The global wave of automobile recalls hit India in a major way on Tuesday, with the country’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, announcing the recall of around 100,000 units of its hatchback A-Star following fuel tank problems.
The recall applies to units that were sold or exported from India between November 2008 and August 22 last year.
The recall is worldwide, but the model is made only in India. Approximately 40,000 units of the car in the domestic market and 60,000 units of those exported are covered in this recall, informed industry officials, though Maruti officially did not cite any number.
The A-Star recall comes on the heels of worldwide recalls of cars by Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen but the phenomenon is unusual in India.
Maruti said it detected, during routine quality checks last November, an “anomaly” in some fuel tanks that may lead to leakage and started the pro-cess of recall from December.
“These vehicles belonged to a lot made till 22nd August 2009. No problem has been reported by customers. However, as a proactive step, we decided to check all vehicles from the lot, around 100,000 units including those exported overseas. We are changing fuel pump gasket and O ring at no cost to customer,” the company said in a statement. The O ring is a component in the fuel tank.
Maruti said its component supplier would bear part of the recall costs, implying the shortcoming stemmed from faulty supplies. It did not name any supplier.
“This is not a design-related problem but a fault with the particular component,” a company spokesperson said. If the fault is in the design, that would involve an overhaul with significant implications for Maruti.
Though the company claimed its measure was “proactive,” it did not voluntarily disclose the recalls until media attention perked up this week, nearly two months after the first flaw was detected.
A-Star is Maruti’s premium export model with exports in excess of 100,000 units so far. About 1.75 lakh units of the car have been produced at the company’s Manesar factory.