Here’s Mahindra’s official reply to the recent XUV500 crash at Surathkal, Karnataka

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Added in: Mahindra

Mahindra XUV500 - 7

A week ago we brought you news of a Mahindra XUV500 aquaplaning (follow the link for the images and more details) and rolling over with five occupants inside, near the town of Surathkal in Karnataka. Thankfully, all of the SUV’s occupants are fine for the most part – with minor injuries – although one of the ladies suffered a slipped disc in the accident.

As news of this accident spread on motoring blogs and forums, including our very own – there were a lot of queries as to why none of the airbags deployed. This was a top-end W8 variant of XUV 500 that came with all the bells and whistles, and yet its ABS, EBD, side airbags, and roll over mitigation either didn’t work, or weren’t able to lessen the impact of the crash.

We reached out to Mahindra and they have now responded to both our – as well as the unlucky owner’s – query regarding the accident. This is what the official statement from India’s top UV maker reads:

  1. Based on information we have gathered till date, and as you have also correctly concluded in your email, the cause of the accident appears to be “aquaplaning” which has resulted in toppling of the vehicle. The Electronic Stability Control (ESP) as a function, uses selective braking of wheels to stabilize the vehicle during “under steering” and “over steering” situations. Typically, during an “aquaplaning” situation, contact between wheel and ground, would be lost temporarily, resulting in loss of traction preventing the vehicle from responding to control inputs. Hence in aquaplaning situations, ESP will not be able to play any meaningful role. From the images, it appears that both of the rear tyres are completely worn out. It is well established that vehicle dynamics are significantly dependent on the condition of the tyres. Worn tires, especially bald ones, can easily lose traction on wet roads, where the grooves aren’t deep enough    to channel water out from beneath the tread resulting in “aquaplaning” situations.  We also note from the images that the original tyres have been replaced, though we are not at this time able to ascertain the specifications of the replacement tyres used or as to how this aspect could have contributed to the “aquaplaning”. As a technical person, I would urge that in the interest of safety, please always use tyres meeting specifications recommended by the manufacturer and which are in good condition, especially when driving in bad weather conditions.
  1. The XUV 500 is equipped with front and side airbags. Front airbags would deploy only during frontal impact condition at specified speeds. In this case, there is no damage seen in the front of the car. As there was no frontal impact the front airbags had not deployed. Side Airbags too are designed to deploy in case of acceleration due to impact.  Since the toppling was caused due to “aquaplaning” situation and not due to side impact collision, the side airbags also would not have deployed in this case.
  1. In our experience, in accidents of such kind, it is the safety cage integrity and seat belt usage that play the most significant role in reducing injuries and risk to life and that aspect of XUV 500 design seems to have significantly contributed to avoiding any serious injury in this unfortunate accident.

We wish to assure you that we at Mahindra, always consider safety as our top most priority. Our customer Care team will be in touch with you to further investigate this accident.

Is that explanation satisfactory enough for you? Do let us know your views via comments sections below, or give us a shoutout on one of the social networks. We are always listening to you.

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  • rajkumar says:

    I am satisfied with the company’s reply. Since there was no collusion or impact from front or side, the airbags would not have opened.

  • Shalin Dhumal says:

    Be on the receiving end and then lets see who u blame. And as far as “road clearance or certifications” goes, EURO NCAP rated structurally unstable cars such as Swift & Datsun Go are boldly sold in Indian market.
    Also as extreme Off-roading is concerned show me a single case where they have been done at speeds higher enough for any of the safety features to play a role . No offense but please get your facts right before claiming XUV to be a brilliant car.

  • Shalin Dhumal says:

    Lets start with ESP, looks like the ESP algorithm used by Mahindra is basically flawed as it only intervenes in events of understeer or oversteer caused by driver inputs thus not taking into account situations where vehicle instability is caused by loss of traction. This is a shame as if u read basic definition it says “ESP is a computerized technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding)”. Looks like Mahindra has to get their basics right.
    Now about the airbags, the argument for front airbags does make some sense but that for side airbags is complete and utter nonsense. Airbags works of impact sensors and when the car toppled it must have landed on d side too (image shows d side to be completely totaled) so how is that the curtains airbags didn’t deploy. Again the basic software programming of these electronic aids are to be blamed.

  • Abhi says:

    LOL… In India if demand is more then supplier is least bothered about the existing users…What matters is the sales target…Things like these are hardly going to affect the sales of the product…If this was some German company then they would have first inspected the incident by physical visit and wouldn’t have given the justification just by looking at the photos…And after physical inspection if they would have found that their product was faulty then they would have put their all efforts to make sure that something like this will never repeat…