The Global New Car Assessment Program (Global NCAP) has been at the forefront of vehicle safety awareness around the world. The global safety watchdog, a project of a UK-registered charity, the Towards Zero Foundation, has been instrumental in creating a craze for vehicle safety.
In an exclusive interaction with Express Mobility, David Ward, Executive Director, Global NCAP shared his perspective on the evolution of security in the Indian passenger vehicle market, successes and failures, Bharat NCAP, the importance airbags and seat belts and how Global NCAP will continue to push the boundaries of safety in the automotive space.
It was in January 2014 that the global safety watchdog released the first-ever independent crash test results as part of its ‘Safer Cars for India’ initiative. Global NCAP conducted the tests based on the Latin NCAP 2013 Assessment Protocol for Adult Occupant Protection and the Latin NCAP 2010 Assessment Protocol for Child Occupant Protection.
Video interview: Global NCAP was a catalyst for Bharat NCAP and not an alternative, says David Ward
The organization tested five cars and all earned zero stars for producing adult occupants; all but one of the cars also failed the UN regulatory requirements for frontal impact (ECE R94) at 56 km/h with a 40% offset from a deformable barrier. This was attributed to the lack of airbags in the five cars tested, as well as poor structural integrity in three of the five cars tested.
But, Ward is optimistic, considering that OEMs in India have come a long way – “Well, there has been a huge increase in quality over the last four to five years and Global NCAP is very happy to help support this process through our Safety Cars for India project.
“And with our partner the Institute for Road Traffic Education (IRTE) in Delhi, we have now tested nearly 60 models and seen huge progress. not the minimum safety standards, we now have top car brands like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra competing for five star results.At the same time, a very welcome move by the Government of India, especially the Minister of Road Transport Nitin Gadkari, for introducing new vehicle safety standards that bring India in line with international best practice,” said Ward.
He added that over the years, government pressure as well as improved customer awareness of vehicle safety has pushed OEMs to improve vehicle safety standards.
Asked about the future of Global NCAP in India, he says the idea behind the “Safer Cars for India” initiative was to be an enabler for Bharat NCAP and not to replace it. Also, while the Bharat NCAP is expected to be operational by next year, Ward says Global NCAP will release test results for other cars in India until then.
Regarding Global NCAP’s role in the post-Bharat NCAP era, Ward says, “The important thing with NCAP is that they must always be above and beyond regulations. If every car gets five stars, that tells you the NCAP isn’t strong enough. NCAP is about hosting a competition that should be like the Olympics, getting a five star NCAP rating should be like winning a gold medal at the Olympics.