Global NCAP chairman Max Mosley (yes, the infamous ex-FIA president) has called upon Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn to issue an urgent withdrawal of the Datsun GO from the Indian and related markets. This comes after the budget hatchback received an abysmal zero-star crash safety rating from the Indian-based Bharat New Car Assessment Program (Bharat NCAP).

“It is extremely disappointing that Nissan has authorised the launch of a brand new model that is so clearly sub-standard. As presently engineered, the Datsun GO will certainly fail to pass the United Nation’s frontal impact regulation. In these circumstances I would urge Nissan to withdraw the Datsun GO from sale in India pending an urgent redesign of the car’s bodyshell,” Max Mosley said.

To recap, the GO was crash tested without airbags, Isofix mounts, or even ABS – as it is sold in the Indian market. Though the lack of airbags did mean that the driver’s head made direct contact with the steering wheel and dashboard – with readings indicating a “high probability of life-threatening injuries” – Global NCAP deems that the failure of the bodyshell makes it redundant to fit an airbag.

For the record, the Indian-market Suzuki Maruti Alto 800, Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i10, Ford Figo, Tata Nano and Volkswagen Polo (all sold without airbags) received zero-star crash ratings from Bharat NCAP as well. However, Volkswagen then decided to offer the Polo for sale in India with two airbags as standard, and the model subsequently received a four-star safety rating.

A similar action by Datsun would not sufficiently improve occupant protection – as the problem lies with the unstable body structure itself, which collapsed in the crash test – hence Global NCAP’s call for a redesign of the GO’s bodyshell instead of the fitting of airbags.

The Datsun GO was unveiled in India in July 2013 – pricing for the five-door hatch, which is assembled in Chennai, begins from below 400,000 rupees (RM21,210). The car is also slated for Indonesia – it was shown at the IIMS in Jakarta last year alongside the GO+ MPV, which has already made its market debut as the GO+ Panca.