03 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen India equips all new Polos with airbags after Global NCAP results

2014 Volkswagen Polo (India): Global NCAP crash test – airbags

All new variants of the Polo sold in India will now have dual front airbags as standard, after a non-airbag equipped version failed a Global NCAP crash test. The Polo, along with four other models – including the previous generation Fiesta-based Ford Figo – failed a 64km/h crash test and received zero-star adult protection ratings.

Volkswagen will be the first manufacturer to offer the safety kit as standard on a model in the small car segment. Mid-range Comfortline models will also receive anti-lock brakes (ABS) as standard.

The first-ever independent crash tests of a selection of India’s popular and important small cars displayed a high risk of life-threatening injuries in road crashes.

The best-selling Suzuki-Maruti Alto 800, Tata Nano, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Polo took part in the Global NCAP tests. With a market share of around 20 per cent of total car sales in India last year, these five models were chosen in entry-level form, meaning none were fitted with airbags.

The Suzuki-Maruti, Tata and Hyundai models proved to have inadequate vehicle structures, collapsing and resulting in life-threatening injury risks to passengers. Such was the extent of these weaknesses, the fitting of airbags would not have been effective.

The Ford and Volkswagen cars fared better, though, with bodies that remained in a stable condition. The tests found that if airbags were fitted, occupant protection would be greatly increased.

2014 Volkswagen Polo (India): Global NCAP crash test – no airbags

Volkswagen India’s decision to withdraw the non-airbag equipped Polo meant that it had to resupply a model to Global NCAP to reassess the version with the safety protection, as that would now represent an entry-level model. The variant with airbags received a four-star rating from the independent testing organisation.

Arvind Saxena, Managing Director, Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Volkswagen Group Sales India Pvt Ltd said: ‘We are proud to be leading the cause of driver safety, and we believe the introduction of airbags as standard fitment across all variants of the Polo is a major step forward. Once again, this step underlines our commitment to producing better – and better-equipped cars – for the discerning Indian consumer.’

At the same time, the German manufacturer announced a 2.7 per cent price increase on its Indian Polo and Vento (Polo saloon) models. Effective from 1 February 2014, Polo prices rise by Rs 22,700 and Vento models will cost up to Rs 26,800 more. Volkswagen India puts the price increase down to high input costs and unfavourable exchange rate changes.

Saxena commented: ‘Input costs have steadily increased over the last few months, and exchange rate movements have not been favourable. We have tried our best to absorb some of these, but in order to be able to continue to offer best-in-class quality and technology to our customers, we have now announced a 2.7 per cent rise in our car prices.’

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