Background The first crash tests of five brands of the most popular small cars from India were released by Global NCAP in early 2014 showing that very unsafe cars are being marketed in India. This prompted an in-depth look into the advertisings behind the vehicles sold in India and their role in promotion of safety features
Methods We surveyed the print advertisements and TV commercials for safety content, and the pricing policy for offering safety technology, of six major automobile manufacturers of India. The observations were coded on a numerical scale and graded based on the safety features advertised, along with the selling price at which these features are available.
Results For TV advertisements scores ranged from 0.83 to −1.3 (on a scale of +1 to −8). Similarly for print advertisements scores ranged from 1.5 to 0 (on a scale of +4 to −3). Mainly because features like airbags and ABS were not offered in the base model of vehicles under UD $ 12000. These safety features were available in higher end models of the same vehicle usually bundled with high end trims which had a price difference of US $ 1500–2000 from the base model. As a positive sign though most TV commercials showed adult passengers wearing seat belts and children were usually shown in the backseat.
Conclusions Our study show that at present the Indian manufacturers are not promoting safety issues or their safety technology in any significant manner in their print advertisements or TV commercials. When safety features are offered as options they force the consumer to spend more than US $ 1500 extra. Reliable industry sources inform us that these features should not cost more than US $ 250 or less. The Global NCAP results inform us in a graphic manner that very unsafe cars are being marketed in India in the knowledge of the manufacturers and government officials. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Indian Government to announce strict crashworthiness standards for cars sold in India.
- vehicle safety
- safety advertising
- pricing policy
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