Several of India's most popular small cars have failed independent crash tests, a global car safety watchdog has said.

India, which is currently the world’s sixth largest car market, does not have a car safety regulation and testing programme of its own.

On Friday, David Ward of the London-based Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), said the "auto industry in India lacks adequate safeguards".

Live Box 2013927135832671882

The Tata Nano, Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 and Hyundai i10 all fared badly in the tests. Ford Figo and Volkswagen Polo showed "structural integrity", the report said.

The tests were carried out in Germany in the presence of the manufacturers and members of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) among others, to witness the crash tests of the cars. 

The Indian government recently announced that it had planned crash tests of all new cars in consultation with SIAM. Oscar Fernandes, federal minister for Road and Surface Transport, announced that the tests would be mandatory for all Indian cars.

A new modern facility to test cars is being set up in the southern city of Chennai and Fernandes said the road transport ministry had begun the process of setting up standards for India’s NCAP in the next one-and-a-half years.

India has a poor road record with some 500,000 road accidents leaving 140,000 dead annually, according to official reports.

Tata Motors, the manufacturer of Tata Nano, said it takes safety as a priority and would closely review the crash test findings, NDTV reported.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies