People don't realise the importance of safety features as yet. In my apartment society, where apartments can cost 90lakhs+, the most preferred variants are the mid variants of almost all cars which lack any safety equipment.

My personal experience, way back in 2008 I bought a Dzire VDi and held it for 4 years. In those 4 years I realised the importance of ABS during some
Scary incidents, fortunately nothing serious, so I made up my mind that the next car should have the basic safety features, at least ABS and airbags. When the time came to switch cars, I opted for a Rapid with ABS and driver airbag since there was no option of a passenger airbag in the ambition variant way back in 2012. Of course, I would have preferred to have other safety features as well, but during that time period there weren't many cars offering even these basics.

Similarly when we wanted to change our 2nd car from an alto, the first choice for a city run about were cars like Eon, Beat etc. But none of them offered any safety features with the exception of their top trim which was very ridiculously priced. I somehow had made up my mind that the car had to have basic safety features, so I let go off the idea of a new car and settled for a sparingly used Brio which had ABS and Dual airbags. Most people around me were suggesting that I should buy a new one instead of an old one for the same price, but i was quite sure what I wanted. And till date I remain happy that my wife and kid travel in a car that is fairly safe!

Last edited by motorworks : 28th May 2017 at 02:00.
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Old 28th May 2017, 19:39   #17
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Default re: City cars: What about safety?

Interesting and informative discussion so far. Whereas the focus points have been highlighted the emphasis also needs to be shifted to awareness and Government initiatives and action. To begin with lets not just talk about hatchbacks alone though I do admit that this is the hottest selling segment in cars. It needs to be brought out that to-days hatch owner was a biker earlier and probably would be owning a sedan or/and SUV in future as he/she progresses in life and profession. Car manufacturers are smart enough to understand this and make fat profits for themselves. So in the process safety tends to get de-prioritised and looks and features assume greater importance( for car makers). This would not be possible if stringent regulations by the Govt. are enacted and enforced in letter and spirit.

For the present , if we can come upto European and US standards, say in the next ten years it would be a big achievement.But then there are numerous doubting Thomases. Pray do consider why are manufacturers even allowed to sell their cars if they fail basic crash tests. Now this can't be an over night kind of a diktat but the seeds have to be sown now so that one or two generations later our children and grandchildren can reap the benefits. There should have been screaming headlines in our print and electronic media about manufacturers whose products failed the crash tests. Instead, the media ( for the sake of revenue) unashamedly advertises these products. And they conveniently shrug their shoulders citing commercial interests.

Aren't liquor and tobacco ads banned by the Govt. because they snuff out lives, cause innumerable health issues and ruin families? Why can't a similar yardstick be applied for unsafe cars? Even more justified as tobacco/liquor causes slow death but car accidents happen in a matter of seconds. Sure GDP is important and the growth and profitability of the auto industry is important but certainly not by glossing over vital safety considerations. Folks of earlier generations would remember anecdotes doing the rounds that one could cause a dent on the body of a particular hatchback by giving it a good thump with bare fists. ( A friend, who was the proud owner of one such car, did not allow us to carry out the experiment. I'm sure you've got the general drift).

The Central Govt and the State Govts can do much more particularly with reference to bringing out greater awareness, granting driving licenses and enforcing pro safety laws.
But I have ranted enough. Thanks for the patience. More in my next post on the subject.

Last edited by ampere : 28th May 2017 at 19:47.
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Old 28th May 2017, 23:21   #18
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Default re: City cars: What about safety?

The scenario is definitely changing, any car coming out after October this year needs to have the airbags and abs as standard, and it will be mandatory for the current models by 2018. Not long before we all get what we get something at least.

And adding another thing, given the rampant disregard of the traffic lights he, I believe a side airbag and curtain airbags are more important than even the front ones, given the high possibility of being T-boned.
I see hatchbacks and what, just 2 hatchbacks offer them (Figo and i20) and Eben then only in top models. It's not difficult to do. A Celerio sold in the UK comes standard with 6 airbags!! And here we need to spec even 2 airbags as an option. So I believe, no the Indian hatchbacks are not safe enough.

Last edited by agambhandari : 28th May 2017 at 23:25.
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Old 29th May 2017, 02:07   #19
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Default re: City cars: What about safety?

Most of the Indian Hatchbacks are not STRUCTURALLY safe and we all know that well.

But tell me, with the huge taxes, etc. is it possible to sell a good quality car for such mouthwatering prices as the manufacturer's show. I may be wrong in my assumption but I am witnessing continuously why even the biggest of brands are offering Made for India versions, why ?

The bigger question should actually be, are Indian roads and traffic is SAFE for any vehicle be it a bicycle or a Truck.
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Old 29th May 2017, 05:12   #20
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Default re: City cars: What about safety?

