In one of its biggest safety recalls in India so far, country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd on Wednesday announced it was asking customers to bring back 134,885 units of its tall boy small car Wagon R and premium hatchback Baleno to its dealerships to fix a faulty fuel pump.
The cars that are covered in this round of recall are manufactured between November 15, 2018 and October 15, 2019. These cars have the 1 litre KB series petrol engine in the Wagon R and the 1.2 litre petrol engine in the Baleno. Diesel version of the Baleno or the 1 litre turbocharged petrol version are not affected.
"The Company will inspect 56,663 units of WagonR and 78,222 units of Baleno for a possible issue with the Fuel Pump. Faulty part will be replaced, free of cost," the company said in a statement. "Owners of the suspected vehicles under this recall campaign will be contacted by Maruti Suzuki authorised dealers in due course of time. Customers of suspected vehicles can also visit the 'Imp Customer Info' section on the Company websites www.marutisuzuki.com (for WagonR) and www.nexaexperience.com (for Baleno) and fill in their vehicles chassis number (MA3 or MBH, followed by 14 digit alpha-numeric number) to check if their vehicle needs any attention and follow the instructions. The chassis number is embossed on the vehicle ID plate and is also mentioned in the vehicle invoice / registration documents."
A fuel pump is located inside the fuel tank of a car and controls the supply of petrol to the engine. Any malfunction can lead to loss of performance and efficiency in the engine. Though the chances of a fire are minimal, it cannot be ruled out.
Last month, Japanese car major Honda Cars India had also recalled 65,651 units of a range of its cars manufactured in 2018 to replace a similar faulty fuel pump. Honda had said its pumps may contain defective impellers that could over time result in the engine of the car stopping or not starting. Maruti has not elaborated on the type of defect it is investigating on the pumps fitted in the cars.
Once considered a bad word that 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 December last year, Maruti had recalled 63,493 units of its mid size sedan Ciaz and utility vehicles Ertiga and XL6 to inspect the motor generator units. In July last 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.