The MD of Volkswagen Passenger Cars in India tells Vikram Chaudhary that the Polo equipped with airbags is the safest hatchback in its segment, and that the Taigun will be a game-changer for the brand
Last week it was reported that some of the most popular compact cars sold in India—Alto 800, Nano, Figo, i10 and Polo (without airbags)—failed crash tests done by Global NCAP, an independent charity based in the UK. In fact, these cars received zero for adult protection ratings in a frontal impact at 64 kmph, showing high risk of life-threatening injuries in road accidents. Almost immediately, Volkswagen announced dual front airbags as standard fitment on all variants of the Polo. So when I meet Arvind Saxena, the managing director of Volkswagen Passenger Cars in India, at the Auto Expo 2014, the first thing I ask him is: “Was the decision to introduce airbags in all variants of the Polo taken as a damage-control in response to the Global NCAP test?”
“Please understand that any decision of adding or deleting a specification in a car is taken at least a year in advance by any manufacturer. It was simply a coincidence that the time the Global NCAP test results for Indian small cars were made public, we also announced that the Polo will get dual front airbags as standard equipment,” Saxena says, adding, “In fact, we are proud to be leading the cause of driver safety, and we believe the introduction of airbags as standard fitment in the Polo is a major step forward in the context of safety. This step underlines our commitment to producing better cars—and better-equipped cars—for the discerning Indian consumer. Soon enough, all variants of the Vento will also get airbags as standard.”
“So, the Polo you now offer is the safest hatchback in the segment?” I ask.
“Do you know that at the same time the news about the most popular compact cars failing safety tests appeared, there was another report that said the Polo is the safest hatchback in its segment?” Saxena tells me, as I go through a press release that reads: “With dual front airbags, the Volkswagen Polo secured a four-star safety rating for adult occupant protection, in crash tests conducted by Latin NCAP … this is the highest safety rating for any car in the premium hatchback segment in the country.”
In fact, during a recent road safety conference in Delhi, Global NCAP