Zero stars. Zero stars. The Datsun Go just received the grand total of No Stars At All for adults in its recent crash test by the Global NCAP safety group. That is both completely absurd and absolutely terrifying, all at the same time. This is exactly what went so horrifically wrong.
The $7,000 Indian-market Go is meant to provide cheap and reliable transportation for growing, upwardly mobile families, but apparently somewhere along the way between cheap and reliable Datsun (or rather, it's parent company Nissan) forgot to include "safe" as well.
Because of its failures, NCAP said that the little car carries with it a "a high probability of life-threatening injuries" in the event of an accident. And that somehow still seems like it's an understatement. Just watch the test below:
There are three main issues at work that led to the below-the-bottom-of-the-barrel safety rating. The first is that there are no anti-lock brakes. But maybe you shouldn't expect any in a car that costs less than a used Saabaru. The second is that there are no airbags, but again, maybe you shouldn't expect any in a new car that costs less than an incredibly regretful bender in Las Vegas.
But the third, and by far and away the biggest issue, is that the entire structure of the car completely crumpled like an accordion. As NCAP notes (via the South African Independent Online):
The failure of the body shell makes fitting an airbag redundant.
It doesn't matter if you surrounded yourself in a bodysuit made out of nothing but the world's fluffiest marshmallows. The accordion is the thing that would kill you, as your head slammed against the dashboard rapidly moving to meet with your face.
And no, dashboards are not normally supposed to do that.
It's gotten to the point that Global NCAP's Chairman, Max Moseley, yes, the Max Moseley from Formula One and... other things... wants Nissan to stop selling the Go:
As presently engineered the Datsun Go will certainly fail to pass the United Nation's [sic] frontal impact regulation. In these circumstances I would urge Nissan to withdraw the Datsun Go from sale in India pending an urgent redesign of the car's body-shell.
Now there is something to be said for the Indian market, and Max Moseley being involved. Mainly that the Indian market isn't as developed, automotive speeds are much slower, and people can't afford all that safety equipment. And that's great, when you don't consider that if you die in a car in India, you still die, and no, I can't believe I just had to write that sentence, either.
In fact, almost 250,000 people died on Indian roads in 2011, the most recent year in which data was available.
And yes, wherever Max Moseley goes, there tends to be scandal, and as the Daily Kanban points out, he'd stand to make money if India applied his NCAP standards to its market. So he's got some motivation here on calling this out.
But I'm not sure you can argue with the video of that test.
H/t to Sean!