The Euro NCAP has just released the results of crash tests that were conducted for heavy quadricycles. The organisation carried out tests on a number of models which include the India-made Bajaj Qute. Tests include frontal impact at 50kmph and side collision.
The organisation awarded two stars to the Chatenet CH30 (the highest) while the Bajaj Qute, Aixam Crossover GTR and Microcar M.Go Family scored a star each. These heavy quadricycles were tested on a different set of parameters, compared to conventional cars. The results, otherwise, would have been even worse. To highlight the difference between the safety offered by a heavy quadricycle and a microcar, Euro NCAP crash tested the Toyota iQ under similar conditions and awarded it five stars.
The organisation stated that there has been no improvement in the design and construction of heavy quadricycles, since the last tests in 2014. It says the level of protection offered to the drivers and passengers of these quadricycles is very low, which could lead to severe injury/death in case of a collision with other vehicles or objects. These heavy quadricycles lack basic safety systems such as airbags, ABS and proper impact absorbing crumple zones.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, said, ‚ÄúIt is disappointing to see that quadricycles are still lacking basic safety features that are common in small cars. By not challenging the manufacturers to do more, legislators continue to give a false impression to consumers that these vehicles are fit for purpose.‚ÄĚ
The results of the test indicate a serious lack of concern for safety of the drivers of these quadricycles, and Euro NCAP says that it‚Äôs about time that regulators and manufacturers work towards making these heavy quadricycles safer.
David Ward, director general, Global NCAP said, ‚ÄúEuro NCAP and Global NCAP are working in partnership to help draw policymaker and consumer attention to this category of badly performing and poorly regulated vehicles. Quadricycles have significant potential for sales in markets across the world and it‚Äôs essential that minimum safety standards are put in place and that consumers are made aware of their safety shortcomings, especially when compared with similarly sized passenger cars. We will be urging action on quadricycle safety through effective regulation in the United Nations World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations.‚ÄĚ
The Bajaj Qute may have scored a star but the evaluators noted that it was unstable in the frontal tests. The dummy‚Äôs head struck the steering wheel, which could lead to a fatal injury. Protection to the knee, femur and pelvis was also poor due to hard structures below the dashboard.¬†Spot welds on the Qute had given away and it would not withstand an impact at a higher speed. It must be highlighted that the frontal crash tests involved collision with a static object (for example a wall). If a heavy quadricycle were to crash, head on, into another moving vehicle, the degree of impact and resultant damage would be greater. In the side impact test, the door structure detached from the hinges. The attached press release by Bajaj states that the Qute scored a single star whereas cars like the Volkswagen Polo, Ford Figo and Hyundai Grand i10 failed to score even a single star. This claim by Bajaj is misleading since the parameters and test conditions were different for these cars, as stated before.
The Bajaj Qute is not on sale in India, since¬†rival companies have filed a case against introducing the Qute in the market, sighting safety concerns.
RECORD BREAKING BAJAJ QUTE EXPORTS VALIDATE EURO NCAP RATING
|th April 2016: Introduced in October 2015, the Bajaj Qute ended FY16 with a cumulative export of 334 units to 19 global markets ranging from Turkey and Russia to Indonesia and Peru.
With a strong positive reception in all markets without exception, production at Bajaj Waluj is being ramped up to export over 500 Qute in April 2016 alone.
Currently total exports for FY17 are estimated at 10000 units as the higher safety, lower emissions, and unparalleled fuel economy of the Qute finds favor amongst 2- & 3-wheeler consumers who desire these benefits but cannot afford a car.
Speaking of cars, in a recent Euro NCAP report, the Bajaj Qute was accorded a 1 (one) star rating, superior to the 0 (zero) star rating of popular cars including the VW Polo, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10, Maruti Alto, and Tata Nano.
Bajaj is further delighted to note that in its maiden endeavor at developing a quadricycle it has, by virtue of the Qute, matched the 1 (one) star rating of European quadricycles such as the Axiam Crossover, as also exceeded the 0 (zero) star rating of others including the Ligier IXO JS.
Even as Qute goes from strength to strength in its global markets, Bajaj continues to await clearance for the sales of Qute in India.