Indian minister says no need to make six airbags mandatory in cars


New Delhi (Reuters) – India’s road transport minister on Wednesday said there was no need to make it mandatory for carmakers to install six airbags in cars after the introduction of its new crash test rules.

India has the world’s deadliest roads and had planned to enforce the strict airbags requirement to improve safety and reduce fatalities.

Minister Nitin Gadkari said last year he would make it mandatory for all passenger cars to have a minimum of six airbags from Oct. 1, 2023, a year later than originally planned because of opposition from some carmakers.

However, the proposal was not finalised and the minister now sees no need to make it mandatory.

“Now people are cautious. Whatever models have six air bags, people may prefer to take that car. It’s up to the manufacturers and people to decide,” he said at an automotive conference in New Delhi.

Two airbags – one each for the driver and front passenger – are already mandatory. But the proposal for more airbags to be fitted had faced resistance, with Maruti Suzuki (MRTI.NS) saying it could drive up prices and deter buyers.

The government last year estimated that the addition of four more airbags would cost no more than $75 per vehicle, but auto market data provider JATO Dynamics said it would raise costs by at least $231.

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