India to have Cars with 6 Airbags as Standard

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Government of India has mandated the inclusion of 6 airbags as standard equipment on all new vehicles on sale from October 2022. India’s minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has approved general statutory rules that 6 airbags will be made compulsory for private vehicles carrying up to 8 passengers (M1 category). Currently all new cars in India must come equipped with 2 (driver & passenger) airbags as standard.

According to Gadkari, this will ensure the safety of passengers across all segments, irrespective of the cost or variant of the vehicle. In his tweet, the minister said:

“To minimize the impact of frontal and lateral collisions to the occupants seated in both front and rear compartments, it has been decided that four additional airbags be mandated in the M1 vehicle category: two side/side torso airbags and two side curtain/tube airbags covering all outboard passengers. This is a crucial step to make motor vehicles in India safer than ever.”

The move is expected to increase the cost per vehicle by INR 8,000 and INR 10,000 (PKR 19,030 to PKR 23,790), with higher increases possible for vehicles with lower sales volumes. On the other hand, as per reports the automakers aren’t satisfied with the government’s decision to add the number of mandatory airbags citing that there will be an additional cost to the cars because of the additional features and that will impact decision-making of people who want to shift from two-wheelers to cars. The Indian government however, has dismissed this dissatisfaction saying that cars made in India for export to Europe have at least 6 airbags already. According to a government official:

“It’s a matter of shame that we have to come out with regulations for safer cars. In Europe, carmakers are providing more airbags to get the maximum safety rating and to retain their share in the market. Secondly, the manufacturers exporting cars to Europe and other countries already have the technologies with them and hence, they can scale it up quickly.” 

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