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'Maruti slipped up by not revealing recall'


Maruti Suzuki Chairman R C Bhargava admitted the company had “slipped up” by not informing the press on the recall of 100,000 A-Star vehicles, which began last December, even as the market gave a thumbs up to the car maker with shares going up 2.38 per cent to close at Rs 1,368.65.

Bhargava said: “We slipped up and will be calling a press conference in the next two-three days to explain things. On hindsight, we should have informed the press, as we had communicated the problem with everyone who had been effected — customers and dealers, among others. There was no question of us hiding anything.”

R C Bhargava Bhargava said the company had written letters to all customers explaining the problem. He said in its earlier recall of some cars, Maruti had always informed the press of the action.

Maruti Suzuki had admitted on Tuesday it recalled all the 100,000 A-Stars manufactured before August 22, 2009, to replace faulty components that could cause fuel leakages. The A-Star was launched just 15 months ago and the recalls began in December.

Of all the A-Stars recalled, 60 per cent were sold abroad, while the rest to domestic customers. The vehicles recalled by Maruti include some Nissan Pixos as well. This is the same vehicle as the A-Star, but is rebadged as a Nissan product.

This is the largest recall by an Indian auto company. In fact, Maruti has surpassed its own record of recalling 76,000 Omnis in 2001.

Other car makers say they are upgrading their checking systems to ensure there are no defects. Toyota Kirloskar Motors Joint Managing Director (Marketing & Sales) Sandeep Singh said: “The concept of car checks is being upgraded to a more stringent level. We have taken additional steps to check every possibility of a fault. Quality of components is monitored at all levels to see that the situation seen in the international market does not happen here.”

Hyundai recalls Sonata model

Meanwhile, Hyundai announced on Wednesday that it was recalling over 47,000 units of the Sonata sedan, but only in the the Korean and US markets. The Hyundai recall comes on the heels of similar moves by Toyota and Honda. There are fears that this spate of global recalls may have an impact on the Indian market.

A Hyundai spokesperson in India allayed the fear, stating the Indian version is different from the car being recalled. “The recalled Sonatas are from the YF range, whereas India gets the Sonata Transform model,” the spokesperson clarified.

Asked whether customers were expressing any concerns, the spokesperson stressed: “We have not had a quality issue with our cars in the past decade since we have operated in India. There has been no recall during the period. The localisation content in our cars is much higher. For example, i10 and Santro have up to 95 per cent localisation levels.”