Country’s largest passenger vehicles maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) on Wednesday said the company meets all the safety norms under the Indian regulations and does not have to meet the requirements of independent organisations like Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP).

“Global NCAP is an organisation and not a regulator...The Indian regulations and the European regulations are exactly the same in frontal offset norm, side impact norm and pedestrian impact norm. India is at par with Europe in crash test norms and we are already there (meet the norms),” Kenichi Ayukawa, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MSIL, said on the sidelines of the new Baleno launch.

Ayukawa said it is up to the customer who decides what to buy.

“The parts/ features have grown in the cars today and the new Baleno has six air bags (in the top two trims), high tensile steel, hill-hold assist, ABS, EBD and we have given the flexibility of choice to the customer. So we have the best of both worlds – safety and features – all after getting feedback from the customers,” Ayukawa said.

On competitors like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra getting four/ five-star ratings in crash tests at Global NCAP, Ayukawa said the market is open and the customer decides at the end what to buy.

“We leave it to the customer...it is the customer’s decision to buy the product or not. If the customer feels that the cost is higher than their expectations, they wouldn’t buy. It is simple and that is the solution. The decision makers make decisions, but economically what is feasible to customers is decided by the customers,” he added.

In the past, Maruti’s best selling cars like Alto (zero), S-Presso (zero), WagonR (2-start) and Swift (2-start) have got poor ratings at Global NCAP in adult (front row) safety rating. Only Vitara Brezza (4-star) and Ertiga (3-star) have better ratings. However, the recent launches by Tata Motors like Punch and Altroz have five-star ratings, and M&M’s XUV300, XUV700 too have five-star ratings. But, one of its best selling SUV, Scorpio has a zero rating from Global NCAP.

MSIL launched the new-age Baleno premium hatchback priced between ₹6.35 and ₹9.49 lakh (ex-showroom). While the manual trims of the model are priced between ₹6.35 lakh and ₹8.99 lakh, the automatic variants (with auto gear shift technology) are priced at ₹7.69 lakh to ₹9.49 lakh.

The auto major, along with its vendor partners, has invested around ₹1,150 crore in developing the new Baleno. MSIL said it has received bookings of 25,000 Baleno so far since it opened for bookings on February 10 adding that it can also be owned through Maruti Suzuki Subscribe at an all-inclusive monthly subscription fee starting from ₹13,999.

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