Renault’s India Hot Seller Scores Zero Stars in Crash Tests

  • Kwid fails to earn stars a second time, auto safety group says
  • Renault has built four versions of Kwid, seeking safety boosts

Renault SA’s Kwid minicar, one of the hottest-selling models in India’s auto market, scored zero stars in an auto safety group’s crash tests for the second time since its introduction last year.

The Kwid model earned zero stars for adult passenger protection in versions with and without air bags, the Global New Car Assessment Program said in a statement Tuesday. Renault produced about 5,000 units of the Kwid model most recently tested by the organization, and the initial version the company built last year also scored zero stars out of five, the group said.

Transportation safety has come under the scrutiny of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s pledged his government will introduce measures to reduce India’s average rate of one road death every four minutes. While Modi expressed his concerns in July, a draft road transport and safety bill has yet to be introduced to parliament.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.’s Celerio and Eeco, Hyundai Motor Co.’s Eon and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.’s Scorpio models each also scored zero stars, Global NCAP said in its statement.

Kwid Updates

All Renault models exceed safety standards set by Indian authorities, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The automaker said it’s committed to complying with crash-test regulations in India scheduled to take effect for new cars in 2017 and existing vehicles in 2019.

Mahindra’s vehicles are developed and manufactured to meet or exceed safety standards set in India and the automaker is committed to complying with all future norms, the company said in an e-mailed statement. It said the crash test was conducted on a variant of the Scorpio without airbags, while about 75 percent of the model’s buyers choose versions with the safety feature.

Hyundai said its vehicles are designed and built to meet safety norms set by Indian regulators. A representative of Maruti Suzuki didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comments.

Global NCAP said Renault has sought to improve the Kwid’s safety performance since its initial introduction last year, and the group hasn’t yet tested a fourth iteration of the model that began production earlier this month.

The Kwid, introduced in May 2015, was the only model in India’s minicar segment to post a sales gain last month, compared with March. The model, which starts from 262,113 rupees ($3,927), offers a driver-side air bag as an option, according to its website.

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