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According to Global NCAP, SA versions of the Suzuki S-Presso score three stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection. Picture: SUPPLIED
According to Global NCAP, SA versions of the Suzuki S-Presso score three stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) and the Automobile Association of SA (AA) have released the  results of the #SaferCarsForAfrica campaign under its current test protocols, with the support of the FIA Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. The campaign was launched by Global NCAP in 2017 with the objective of promoting safer vehicles across the African continent.

As from next month the assessment protocols will be updated to include side impact, electronic stability control , and pedestrian-protection requirements. The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso, manufactured in India, scored three stars for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.

The model was previously tested by Global NCAP for the Indian market in 2020 and scored a zero star rating for adult occupant protection and two stars for child occupant protection.

After reports that the version of the car sold in SA had a better safety performance, Global NCAP decided to put the claims to the test. The S-Presso in SA is fitted with two airbags as standard. During the assessment the S-Presso structure demonstrated an unstable performance and the driver’s chest showed a weak protection level, marginally avoiding a two star rating. Levels of child occupant protection showed the same performance as the version sold in India.

The lack of ISOFIX anchorages, lack of a three-point belt in all seating positions and the decision of Suzuki Maruti not to recommend a child restraint system explain the poor child occupant protection score.

Alejandro Furas, secretary-general of Global NCAP, said: “The safety performance of the S-Presso in SA has been far from satisfactory and claims of improvement are not reflected in levels of child occupant protection which remain the same as the Indian version we tested in 2020.

“There has been significant progress with vehicle safety in the Indian market with a welcome requirement for the fitment of six airbags as standard. We hope that Maruti Suzuki will not apply a double standard for the vehicles they sell in Africa compared to those sold in India.”

“As our current test protocols come to an end in Africa it is important to see manufacturers continue their commitment to high standards of vehicle safety,” said David Ward, executive president of the Towards Zero Foundation.  “Some continue to do well, but we remain disappointed with others. Sadly, Maruti Suzuki falls into this latter category, where the rhetoric on safety is simply not matched by the reality.”

AA CEO Willem Groenewald said: “While the adult occupancy result for the S-Presso is encouraging there is room for improvement, especially in relation to the child protection rating. The safety of motorists in SA is critical and we welcome the visible efforts by manufacturers in this regard and urge them to continue investing in this important facet of their production.”

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