The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, frequently discusses new ways to grow the Indian car market. Nitin Gadkari is also famous for making significant decisions for this sector, whether it is 100 percent electrification, switching to alternative fuels such as CNG or ethanol, or standardizing emission standards.
Now that the Union Minister has mandated the mandatory installation of two airbags in all four-wheelers, Nitin Gadkari is planning to mandate the installation of six airbags in all cars. India is a price-sensitive market where even a little change in pricing impacts sales of the entry-level model.
6 airbags across all variants
As of now, six airbags are standard on most high-end vehicles priced over Rs 10 lakhs. In lower segment cars, there are only two airbags. Gadkari encouraged all manufacturers to include at least six airbags as standard equipment on all variations of each model manufactured, regardless of body design or segment.
The minimum two airbag rule has to take effect on 31st August 2021 but gets delayed until 31st December 2021. As a result of this new regulation, all cars sold in India, including those in the lower segment, required at least two airbags, as some of these vehicles previously had no airbags.
These airbags are only available in the driver and co-passenger seats, leaving rear passengers unprotected. Gadkari has urged a minimum of six airbags to ensure passenger safety.
Customers will have to spend extra money
Adding four additional airbags for the back seat passenger costs Rs 8,000 and Rs 9,000. A standard airbag costs roughly Rs 1,800, while structural changes cost around Rs 500. It will add to the cost of additional equipment and labor. Adding six airbags to the entry-level model will add roughly Rs 30,000 to the cost.
For passenger safety, Nitin Gadkari asked all private carmakers to have a minimum of 6 airbags in all models in August last year and urged to make airbags mandatory. Additionally, the effort supports Global NCAP's 'Safer Cars for India' campaign and encourages an Indian culture of safe driving. In reality, many developed markets do not need side airbags, despite their importance in crash tests and safety.