In the largest ever recall by any Indian car maker, market leader Maruti Suzuki on Tuesday said it was calling back one lakh A-Star, the company’s flagship export model, to replace a faulty fuel pump gasket.
The replacement will be done at no cost to the customer and will help check possible fuel leak, although no complaints have been received from customers, the company said.
“As a proactive step, we decided to check all vehicles from the lot, around one lakh units including those exported overseas,” a spokesperson of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said. This is the largest recall exercise in the Indian automotive industry to-date.
MSI had earlier recalled its hatchback Swift in 2005 to change bolts to reduce the front suspension noise in Swift petrol and in 2007 electronic control units of Swift diesel. It had also replaced speedometers in M800 and Omni in 2008.
The company has so far changed the gasket in about 50,000 units of its fifth global model A-Star. The model was launched on November 19, 2008, and the 998cc K10B petrol engined car is produced only in India at its Manesar facility. The recalled vehicles belong to a lot made till August 22 last year, the spokesperson said.
Last month, Japanese auto major Honda recalled 8,532 units of its sedan City in India due to defective power window switch as part of a global recall initiative. Meanwhile, the company's stock tanked 4.44 per cent to Rs 1,320.25 on the BSE. It later settled at Rs 1,336.85, down 3.24 per cent over previous close.
“At Maruti Suzuki, we constantly monitor quality of our products through feedback and internal analysis. In one such exercise in November, 2009, we came across an anomaly reported in the fuel tank in some of the vehicles and by December, 2009, we started contacting the customers through letters,” the MSI spokesperson said.
A-Star is currently exported to about 70 countries and is sold as Suzuki Alto in Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Besides, some of the other major markets are Chile, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria and UAE, where it is sold as Suzuki Celerio. Japanese car major Nissan also sells A-Star in the European market under a contract manufacturing agreement with MSI's parent Suzuki. Nissan sells the model as Pixo.
In December last year, A-Star had crossed the one-lakh mark of overseas shipments in less than a year of selling the car in the global markets. The company started export of the car since January, 2009 and is expecting to double export to near 140,000 units this fiscal on the back of robust demand for A-Star.
The final cost for this replacement would be shared with the supplier partner after completion of the entire exercise, the company said.