Since the new Auto Policy 2016-21 has been announced, the government is constantly trying to pursue new players particularly the European manufacturers to invest in Pakistan. News related to negotiations with companies including Volkswagen, Fiat, Nissan, Renault and Peugeot have kept surfacing the media. Gandhara Nissan as well as Dewan group is preparing for a comeback with Ssangyong range of vehicles taking advantage of the incentives given in the policy for the revival of closed/ non-operational units.
This has also pushed the existing Japanese trio to do something extra; Toyota finally started to offer immobilizer in most of its Corolla variants, while Pak Suzuki hinted the replacement of the aging Cultus with the Celerio hatchback by 2017.
There are a few cars which are expected to be launched in Pakistan in a year or so. Suzuki Celerio perhaps will be the first of the lot to be offered by Pak Suzuki. However an alarming video related to Celerio’s crash test surfaced earlier this year.
Most of the upcoming cars expected in Pakistan (Suzuki Celerio, Renault Kwid) are already available in India & each failed miserably in the Global NCAP crash test attaining a horrible zero star! The video below will show how badly these cars get damaged in event of a collision.
Commenting on the crash test results, David Ward, Secretary General of Global NCAP said,
“The latest SaferCarsforIndia results show how important it is for cars to have a body shell that can remain stable in a crash. This is an absolutely crucial pre-requisite for occupant safety together with fitment at least of front air bags. It is very surprising that a manufacturer like Renault introduced the Kwid initially lacking this essential feature. Global NCAP strongly believes that no manufacturer anywhere in the world should be developing new models that are so clearly sub-standard. Car makers must ensure that their new models pass the UN’s minimum crash test regulations, and support use of an airbag. We welcome Renault’s efforts to correct this and we look forward to testing another improved version with airbags. Renault has a strong record of achievement in safety in Europe and it should offer the same commitment to its customers in India.”
Despite being available for a very reasonable price packed with value-for-money features, these affordable cars were unable to score a single star when it comes to passenger safety. However when talking about cars that are available in Pakistan, such as the Cultus, Mehran, or the discontinued Cuore & Alto, one can imagine the result if these are crash tested as per international standards.
During the previous decade a couple of Chinese cars were launched in Pakistan, including the Chery QQ hatchback and Geely CK sedan. Both had a miserable crash test score, a zero star, just like the cars from reputable manufacturers posted above & were heavily criticized by our public for their poor crash-test rating. However it will now be interesting to see people opting for these cars (Celerio/ Kwid) despite knowing their awful crash test score, which is very much comparable to the score of Chinese cars from previous decade.
On the other hand there are certain cars available in our market which offers better safety for their occupants. Such as FAW V2, the 1300cc Chinese hatchback which comes with driver & passenger airbags, side protection beams, ABS+EBD etc and in just under PKR 1.1 million offers much more than even the expensive sedans available in our market. The CNCAP crash test score for the V2 hatchback is 3 stars, and comparing it with the above examples, the car can be considered as a better buy, when it comes to safety.
The pictures below were taken from Pakwheels forum, shows a crashed V2 having both of its airbags successfully deployed, does demonstrates the functional safety features of the car.
Auto Policy 2016-21 is a welcome step towards the betterment of the automobile industry of Pakistan. With the invasion of new players, the competition will develop which is good for the consumers as well as the progress of the industry. However the government should take more steps towards ensuring better, safer & economical options for the masses. This should include:
- Promote Eco-friendly cars in the country & implementing modern emission standards
- Ensure availability of better quality fuel in the country
- Regulatory framework for Road Transport/ Highways
- Governing the safety equipment provided in the vehicles/ mandatory crash testing
- Implementation of vehicle recalls
No automaker should be allowed to sell whatever they want to sell here. It is the responsibility of government to ensure strong check & balance and defining outlines within which automakers should be able to offer quality products. Also it is high time for consumers to prioritize safety equipment when opting for cars rather than paying outrageous amounts just for the sake of looks & resale of a vehicle. Having previously criticized Chinese cars about their failed crash tests, are we ready to welcome cars from renowned manufacturers with “zero” safety in Pakistan?