Reacting to consumer complaints of insufficient cooling, Italian carmaker Fiat has started replacing air conditioning kits in the petrol-powered variants of its small car Grande Punto and the sedan based on it — the Linea. But it says the act is not really a recall for repairs.Fiat started the process, under which customers are being contacted by its dealerships and offered the replacements free of cost, in October 2010. The drill is expected to complete by March 2011. The company told Hindustan Times that this does not amount to a "recall" and is merely a goodwill gesture to redress a consumer complaint.
The Turin-based firm has already replaced the old AC kits with the new one at its Ranjandgaon plant in October so the cars produced since then come with the new ACs fitted.
“This is a goodwill gesture on our part where we are acting proactively to a minor issue we felt in the air conditioning system of all petrol powered Punto and Linea,” said the Fiat India spokesperson.
“We received complaints mostly from the north and some western parts of the country that the ACs were not cooling the cabin adequately in temperatures of over 40 degrees. Hence all those customers in those regions are being contacted individually and offered this free of cost upgrade.”
The exercise does not cover diesel power-train vehicles as Fiat says it has not received any complaint on them. The firm also did not divulge details of the number of cars where such an upgrade has been affected.
Until the end of September 2010, Fiat had sold around 21,000 units of the Linea and 20,000 units of the Punto. Around half of them were of the petrol variant, which may be covered in the current exercise.
In October 2010, HT had reported that Fiat was facing complaints on poor performance of the ACs in the two cars. The company had, however, then refused to respond to the queries.
Though no carmaker officially recalls its vehicles in India due to the lack of compelling regulations, car companies such as Maruti Suzuki, Honda Siel and Toyota replaced parts in their cars last year in a method similar to what Fiat is doing now.