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Old 20th March 2013, 12:18   #1
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Default Any Government body for car related complaints?

Does any dedicated government agency exist, in India, for us to report any automotive related complaints?

The search began, when I bumped in to this piece of news from China.

16 March 2013
China agency urges Volkswagen to recall vehicles
China’s consumer quality agency[the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)] on Saturdayurged German auto giant Volkswagen (VW) to recall vehicles with a gearbox defect that it said could lead to engine power failures.
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Chinese drivers have constantly been reporting having problems with DSG gearbox-powered VWs and Skodas since 2011. Common issues include spontaneous vibrations and noises when using the gearbox. There have also been reported incidents of the vehicles' engine not functioning properly or the drive system shutting off entirely. AQSIQ's Defective Product Center responded to these complaints by opening an investigation last March to get to the bottom of the issue. After over a year, AQSIQ has arrived at the conclusion that the DSG gearboxes are indeed defective and constitute a valid safety risk, and therefore must be recalled.

Ever since the problems first begin appearing, VW constantly denied that there was any such safety risk with the DSG gearboxes. While it would go on to supply software upgrades via its dealership network and extend warranties of DSG-equipped models, it constantly refrained from ordering a vehicle recall. Several automotive experts have hypothesized that VW kept from issuing a recall due to the instability of the core DSG technology. The manufacturer previously issued a recall of DSG-gearbox equipped VWs in the US in 2009.

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20 March 2013
Volkswagen recalls over 384,000 cars in China
SHANGHAI : Volkswagen AG, China’s largest foreign car-maker, will recall 384,181 cars in China to fix a long-standing gearbox problem, China’s quality watchdog said on Wednesday.
The recall will be effective from April 2, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China said in a statement on its website.
Volkswagen's local joint ventures beginning on April 2 will recall cars made or imported between December 2008 and March 2013, according to a General Administration of Quality Supervision statement posted on its website. The affected cars include imported and locally manufactured models, such as the Golf Variant, Cross Gold, Audi A3, Bora, Sagitar, Magotan, Touran, Octavia and Passat.
In US ,they have The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), an office within the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). ODI conducts defect investigations and administers safety recalls to support the NHTSA's mission to improve safety on our Nation's roadways. People over there can report any complaints that they face in their vehicles.

Their website says this

Why your complaint is important
Your complaint information will be entered into NHTSA-ODI's vehicle owner's complaint database and used with other complaints to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists.
  • If a safety-related defect exists in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer must provide a remedy at no cost to the owner. Your complaint is the first step in the process.
  • We do not have to receive a specific number of complaints before we look into a problem. We gather all available information on a problem. Your complaint is important to us.

Now two questions from my side.
  1. Do we have a similar [consumer centric] setup in India, which I think is very important for all of us, the automobile consumers?
  2. Do we have any DSG gearbox-powered VWs and Skodas in India?

Pic courtesy: http://www.livemint.com

Last edited by M35 : 20th March 2013 at 12:22.
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Old 20th March 2013, 13:29   #2
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Default Re: Does any dedicated government agency exist in India, for auto related complaints?

Mods note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to The International Automotive Scene.
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Old 20th March 2013, 13:57   #3
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Default Re: Does any dedicated government agency exist in India, for auto related complaints?

M35, very good topic! This issue did came up in discussions when SIAM announced the 'voluntary code of recall' in Jul'2012.

My 2 (rather 3) cents:
1. I do agree that an independent regulatory body should exist, so that recalls are not 'voluntary'.
2. Given the high level of corruption and non-transparency in India, a 'Govt agency' is possibly not the best solution. Neither is SIAM which would face conflict of interest.
3. An independent and more importantly trusted entity like team-bhp can possibly take this up and offer that database for people (including non-members) to log their automibile related complaints (about their own vehicles). For team-bhp, the scope could be limited to collection of complaint data, trend analysis and publishing the data & analysis. The data and analysis being in public domain, might influence buying decisions for prospective customers and that might just nudge the manufacturers to do something about those complaints.

Last edited by SDP : 20th March 2013 at 14:02.
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Old 23rd March 2013, 18:32   #4
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Default Re: Any Government body for car related complaints?

Yes SDP, its shame that we don't have a similar consumer quality watchdog in India. Even if we have one, we, the consumer wouldn't get benefited much from it, thanks to the heights of the corrupted bureaucratic system, we have here.But having something that is not satisfactory is better than having nothing at all.

Have a look at another instance where the china consumer quality watchdog urged Toyota to recall around 4400 FJ cruiser for some seat-belt flaws. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said that Toyota China will recall imported cars produced between December 2007 and March 2013, Xinhua News reported.Toyota is working on the solution to the flaw and will release improvement methods before April 15, the administration said.

It seems like, in China, car owners are advised to fill in a form with their complaints and submit it at their government website before any action is taken by them.

Since we don't have a similar set up in India, what we can do is to make maximum use of reputed online forums like TBHP to share problems faced with our vehicles and make them public.

We could even think of having dedicated threads/platforms for various manufacturers in India for the respective owners to share their bad experiences. We do have a few, up and running already. If we could organise them and have it put up on the TBHP home page, for the owners to post their complaints under their respective brands and those manufactures to notice them quickly as well.

Last edited by M35 : 23rd March 2013 at 18:38.
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