Premium hatchback Baleno, which is produced by Suzuki at its Gujarat-based plant, has received zero stars in the crash test conducted by vehicle safety group Latin NCAP.
Five stars indicate the highest score, while zero star rating points to the minimum score during the vehicle crash test.
The popular compact car achieved 20.03 per cent in adult occupant box, 17.06 per cent in child occupant box, 64.06 per cent in pedestrian protection and vulnerable road users box and 6.98 per cent in safety assist box, Latin NCAP said in a statement.
The zero stars result is explained by the poor side impact protection, low whiplash score, lack of standard side head protection airbags, lack of standard ESC (electronic speed control) and the decision of Suzuki to not recommend child restraint systems (CRS) for the test, it added.
Baleno was tested in frontal impact and side impact, whiplash and pedestrian protection.
In the frontal impact the model showed stable structure performance while the side impact test showed high intrusion in the door with poor protection to the chest of the adult during the test. Whiplash test showed marginal neck protection.
“Baleno’s zero star is part of an ongoing disappointment, after Swift’s zero star rating some weeks ago. With specially poor safety performance in adult and child occupant protection on offer from Suzuki as standard to Latin American consumers,” Latin NCAP Secretary General Alejandro Furas stated.
Latin NCAP calls on Suzuki to significantly improve the standard safety equipment on the model as soon as possible for it to be tested to demonstrate the improvements, he added.
“Basic vehicle safety, which is taken for granted in mature markets, is a right that Latin American consumers should claim without having to pay extra for them,” Furas noted.
Latin NCAP Chairman Stephan Brodziak said: “It is unfortunate to have another zero stars car from Suzuki, in this case the Baleno model, which in some countries is marketed as ‘Good, Nice, Baleno’, to which we should add ‘Low safety’.”
Suzuki Motor Gujarat (SMG), a 100 per cent subsidiary of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation, rolls out the Baleno from its Ahmedabad-based plant for exports as well as to cater to the requirements of Maruti Suzuki India in the domestic market.
Barring exports, all automobiles produced by SMG are supplied to Maruti Suzuki India.
When contacted over the issues, a Maruti Suzuki spokesperson said: “Safety is of paramount importance for customers and hence sovereign governments define the applicable norms for their country keeping in view country infrastructure, market and consumer context. All cars sold in any country meet the prescribed norms defined by government agencies.