On October 3, Hyundai India announced that its entire portfolio of 13 car models will now offer 6 airbags as standard fitment in all variants. Electronic Stability Control too has gone standard in 10 models and even high-end safety features such as ADAS, are being offered in 5 of its models. We asked Puneet Anand, AVP & Vertical Head, Corporate Affairs Unit, Hyundai Motor India Limited, the reason behind this preemptive push towards safety while competing brands are not burdening their own sales figures with the added cost of 6 airbags and other safety functions. Anand told TOI Auto, “In 2022, the government issued a notification saying that by October 2023, 6 airbags will be mandatory for all new cars in India. While it was still a draft notification, it triggered other OEMs to claim that this is not right and will lead to increased costs, however, Hyundai India has always thought in a different way. We realised that if the government has expressed such an intention, then why not start working towards that direction. We have a big portfolio, thirteen cars in our lineup, so we are confident and happy to say that from October 1, irrespective of the government passing its mandate, all Hyundai cars will have 6 airbags as standard.”
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Anand further summarised Hyundai India’s safety first strategy by saying that the carmaker is not only talking the language of the government, it is also understanding what the Indian consumers want. Even in rural markets today, Hyundai reports that 80 percent of its orders are placed for the top-end trims of its offerings. This includes the ADAS variants of premium offering such as the Verna as well. Another milestone that Hyundai India achieved on October 3, was scoring a 5 star crash safety rating for the Verna sedan from Global NCAP. While the safety ratings are definitely a win, it is also memorable as the Verna is the last Made-in-India car to be assessed by GNCAP.
This is because from October 1, the Bharat NCAP crash safety program has been incorporated into the Motor Vehicle Act of India as well. “We had submitted the Verna for GNCAP testing even before BNCAP norms came into effect from October 1. It has performed in the crash tests and scored a 5-star rating. Now that BNCAP norms are in place, GNCAP will not be accepting anymore cars from Indian automakers as the results would then clash, Hyundai was steadfast and ahead of the game here as well. We are confident of getting favourable star ratings for all our models under BNCAP norms as well. Right now BNCAP is a voluntary program and not mandatory. Even then, if any car is doing more than 30,000 units in a year then it should pass BNCAP norms. In our case most of our cars do high volumes and we will gradually get all our vehicles BNCAP tested once the program starts.” Anand told TOI Auto.
Puneet Anand, AVP & Vertical Head, Corporate Affairs Unit, Hyundai Motor India Limited
Puneet Anand also stated that while the country is now progressing in passive safety areas such as airbags as standard, the next wave would be the democratisation of ADAS features on a global scale as nations move towards autonomous driving. “We are already offering 5 cars with ADAS, one even gets ADAS as standard, which is the Ioniq. Then we have Tucson, Verna, Venue and Venue N-line. We have already announced that by 2024, the number of ADAS cars will grow to eight and subsequently grow to all thirteen cars.” He further said that this is possible because ADAS will also get cheaper as adoption levels increase.