The truth about auto recalls, is it fake?

1,350 Views Updated: 10 Sep 2016
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The truth about auto recalls, is it fake?

The practice of specific car models being recalled by the manufacturer is not new to India. In recent times, a slew of automobile recalls of prominent models sold in India by high profile manufacturers including Honda, Maruti, Toyota, and Chevrolet have shaken the customer's confidence and trust in the capability of the car makers, administrative bodies and governments to guarantee the safety and overall quality of vehicles sold. Is there is a requirement for forming a vehicle recall committee by the Indian government to analyze and approve the quality and reliability of automobiles sold in India?

Automotive recall 

The automotive recall is a call back of a specific model or models of cars by a manufacturer which do not conform to quality standards committed to the buyer at the time of purchase. While few recalls, if not implemented promptly, could imperil the safety of customers, other recalls are warranted on account of environmental, cultural or social issues.

Indian automotive industry and vehicle recall

With respect to automobiles, it is a widely accepted fact that Indian auto manufacturers have a general tendency to use the loopholes in motor legislation to their advantage and do not endeavor to either teach the customers about the implications and consequences of vehicle recalls. Hence, most manufacturers don't have the expertise or readiness to handle automobile recalls. 

Vehicle recalls in the car industry have brought up several queries and serious doubts about the safety measures and quality checks employed by the automobile manufacturers to ensure the quality of their products. Rules and regulations in India relating to vehicle recalls are not hard and fast without any well-defined pertinent policies. Case in point, the IMV (Indian Motor Vehicles) Act of 1988 has no provision to deal with automobile recalls. SIAM or the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers with their voluntary recall guidelines is the lone regulatory body dealing with vehicle recalls in the automobile industry.

No concrete enforceable regulations or rules to stringently deal with automotive recalls has left a tremendous policy gap in the country. Though there has been an expansion in general media investigation to guarantee that organizations satisfy minimum compliance standards, the absence of regulatory norms has consigned automobile recalls in India to the position of after sales activity of a manufacturer.

As per the Road Transport and Safety Bill proposed in 2015, there is a notice of the creation of a National Road Safety, Vehicle Regulation Authority to supervise automobile recalls. The drafted bill goes on about circumstances where the authority can obligatorily order a recall of specific car models with manufacturing defects that can hazard an occupant’s safety. Besides, the drafted bill as per section 290 has proposed a penalty up to Rs. 1 Lakh along with the authority to order the detainment of the chiefs of a defaulting company for a maximum of 3 months for failing to issue a voluntary recall of a defective model.

Daily news articles bring up the increase in recurrence of cases including manufacturing flaws in current generation automobiles raising concerns over the safety of cars sold in the ever expanding  Indian automotive sector. In 2011, Honda India recalled close to 72,000 units of the City, to replace defective power window switch. The nation's biggest auto producer, Maruti Suzuki issued a recall of nearly 13,000 units of their highly popular compact models, Swift, Ritz and Dzire to examine and sort out engine imperfections. The complete list of manufacturers who have issued a recall of millions of defective car models to customers is exhaustive.

Worldwide best practices 

It is vital that the administrative body mooted in India adopts specific best practices from the worldwide car fraternity to guarantee its relevance and taken seriously by Indian car manufacturers. Subsequently see that organizations may in light of a legitimate concern for their brand image, issue voluntary vehicle recalls. However without there being an obligatory necessity, most recalls go unnoticed. The formation of a general government administrative body with the authority to undertake penal action is absolutely crucial. 

It is imperative that the administration thinks of an exhaustive legislation and policy on automobile recalls. This ought to cover the commitment of car makers or their offices as far as vehicle design, labeling, packaging, and recognizing circumstances that warrant mandatory recall, fines for neglecting recalls, correctional action for repeated vehicle recalls, and streamlining the process of settlement of claims made by impacted consumers.

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cars sold in India are safe and reliable. 

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