The Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP) was launched on Tuesday, 22nd August, by Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways. Set to be implemented from October 1, 2023, this initiative aims to enhance car safety standards in India, focusing on vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes.
Speaking at the launch event, Gadkari emphasised that the Bharat NCAP will play a pivotal role in making India’s automobile industry “aatmanirbhar.” The Bharat NCAP car safety standard aligns with the government’s vision to make the country a global automobile hub.
The primary goal of the Bharat NCAP is to enhance road safety by awarding star ratings to cars based on their performance in rigorous safety tests. These tests evaluate both adult occupant (AOP) and child occupant (COP) safety, providing consumers with a simple way to compare the safety levels of different car models before making a purchase.
The tests will assess vehicle safety through front impact, side impact and side impact pole tests. While electric vehicles (EVs) are not currently part of the protocol, the government plans to include the EV segment in the near future. Notably, several manufacturers have already volunteered around 15-20 models for evaluation under the Bharat NCAP programme.
Manufacturers and importers will be required to submit an application (Form 70-A) to the designated agency under the government. After submission of Form 70-A, cars will be randomly selected for crash tests, which will involve representatives from both the manufacturer and the Bharat NCAP team. The test results will be shared with the manufacturer, followed by approval from the Bharat NCAP Standing Committee. The Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT), following the public disclosure of the crash test results, will carry out the publication and certification.
The Bharat NCAP test protocol will align with international NCAP rating agencies and include front impact, side impact and pole impact tests at a speed of 64 km/hour. The system of rating would take into account safety elements like the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and pedestrian protection measures for all cars in addition to crash testing. For features like front seat belt reminders and others, extra points will be, given.
Automakers react to India’s Car Safety Rating Programme:
Mr. Vikram Gulati, Country Head & Executive Vice President, Toyota Kirloskar Motor: “We appreciate the Government’s decision to introduce Bharat-NCAP and strongly believe that it is a step in the right direction. The decision comes at a time when consumers are looking at highest standards of safety and seeking for safer vehicles, which is steering purchase decision. In addition to empowering consumers, this will also help bring about greater awareness and further transparency by allowing them to know comparative safety aspects of various products on offer.
As far as TKM is concerned, human lives are the most important and safety is non-negotiable. We have always taken all measures to ensure that our offerings meet the highest standards in all respects. Looking ahead, we will continue to follow a holistic approach which includes making of ever safer cars, with advanced features, as well as focusing on safety educational activities.”
Mr. Myung-Sik Sohn, Chief Sales and Business Officer, Kia India: “BNCAP is an enhanced road safety movement that extends much beyond just safety ratings for cars. We wholeheartedly commend and will comply with the Government of India for its visionary approach to safety, encompassing both active and passive safety components. Aligned with the Atmanirbhar Vision of the Government of India, this move eliminates the need and associated costs of testing vehicles outside. It will also elevate the global reputation of products from India to the world with good ratings in a big way”.
Venkatram Mamillapalle, MD & CEO, Renault India: “The Government of India’s timely and historical introduction of Bharat NCAP showcases its dedication to safeguarding its citizens and advancing road safety.”
M&M President – Automotive Sector, Veejay Nakra said, “Safety has always been our top priority, which is evident in our products consistently receiving 5-star and 4-star Global NCAP (GNCAP) ratings. The launch of Bharat NCAP is a commendable initiative by MoRTH, and we believe it will further elevate the standards of vehicle safety in India.”
He further said, “We will continue to keep customers at the forefront of our journey of innovation and integrating safety with advanced technology while shaping a safer automotive future for India.”
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) President Vinod Aggarwal said the BNCAP initiative “will go a long way in educating customers in making informed purchase decisions, which would now be very strongly influenced by the safety parameters of the vehicle”.
“This programme will eventually help market forces push vehicle manufacturers to offer safer vehicles, with potential of bringing everlasting change in the attitude of customers during the purchase,” he said.
Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles Managing Director Shailesh Chandra said safety has always been at the core of the company’s DNA, and Bharat NCAP aligns perfectly with its commitment to deliver vehicles that prioritise the safety of customers.
Deloitte, Asia Pacific Partner & Consumer Industry Leader Rajeev Singh said Bharat NCAP is a big step forward in terms empowering customers to make conscious decision, make it easier for OEM’s to test vehicles faster and at lower cost, help design vehicles which are safer and eventually improve road safety.