David Ward, secretary general of Global NCAP, the global automobile safety watchdog, has pledged that his organisation will eradicate all the cars that score zero stars by 2020.

Speaking to our sister publication Autocar UK, Ward said,“The current arguments being made by carmakers as to why they won’t meet minimum standards are absurd, and the regulators and consumers aren’t going to stand for it much longer.”

In recent years, cars – including those built by Datsun, Ford, Hyundai and Tata – have faced heavy criticism from the NCAP for failing to provide sufficient protection. UN regulation 924 sets out minimum standards for a 56.32kph crash, which according to Ward requires “A basic crash structure and a single airbag”. He claims that an estimated 20 percent of cars sold each year fail to meet the minimum UN-recommended crash standards.

“The argument put forward by some carmakers is that they have to build cheap cars to attract buyers away from motorbikes, but there is no actual evidence to support that assertion,” said Ward. “Car buyers deserve a basic standard of safety, and the cost of providing it is tiny – be it through better engineering of global platforms or investing as little as $50 in an airbag. The arguments against doing this are just absurd.”

Ward pointed to tightening regulations in emerging markets such as Brazil and India as being key in his organisation’s pledge to eradicate all zero-star cars from sale by 2020. He further added that with customers now having a growing understanding of what is required; carmakers that don’t offer the bare minimum will be left at a commercial disadvantage.

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