In the last fiscal year 2008-09, the Indian car industry
recorded a sale of 15 Lakh passenger vehicles that included cars and utility vehicles. But as per a new finding, these cars were never designed for Indian drivers.
All modern car manufacturers design their vehicles using information on average physical attributes of users. The study in this line is called anthropometric study which takes into consideration criterion like - height, weight and key physical specifications of the users.
It has come to light that Indian cars were designed using parameters of other countries. The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) based in Pune has revealed that car manufacturers in India are using vehicles designed for body structures that are not Indian. It has launched a study of Indian car manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra and Tata Motors. The results of the study are expected to be out in 2010.
These companies are known to use mannequins (dummies) based on specifications of U.S. Japanese, European or Korean. Note that all these dummies are from the home countries of car manufacturers like General Motors, Hyundai, Honda Motors, Suzuki and Volkswagen. Indian physical structure is not mentioned as there never has been such as study before. For India, these companies use their own perceptions and mix-match these dummies until they feel they have arrived at the Indian size and shape.
In the Indian automobile industry
, in the case of the India’s largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki, it has been learnt that they use dummies that were created for US or Japanese vehicles.
The biggest SUV manufacturer in India, Mahindra and Mahindra has highest selling utility vehicles like Scorpio, Bolero and the recently launched Xylo. All of them have been highly appreciated by their users. But Mahindra has its own way of designing vehicles for Indian user based on the data provided by SAE international, a global association of engineers from automotive, aerospace and heavy vehicle industries.
The study is very important as it throws new light on comfort of Indian road users, the designs help determine headroom, legroom, shoulder space, height of the seat, height of the pedal and angle of the seat. It also helps determine ergonomics, comfort and convenience to passengers. These aspects are vital for a wholesome car travel experience.
A few luxury cars allow features like adjustable driver’s seat for better driving comfort. But these options are very limited. It is only in some super luxury cars that numerous options are available, but they do not conform to Indian specifications.
Safety bench mark features like seat belt tensioning, air bags deployment and crumple zone are based on the crash tests. These tests are usually done using dummies designed for US. Most Indian car designs
uses US specification like 6 feet in height and 75 kgs in weight. Normally, this never fits to Indian size and shape.