New Delhi: A legal notice has been served to leading car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki asking the company to explain why the safety airbags in a Swift Dzire model which meant to open during collisions, failed to function during a specific accident. The car is equipped with two airbags that are supposed to prevent injuries during an accident.

Major Rahul Soni, who is a legal officer of the Indian Army, served the notice to the company after his Swift Dzire ZDi met with an accident on December 8 last year.

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.

“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 said.

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.

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.

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.

He added that after the first legal notice served on December 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 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.”


(Agencies)