Due to the recent increase in car accidents, people are now more concerned about safety. The installation of airbags in every vehicle is one of the concerns.
The LHC notice read:
“Dear manufacturers must install airbags in every vehicle.”
To which the CEO of Toyota Indus Motor Company (IMC) has replied:
“Sure, but we need time to do that, also, adding airbags will increase the car prices.”
However, despite the directive, automakers have continued to sell several of their models without airbags, which is adding to the risk of fatal or near-fatal accidents. Moreover, despite being priced well over Rs. 2 million, the Suzuki Swift and the Honda City lack airbags, and the airbags in numerous vehicles are often faulty.
The CEO of Toyota Indus Motors and Chairman of the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers’ Association (PAMA), Ali Asghar Jamali, made a guest appearance on a morning show. The Toyota CEO answered a few common questions related to the airbag safety feature in Pakistani cars. Here’s the full discussion.
Q&A with Jamali
The Q&A session with Jamali, the CEO of Toyota Indus Motors, started with some basic questions and ended with real talk.
How many cars in Pakistan have airbags?
Toyota IMC’s entire car lineup has dual airbags. 80% of the Honda Atlas car lineup has airbags. 50% of the Pak Suzuki car lineup has airbags.
How many cars under Rs. 1.5 million have airbags?
Most of the cars under Rs. 1.5 million come with airbags. Some in the 800cc and below segment lack this safety feature.
What about the cars worth over Rs. 2 million? They all have airbags?
Yes, all cars over Rs. 2 million have airbags. Take Suzuki Swift as an example; you find an airbag in Swift.
Why do cars have faulty airbags, and who is responsible?
Just like many other car units, Pakistani auto manufacturers import airbags from other countries. As per the companies’ expectations, all the imported units are of the same quality. Some turn out to be otherwise, but that’s not on the local car manufacturers. We cannot test all the airbags to see which ones are fine and which ones are faulty. The best we can do is offer our customers, who have the misfortune of faulty airbags in their cars, to replace the car part for free.
What are your thoughts on LHC’s order? Will auto manufacturers act upon it?
The Lahore High Court had instructed the Engineering Development Board (EDB) to develop legislation for the installation of airbags in cars. However, the automakers received no legal notice from the government. Still, we heard the news and tried to prepare for the order.
However, the installation of airbags in every vehicle on such short notice is impossible. So, the manufacturers need time to make this happen, and when we do, car prices will go up.
Matter of Fact
The bitter pill to chew is, not all of the cars over Rs. 2 million have airbags, especially Suzuki Swift. Moreover, the way Mr. CEO talks about more price hikes is unfair to the public in all manners.
Share your thoughts in the comments!