Bajaj claims its Qute is safer than cars like the VW Polo, but how safe is safe?

By Bob Rupani

We Indians can be very good at misrepresentation of facts. We are also past masters at twisting them to suit our own purposes. And now Bajaj appears to have done exactly that by claiming that in a recent Euro NCAP report, their Qute quadricycle was accorded a star rating superior to that of the VW Polo, Ford Figo, Hyundai i10, Maruti Alto, and Tata Nano.

Qute. Image courtesy Overdrive

Qute. Image courtesy Overdrive

The facts are somewhat different. The quadricycles were tested on a different set of parameters than regular cars, with the parameters for cars being far more stringent. Bajaj has conveniently not mentioned this. They have also ignored the fact that Euro NCAP has said that heavy quadricyles like the Bajaj Qute lack basic safety systems such as airbags, ABS and proper impact absorbing crumple zones. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, also said, “It is disappointing to see that quadricycles are still lacking basic safety features that are common in small cars. By not challenging the manufacturers to do more, legislators continue to give a false impression to consumers that these vehicles are fit for purpose.”

Despite this, why does Bajaj want to give the impression that the Qute is safer than many popular cars presently sold in India? The answer is quite simple. Just look at the last sentence of the statement put out by Bajaj, “Even as Qute goes from strength to strength in its global markets, Bajaj continues to await clearance for the sales of Qute in India.” Yes the Qute has not been cleared for sale in India due to safety concerns. By saying that it’s sold in global markets, Bajaj obviously wants to influence opinion and decision makers in India, to help clear the Qute.

Also what does “Goes from strength to strength in its global markets”, actually mean. In the very same release sent out by Bajaj they say, “The Qute ended FY16 with a cumulative export of 334 units to 19 global markets ranging from Turkey and Russia to Indonesia and Peru.” A total of 334 units, is that really going from strength to strength.

Yes, it could be if you consider the convenient fact that Bajaj only introduced the Qute in October 2015.

Bajaj are clearly miffed about the Qute not getting clearance. But does that justify twisting facts to try and influence opinion. I think not. A more logical way to fight the matter would be to ask, how have electric rickshaws that have no safety structure what so ever, or any proper body, been cleared by the authorities. Yes, that is the subject for another complete exercise in stupidity.


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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2016 22:15:31 IST

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