31 Jan 2014
Volkswagen withdraws zero-star without airbags – dual airbag version earns four-star rating

The Volkswagen Polo featured in the first-ever independent crash tests of some of India’s popular and important small cars. 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

The Volkswagen Polo had a structure that remained stable – and, therefore, with airbags fitted, protection for the driver and front passenger would be much improved. Coinciding with the Global NCAP tests, Volkswagen has decided to withdraw the non-airbag version of the Polo from sale in India. Because of this, Global NCAP agreed to a request from VW to assess a version of the Polo that has two airbags fitted as standard as from now. Other manufacturers had the same opportunity. The protection proved much better and this airbag-equipped model received a four-star rating for adult occupant protection.

Read the crash test results for both versions here:

VW Polo with airbags crash test report

VW Polo without airbags crash test report

In the 64km/h NCAP test, the Volkswagen Polo without airbags achieved a zero-star rating for its adult occupant protection. The vehicle structure was stable, but without safety equipment such as airbags, dummy readings indicated a high risk of life-threatening injuries.

With two airbags (driver and front passenger), the Volkswagen Polo achieved a four-star rating for adult occupant protection in the 64km/h NCAP test. Thanks to the airbags, the protection offered to the driver and passenger head and neck was good.

Using the child seats recommended by Volkswagen, the Polo achieved a three-star rating for child protection.

Without airbags, the Polo was not able to meet the UN’s minimum safety requirements in the 56km/h crash test.

Global NCAP advises consumers to check carefully which version of the Polo they buy.

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.”