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Pakistan’s top cars don’t have airbags

Lahore High Court made their installation compulsory

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
Posted: Mar 4, 2021 | Last Updated: 7 months ago

Pakistan’s most popular cars don’t have a basic safety feature: airbags.

SAMAA Money looked up the features of Pakistan’s top cars and found that there were no airbags in automobile company Suzuki’s Rs4.5 million APV van, Rs2.2 million hatchback Swift, and hatchbacks Cultus VXR variant, Wagon R, and lowest Alto variant VX. The company’s commercial vehicles minivan Bolan and pickup Ravi also don’t have them.

The safety feature is missing in Honda’s best selling sedan City. The sedan’s top variant is priced at Rs2.86 million. Honda ranks behind Suzuki and Toyota in terms of selling the most number of cars.  

New car company Changan’s minivan Karvaan, which falls in the same category as APV, doesn’t have airbags too.

In February, the Lahore High Court directed the Engineering Development Board, which is the regulatory agency for the auto industry, to ensure car companies assemble cars with airbags.

“We have told the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association to submit their suggestions for vehicles that don’t include airbags and other safety features,” said EDB General Manager Asim Ayaz.

The association, which represents car manufacturing companies also known as OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), has been asked to submit its proposal by March 10, Ayaz added.

The EDB’s recommendations on safety features will be approved in the upcoming budget, he said. After this, a notification will be issued for car companies to implement them, including the installation of airbags.   

PAMA Chairperson Ali Asghar Jamali has been quoted saying that installation of airbags in cars will increase their prices in the country. Jamali is also the CEO of IMC Toyota.

What about the imported used cars?

Shah Mohammad, a car dealer on Khalid Bin Waleed Road, said that all imported used cars and commercial vehicles such as Mira and Hijet all have airbags.

“I haven’t seen a single Japanese used car in Pakistan without airbags,” said Mohammad, who owns the Shah Global Motors. 

All Pakistan Motor Dealers Association Chairperson Haji Mohammad Shahzad also said that all imported Japanese cars and other vehicles have airbags. 

The reliability of their safety airbags has, however, been questioned as many of the Japanese used cars coming to Pakistan have failed emissions and condition tests in Japan.

Many of those cars are overhauled when they arrive in Pakistan before being sold in the market.       

Why are airbags important?

Airbags are designed to minimise the impact of accidents. Research shows that people suffer major injuries without airbags. This is why they are considered an important feature across the globe.

Airbags, however, work best in combination with seat belts.

“There certainly should be airbags in all cars,” said Mohammad Ijaz, an automobile dealer. “But people should also wear their seatbelts while driving because airbags don’t go off until the safety belts aren’t buckled in properly.”

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