Hyundai Creta’s Airbags Fail To Open; Rs 3 Lakh Penalty Imposed On Hyundai For This Failure

Hyundai Creta's Airbags Fail To Open; Rs 3 Lakh Penalty Imposed On Hyundai For This Failure
Hyundai Creta’s Airbags Fail To Open; Rs 3 Lakh Penalty Imposed On Hyundai For This Failure

While hearing a case between Hyundai Motor India Limited or HMIL and the owner of a Creta, the Supreme Court said that carmakers have to pay damages if airbags in their cars do not deploy.

What HMIL Owes 

It awarded damages of ?3 lakh to the car owner who suffered injuries as the airbags of his Hyundai Creta failed to deploy upon impact during an accident in 2017.

The court also directed the automaker to replace the vehicle, rejecting its defense that airbags open only on frontal impact.

Both the Delhi consumer court and the national consumer commission previously held the company guilty for the injuries.

Hidden Specifics

HMIL argued that the car was designed to deploy the front airbags only when the impact is severe and the impact angle is less than 30 degrees from the forward longitudinal axis of the vehicle. 

A bench of justices Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose said that airbags are meant to deploy to prevent injuries to those in the vehicle, particularly in the front seat.

It is a known fact that automakers try to dodge the blame for accidents by countering that the speed of the vehicle and force of the impact of the accident is not high enough to trigger the sensors of the airbags for their deployment.

In such cases, ” A consumer is not meant to be an expert in physics to calculate the impact of a collision on the theories based on velocity and force”, the justices remarked.

No Relevant Clause In Manual

The bench then said that the consumer, when buying a car with airbags, would assume that they would deploy whenever there is a collision from the front of the car.

The victim, Shailender Bhatnagar, said that he purchased the car, a Creta 1.6 VTVT SX+, on August 21, 2015 largely for its security features, namely the 2 airbags.

The manual did not mention any clause that airbags would not activate in every circumstance.

There was also no clause excluding the manufacturer’s liability. 

Injuries Suffered

On November 16, 2017 when the Creta driven by Bhatnagar on the Delhi-Panipat highway hit a truck, the airbags did not function and he sustained several injuries.

He suffered head, chest and dental injuries which he attributed to the non-deployment of airbags 

Justice Bose in his judgment wrote that the failure to provide airbags which would meet safety standards assumed by a buyer should be subject to punitive damages for a deterrent effect.

Compensation And Replacement

The SC also upheld the state and national consumer commission’s direction to the company to replace the car. 

The consumer forum divided the compensation under heads of medical expenses and income loss ( ?2 lakh), mental agony ( ?50,000) and cost of litigation ( ?50,000).

Failure of HMIL to replace the complainant’s car will attract an interest of seven per cent per annum of the value of the vehicle from the date of default.

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