In a country where two wheelers are still predominantly used for commuting in the city, migrating to a car is a big step even for an average middle class family. I would any day be more relieved to see a family of four or five travelling in a budget hatch back, than hanging on for their dear life on an overloaded two wheeler. Safety is still a luxury in our country. It comes at a cost and till the time there are consumers who are ready to buy cars sans any safety features, these cars sell, and how ? In huge numbers Manufacturers are just catering to the market demand. After all they run their business for making money. As long as there is no legislation prescribing a bare minimum safety standards a vehicle should meet, manufacurers won't stop producing or selling these cars.

That said, times are changing. We as a nation are emerging. The young generation of India will witness the change, hopefully. And with the infrastructure development that happens equally to support the cause of safer cars, I believe an entry level hatch back with four airbags and ABS as standard minimum safety features won't be a pipe dream.

Still Traction Control, ESP, Brake Assist, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning, Parking Assist etc. will be luxury safety features that only big money could buy. For now I would be extremely happy if all the occupants of the cars are aware of the importance of seat belts and atleast buckle up !

Last edited by BLACKBLADE : 29th May 2017 at 05:17.
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Old 29th May 2017, 09:59   #21
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Default re: City cars: What about safety?

Originally Posted by BLACKBLADE View Post
As long as there is no legislation prescribing a bare minimum safety standards a vehicle should meet, manufacurers won't stop producing or selling these cars.
+1 to that. What the country needs today is auto safety activist movements to force Govts to pass such laws for the safety of its citizens. I could be grossly uninformed, but one does not read about PIL's in courts and tribunals relating to auto safety.

Last edited by ampere : 29th May 2017 at 10:05. Reason: Fixed quote tags
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Old 29th May 2017, 11:53   #22
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Default re: City cars: What about safety?

Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
I feel perfectly safe driving tiny or old hatchbacks in the city, even with kids on board.

I'm not kidding - but the biggest fear these days while driving in Bangalore is the fear of tree branch or entire tree falling on your car. It is extremely windy (accompanied by rains) in the evenings here.

A small AT hatchback with a strong roll cage is best for Bangalore
You can say that again. Last week I had the "pleasure" of returning home after what you can can at best call a fairly heavy shower that lasted no more than an hour. When I returned to the parking spot, I saw my Polo had a narrow escape (see pic). We (kids on board) were stuck on the road for 2.5 hrs to trying to return home only 5 kms away. Underpasses flooded, roads blocked due to fallen trees. I don't think I've ever felt so scared driving a car before in my life.
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City cars: What about safety?-20170520_212556.jpg  

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 29th May 2017 at 11:58.
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Old 29th May 2017, 15:09   #23
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Default Re: City cars: What about safety?

Voted for no. You can count the number of safe hatchbacks on your fingers...of one hand .

Driving an unsafe car on Indian roads - be it the city & especially on the highway - is akin to entering a gun fight without a bulletproof vest. It's just too darn dangerous out there. This is one of the reasons I've stopped taking my Jeep out on the highway. She's too old, outdated & rusty to offer any kind of protection in a crash.

Always insisted that, whatever the price, you'll get a safer used car than a new one. 3 - 4 lakhs can get me a nicely maintained Liva / Etios / Polo / Punto / i20 etc....the new cars in that price band are shockingly weak. I sold my well kept Civic for 2.5 lakhs - crash it against a Nano or Omni and see who walks out unscathed.

Originally Posted by vishy76 View Post
but what about first in class safety? Who would start that revolution?
1. Customers. If customers demand safety, manufacturers will provide. Unlikely to happen in India as we don't even understand the importance of seatbelts, helmets or good tyres.

2. Government by rolling out minimum safety standards (just like their very effective BS-IV emission requirements).

Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
'Manufacturers do whatever is best for their bottom line, while staying within the regulations of a specific market.

If Europe/USA relaxed safety norms tomorrow, do you think manufacturers will blink twice before cutting corners there too?
Well said, Chetan . Car manufacturers are the same rogues - whatever the country - driven primarily by the bottom line + stock prices. If the USA or Europe didn't have any safety initiatives by their respective governments, we'd all see fragile tin cans on sale there.
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Old 29th May 2017, 15:17   #24
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Default Re: City cars: What about safety?

Voted No! It will remain unsafe as long as we don’t have road-worthiness laws based on crash tests and mandated safety features. I don’t subscribe to the thought that it will drive the prices high. For e.g.; no manufacturer charge a premium for having seat belts. It s mandated by law and they provide it – same can be the case with Airbags, ABS etc.
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Old 29th May 2017, 19:36   #25
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Default Re: City cars: What about safety?

Hi Folks,
Chanced upon this very apt video that is relevant to this discussion.
Take a look and form your own opinion.
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