Automotive safety: Fire in the air

In our earlier pieces on automotive CSR ( here and here ) we asked – Can automotive companies look at CSR more strategically and come together to make our roads safer?

Two buses catching fire – one plying between Bangalore and Hyderabad and another plying between Bangalore and Mumbai) in less than two weeks brings the focus tightly back on consumers and their safety. While this is a recent incident, there have been several others across car / bus / 2 wheeler manufacturers.

These incidents raise some questions:

1. The CSR reports we studied mention Product Safety as a key focus area. And indeed it must be so as the prime purpose of automotive companies is to provide safe transportation. So, are enough safety measures taken to prevent such tragedies – many people lost lives in recent bus fire simply because the automatic doors wouldn’t open and the toughened windshield needed to be broken to let passengers out?

2. Where do the boundaries of manufacturers end and that of bus operators begin – mainly to deal with making changes in the vehicles. Also is it the responsibility of auto manufacturers to educate buyers about not making changes to the purchased vehicle and safe usage habits?

Where do automotive companies stand vis-à-vis customer/road safety? Simple innovative solutions plus strategic thinking about the consumers is the need from automotive companies.

Article coauthored with Utkarsh Majmudar and originally published in Economic Times.