Taking a serious note on car users’ safety, the Guwahati High Court has banned the launch and sale of small cars that don’t meet crash-test norms in the state, reports ET Auto
The court in the interim order said:
“The Centre is directed not to permit the auto manufacturers to release and sell the small four-wheelers with a mass up to 1,500 kg and quadricycles without putting them to crash test and emission test.”
The popular models such as Maruti Suzuki’s Alto and Swift, Hyundai Motor Company’s i10 and EON and Honda Motor Company’s Jazz amongst other 140 models are affected by it.
The sales and registration of the small cars have been stopped. However, the order is not applicable to sports utility vehicles, which are bigger and have enough capacity to absorb impact and ensure passenger safety.
The petitioners said crash tests such as the Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), which are followed in Europe and developed markets, should apply to cars sold in Assam because higher safety standards are required in mountainous regions. Though cars manufactured in India are required to meet frontal crash test norms, many vehicles failed the more stringent frontal offset crash tests conducted by global testing agency NCAP last year.
The ban is a blow to automobile industry especially since the automobile market grew 7% in the first four months of this financial year after two consecutive years of decline.
Northeastern states account for 12% of car sales in the country in which Assam has the highest sales.
Car companies are putting up their cases individually and through its apex body, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). A senior auto executive said:
“There is no case for stopping sale and registration of cars as we are meeting all the mandated frontal crash test norms. There is ambiguity on global crash norms that are currently not applicable in India. Companies have time till 2017, when India adopts these standards and all manufacturers would have to comply.”