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April 26, 2022

India To Require Six Airbags In New Cars Despite Pushback From Automakers

The Indian government is pushing ahead to improve the safety of its new cars to a point that it actually surpasses the standards of areas such as ASEAN.

According to a Reuters report, India’s road transport ministry will require all passenger cars sold there to have six airbags, despite resistance from some carmakers which say it will increase the cost of vehicles.

Last January, India issued draft guidelines requiring all new cars sold from October 1, 2022 onwards to be fitted with six airbags as standard. This includes four passenger airbags and two side or curtain airbags. It was expected to finalize the rules a month later, but carmakers over there seem to be dribbling the issue.

Maruti-Suzuki, India’s biggest carmaker says such a rule will make small cars more expensive, and drive away some potential buyers who cannot afford to shell out more for a vehicle. Sales of small cars have already declined during the pandemic.

Maruti-Suzuki makes the S-Presso micro SUV which scored a zero rating at its Global NCAP test. The same vehicle is exported to the Philippines.

The Indian government estimates adding four more airbags would cost no more than USD 75 (3,921), however, estimates by carmakers say it could increase costs by as least USD 231 (P 12,076). The amount could be more if engineering changes need to be made to accommodate the additional airbags.

Some companies export cars with additional airbags but the models they sell in India only meet the minimum requirements. Also, top-end variants of cars are typically fitted with four or more airbags but the base models usually have just one or two, forcing people to pay more for their safety.

The ministry estimates that having airbags, along with seat belts, would have saved the lives of at least one-third of the 39,000 people who died in road accidents in 2020 due to head-on or side collisions in India.

Should ASEAN follow India’s lead in implementing stricter safety standards?


  1. All vehicles should have at least 6 airbags. Many carmakers are overpricing their vehicles anyway, so they should shoulder the cost.

  2. Here in the Philippines, Hyundai is still manufacturing Accent Sedans with NO airbags.
    As for Kia Ph, I think the company is still selling a Picanto variant w NO airbag for the front passenger.
    Simply NO regard for the safety of customers.


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