The Indian version of the Renault Duster, sold as a Dacia in the UK, has scored zero stars in Global NCAP tests. NCAP has called it ‘disappointing,’ but we’d probably have to say that smashing your face against the steering wheel, which doesn’t have an airbag in standard form, would be a bit more than disappointing.
In the video above, you can clearly see how the driver headbutts the steering wheel during the frontal crash, and judging by the amount of front wheel displacement, he’s probably had his legs crushed, too.
With airbags equipped, the Indian Duster scored three stars, which is generally the minimum Dacia is happy with in Europe. The UK Dacia Duster in its basic form scored three when it was tested in 2011, but may have gained a star since then. Latin NCAP has reportedly scored the South American Duster four stars.
India is notorious for its relatively unsafe cars, with plenty having been rated with one or zero stars. Renault’s Indian-market Kwid scored zero in standard form and one star with safety options added. In short, it’s probably not somewhere you want to hire a car.
It’s a tough ask for manufacturers to include safety gear, though, in a market where price is paramount. The cost that would be added to the car would be significant, and that matters to the buyers out there. Just owning a car at all is an achievement for many people in India, so much like our own markets did, theirs needs time to mature. Safety kit will be added over time as people come to ask for it – and as they become willing to pay for it as well.
David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP, which would like all cars to be immediately stuffed with every conceivable safety aid, said:
“It is troubling that during the UN Road Safety Week we yet again encounter a zero-star car in our crash testing in India. Renault produces the Duster in a number of markets and yet it seems content to provide a version for India that falls so far short on safety.”
This obviously doesn’t affect the Dacia Duster in the UK, which is the company’s best-seller on these shores. Autocar quotes Renault UK as saying:
“Safety is of paramount importance for Renault and all of our vehicles meet or exceed the safety standards set by Indian Regulatory Authorities. India is continuing to increase safety standards and the Bharat NCAP is a positive step in that direction.
“Renault fully supports this initiative and we are prepared in terms of technology, design and engineering for enhanced safety for all our vehicles. The Indian government has announced that the crash test regulation for existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for new cars in 2017. Renault fully supports this.”