Maruti Suzuki served legal notice on non-functioning airbags in Swift Dzire

 | May 09,2011 12:20 pm IST

Leading car maker Maruti Suzuki has been served with a legal notice to explain why the safety airbags in a Swift Dzire model, meant to open during collisions, failed to function during a specific accident.


A legal officer of the Indian Army, Major Rahul Soni, served the notice to the company after his Swift Dzire ZDi met with an accident Dec 8 last year.

The car is equipped with two airbags that are supposed to prevent injuries during an accident.


The special feature makes the model Rs.1.5 lakh costlier.


The airbags were supposed to open at the time of a collision but Soni complained none of the two airbags in his car opened during an accident and the two people inside it were seriously injured.


Soni's younger brother, his friend and the driver were inside the car when an accident took place on National Highway 8, some 10 km away from Himmatnagar towards Rajasthan.


A roadways bus entered the highway from the side road and then suddenly stopped in the middle of the road. The driver of the car, who was blowing the horn to alert the bus applied brakes but failed to prevent the car from banging into the bus.


The collision was very strong and the airbags failed to open, resulting in serious injuries to the driver and Surana, the friend of Soni's brother, who was sitting next to the driver's seat.


"The company has already responded to the customer reiterating under what conditions the SRS airbags will not deploy," a spokesperson for the company said in an e-mail response to queries from IANS. "It seems that in this case, the accident occurred in such conditions where the SRS airbags would not deploy."


The company said these conditions were clearly mentioned in the owners manual and service booklet supplied to the customer at the time of delivery of the new vehicle. "These have been clarified in the company's response dated 5th April to customer."


According to Soni, it was irresponsible engineering by Maruti Suzuki.


"It is a total failure of the security system of the car which could lead to very severe results. I paid Rs.1.5 lakh extra to get this model of car for safety reasons. But it hardly worked for me," Soni told IANS.


He added that after the first legal notice was served Dec 10, 2010, the company replied that nothing could be done and if the air bags failed to open the company could not be held responsible.

Soni said he had even sent his car for service in an authorised Maruti service showroom just a day before the accident took place.


"I told the workers there the car has to go on a long route. They gave me the car with the assurance everything is fine. I don't understand the reason why the air bags failed to open. And if they did not then who is to be held responsible, if not the company," he said' "I am going to file the case in the consumer court in a couple of days. All the legal formalities have been done. The company's answer to my notice has been unsatisfactory."