India should not promote large SUV sales such as Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Scorpio, says Global NCAP chief: Here’s why

While SUV sales in various sizes and dimensions are on the rise worldwide, including in India, the Global NCAP chief has expressed concern about this growing trend. In a recent statement, David Ward, the Global NCAP chief, cautioned that SUV sales in India should be slowed down to avoid repeating the mistake made by the United States of America in excessively promoting SUVs. Ward, in defense of his viewpoint, attributed SUVs as posing risks to pedestrians.

During the Global Road Safety Initiative meeting held by the Institute of Road Traffic Education, David Ward pointed out that SUVs pose more serious risks to pedestrians compared to conventional hatchbacks and sedans. He elaborated by explaining that due to their higher bonnets or hoods, SUVs cause more upper body injuries to pedestrians in the event of a collision. Consequently, pedestrian fatalities are more likely in collisions involving SUVs than other car body styles.

The surge in SUV trends and sales in India has raised concerns for the Global NCAP chief, especially given the country’s currently low traffic awareness. He believes that car manufacturers promoting an increased number of larger and heavier SUVs across various segments would adversely impact road safety, particularly for pedestrians and smaller vehicles.

Discouraging vehicles with higher bonnet positions

India should not promote SUV sales, says Global NCAP chief: Here’s why

Concluding his stance, the Global NCAP chief appealed to governments to discourage the sales of SUVs with higher bonnets. David Ward’s statement comes at a time when not only SUV sales are rising but also when road accidents are increasing. In 2022, nearly 1 lakh out of the total 1.68 lakh road accident fatalities involved two-wheeler riders and pedestrians.

SUVs have witnessed a significant surge in popularity among Indian car buyers in recent years. The rapid increase in sales of compact and midsize SUVs has resulted in a sudden decline in the sales of entry-level hatchbacks and compact sedans. Buyers increasingly prefer stretching their budgets to opt for SUVs. Carmakers are also capitalizing on this trend by introducing more models across SUV segments and launching sub-compact SUVs at prices comparable to conventional hatchbacks.

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