Tata Nano, other Indian small cars fail crash tests: safety body

NEW DELHI, January 31, 2014 (AFP) – The Tata Nano, billed as the world’s cheapest car, and a host of other top-selling small models from India have failed their first independent crash tests, a global safety group said Friday. The five entry-level vehicles — including the country’s best-selling small car the Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, as well as the Ford Figo, the Hyundai i10 and the Volkswagen Polo — scored no stars out of five for protection.

The tests, carried out by the New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), saw the basic models, all without airbags, driven at 64 kilometres an hour (40 miles) into a block simulating a head-on collision.

All would leave the driver facing life-threatening injuries.

“It’s worrying to see levels of safety that are 20 years behind the five-star standards now common in Europe and North America,” said the head of NCAP Global, Max Mosley, the former chief of international motorsport.

NCAP also tested the cars in a crash simulation according to United Nations standards — a frontal collision at the slightly slower speed of 56 kilometres an hour — and none of them passed.

Small vehicles are the biggest segment of the price-sensitive Indian car market, which is coveted by globa