India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Limited on Friday announced it would recall 63,493 units of its mid-size sedan Ciaz and utility vehicles Ertiga and XL6 manufactured between January 1 and November 21, 2019 to inspect for a possible issue with the vehicles' motor generator unit.
The company said "the possible defect may have occurred in the MGU during manufacturing by an overseas global part supplier."
"Those (vehicles) found OK will be released immediately. Vehicles requiring replacement of faulty part will be retained for part replacement free of cost. Keeping in view customer convenience, Maruti Suzuki dealers may make alternate mobility arrangements in such cases, if required," the company said in a statement.
The Motor Generator Unit (MGU) is part of Maruti's smart hybrid vehicle system that is also offered on the S Cross and Baleno premium hatchback besides these three cars. The vehicles use start-stop system where the engine automatically shuts off when idling and uses a dual battery set up including a lithium-ion battery. The battery stores the energy generated during braking, which is otherwise lost in other cars, that is then used to assist the car's start-stop ignition system. The main function of the motor generator unit is to recharge the lithium-ion battery when braking and to assist the engine by providing additional torque when accelerating.
"Owners of the suspected vehicles under this recall campaign will be contacted by the company's dealers for inspection and if required, replacement of the faulty part. Alternately customers of suspected vehicles can also visit the company's website and fill in the chassis number (MA3 followed by 14 digit alpha-numeric number) on the computer screen to check if their vehicle needs any attention and follow the instructions," the statement said. "The chassis number is embossed on the vehicle ID plate and is also in the vehicle invoice/registration documents."
This is the second recall exercise that Maruti has initiated this year. Earlier in August, it had undertaken a recall program of 40,618 units of its small car Wagon R manufactured between November 15, 2018 and August 12, 2019 to inspect for a possible issue of fuel hose fouling with metal clamp.
It is also one of the largest recall exercises carried out by the company in India so far. In April 2013, it had recalled more than 100,000 units of its premium hatchback Swift, the compact sedan Dzire, and MPV Ertiga to fix a fault in the fuel neck filter. In September 2014, it had recalled another 69,555 units of the Swift, Ritz and Dzire to fix the wiring harness in the cars. Another 33,098 units of its bestselling small car Alto were recalled in March 2015 to fix defective door latches.
Once considered a bad word and symbolised poor manufacturing processes, product recalls have become routine in global automotive industry as machines have become more complex and prone to malfunctioning from even a minor oversight in the supply chain. They have also increasingly become a mark of more honest and transparent business practice as more and more companies have initiated recalls in recent times.
In July this year, Ford recalled 22,690 units of its SUV Endeavour produced at its Chennai factory over 10 years between February 2004 and September 2014 and around 30,000 units of the Freestyle, Figo and Aspire.
The biggest recall so far in India was carried out by General Motors in July 2015 when it conducted the exercise in 1.7 lakh units of the small car Beat. Ford has undertaken recalls the most number of times. In August 2012, it announced an inspection of over 125,000 cars in India for possible defect in the rear axle and a replacement of power steering hose that may result in fire in extreme cases. In September 2013, it had expanded the recall to cover around 1.65 lakh cars. Overall, Ford has recalled more than 300,000 cars in India in the last 15 years.
India does not have a mandatory policy for recalls yet but following an initiative to voluntarily call back vehicles for inspection suspected to be defective by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) in 2012, more than 2.5 million cars have been recalled in India so far. The dreaded word has since lost its sting.