31 Jan 2014
Suzuki Maruti Alto 800: India’s best selling car fails to meet minimum safety standard

The first-ever independent crash tests of some of India’s popular and important small cars have shown a high-risk of life threatening injuries in road crashes. All the cars selected by Global NCAP for testing in a frontal impact at 64km/h received zero-star adult protection ratings.

Read the full story: ”Crash tests show India’s cars are unsafe

In the Suzuki Maruti Alto 800, the vehicle structure proved inadequate and collapsed to varying degrees, resulting in high risks of life-threatening injuries to the occupants. The extent of the structural weaknesses in this model were such that fitting airbags would not be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury.

In the 64km/h NCAP test, the Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800 achieved a zero-star rating for its adult occupant protection. The vehicle structure was rated as unstable, increasing the risk of life-threatening injuries and making the car unsuitable for the fitment of airbags.

Using the child seats recommended by Suzuki-Maruti, the Alto 800 achieved a two-star rating for child protection.

The Alto 800 was also not able to meet the UN’s minimum safety requirements in the 56km/h crash test.

Download the full crash test report here: Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 crash test report

Taken together the results highlight the vital combination of both sound structural integrity and air bags as standard equipment. These features are the sure way to exceed the minimum UN crash test standard at 56km/h. They also offer adequate levels of protection in a higher speed crash at 64km/h, the speed most commonly used by independent consumer crash test programmes.

Rohit Baluja, President of India’s Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) said: “These results show that India would benefit enormously from the introduction of minimum crash safety standards and clearer information for consumers about the protection new cars offer. Many cars made in India for export meet these standards already, so it’s not a question of know-how or capability: India’s automobile industry just needs the right incentives. With the UN’s minimum safety standards and clear information for consumers, India can produce cars that are every bit as good as those in Europe and the US.”