Toyota Kirloskar Motor is now joining the safety brigade in India. A lot has been written and many debates have been held on the issue of car passenger safety in our country. So Toyota has decided to pay attention to the government's directives and is now working on including safety features across its product line-up here.
Recently, TKM Senior Vice-President & Director marketing and Sales Division, N Raja has been quoted by PTI as saying, “We want to bring safety and create awareness on it. Even the consumers are also beginning to realise the need for safety features now. So, we have started offering airbags as standard across all model range in all the variants of our vehicles since January."
This statement reflects on the government’s plans as well. Despite being one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world, we in India lack the facilities. The safety levels, however, are much behind the standards followed in Europe and America.
The whole of car safety gained force earlier in 2014 after five popular small cars did not pass crash tests conducted by the UK-based car safety watchdog Global NCAP. It also led the government to come up with a proposal for the New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP), based on the United Nations NCAP which monitors and checks safety standards implemented by global automobile companies.
It has also has come out with a directive that every car sold in India will have to include basic safety measures such as airbags, anti-lock braking system, child restraint systems, seatbelt reminders and reinforced body structures. Once this standard has been implemented, car manufacturers will be required to comply with global road safety conventions, which are so conveniently ignored for lowering down prices.
He said although the government has been working on making airbags mandatory to enhance vehicle safety, it would take some time. But Toyota is working on it in order that they are in sync with the government’s directives.
He also added, "We want to be leaders in technology and safety. Our product prices have obviously gone up for sure, but we don't want to compromise on safety. Our aim is to offer value for money to our consumers.” He also said that the company's products would be at a premium compared to rivals in each of the segment it was present.
"The small car market which is about 75 per cent of the car market is maturing. With the awareness on safety issues increasing and regulations likely to come in the future, in three to four years the market will move up and that is where we want to be prepared for," he said.