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Old 15th June 2016, 11:17   #1
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Default Car recalls are on the rise in India!

Do a search for "recall" or "recalls" in the Indian Car Scene sub-forum, and you will be greeted by long lists:

Car recalls are on the rise in India!-untitled1.gif

Car recalls are on the rise in India!-untitled2.gif

A number which has steadily risen in the last 4-5 years. As of now, one of every four cars sold in the country is being recalled to fix a manufacturing defect.

According to statistics shared by Business Standard, over 2.2 million vehicles have been voluntarily recalled in the last 4 years. This, despite India not having a mandatory vehicle recall policy. To put those numbers in perspective, 2.78 million passenger vehicles were sold in FY 2015.

Recalls were happening even before SIAM introduced the voluntary recall code back in July 2012, but after that, there has been no dearth of recalls in the Indian auto industry.

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What's the reason behind this steep rise in recall numbers?

As the auto market keeps on expanding, car manufacturers continue to face stiff competition and in pursuit of a competitive price for their products, apply relentless squeezes on the component manufacturers for continuously cheaper localised parts, which in turn makes these vendors compromise on quality by cutting costs. This affects the the quality of inputs and the end-products become inconsistent, specially those from the small component vendors.

RC Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti-Suzuki:

There are possibilities of error as several component makers are involved. There are challenges in ensuring consistent quality supply from the Tier II component makers. Because of their small size and limited financial ability, these suppliers struggle to maintain quality in the event of rising production. We need to work towards upgrading the quality standards of small vendors.

It is these vendors which in most cases have to bear the cost of the free replacement of component during a recall. The dealerships and service stations too are burdened when a recall is executed. It is an unnecessary headache.”
Vinnie Mehta, Director General of Automotive Component Manufacturers Association:

The auto industry has to gradually move towards zero defects, implying no recall as it inflicts a huge cost on the component sector. Everybody in the value chain has to work towards zero defects and this also goes with the philosophy of making vehicles safer.

The component industry has to be wary of the fact that the cost of recall can be very high. Tier I manufacturers will have to play a key role in handholding Tier II component makers.”
Recalls involve extra costs by the companies. This affects those who have a limited dealership and service reach across the country. And, it is bothersome for car owners as well, despite the recalls being done at no extra cost to them. They have to take the time out of their busy schedules to take their vehicles to the nearest service station which, for some owners living in smaller towns, could be tough as the service center is located a long distance away in other bigger cities.

But then, a recall is not a favour done by a car company for it's customers. Awareness levels are continuously on the rise, and if a car maker does not take care of its customers, it will lose market.

BVR Subbu, former President of Hyundai Motor India:

Most such exercises were done through a service campaign. Car dealers would write to customers to visit for such campaigns. Now that the word recall has been tagged, it is getting noticed.

They do a recall to protect their brand and market. If manufacturing related fatalities happen in a vehicle, the brand will be pushed out.

There have been instances where the management of companies did not respond to serious manufacturing defects and the vehicle eventually got wiped out from the market. Insurance companies should make public the names of vehicles where maximum fatalities related to manufacturing defects take place.
Rakesh Srivastava, Senior Vice-President (sales and marketing),Hyundai:

"Currently, product recalls are largely a precautionary step towards ensuring desired stated quality. Customers are aware and take the recalls as corrective process towards ensuring a trouble-free product and thus most of them do not attach a stigma to it, rather many times it works in a positive way and their confidence in the brand goes up."

Last edited by RavenAvi : 15th June 2016 at 11:25.
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Old 15th June 2016, 12:06   #2
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Default Re: Car recalls are on the rise in India!

It is good that companies are doing official recalls as opposed to 'quiet fixing' during regular service or camps. Doing in the absence of a proper recall policy is also commendable.

But on the other hand, it seems to be an indication of the reducing quality of the cars coming out. Quality Control seems to have taken a dip. Whether this is due to competition, cost pressure or supplier quality issues is immaterial to the end customer. Manufacturers seem to be following an approach of 'We were doing QC at X level, now we will reduce to Y level'. If required we will then do a recall.

Recalling has almost become a fashion. Manufacturers are then praised for proactively finding, acknowledging and fixing issues. While that is commendable, the reasons that finally lead to such issues don't get visibility.
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Old 15th June 2016, 12:12   #3
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Default Re: Car recalls are on the rise in India!

While recalls have been on rise, I question: How ethical the whole process is?

Before you get me wrong, let me cite an example to bring in the context. Takata discovered in 2013 that several millions of its airbags might be faulty. It might have been produced since 2003 and would have gotten into as many cars, putting as many people at risk. Three years later, companies are still issuing recalls for faulty Takata airbags. How can they be so tardy in such a serious issue? And whom to blame for all the incidents/accidents since 2013 due to this tardy process? Now, there can be 3 possible cases to it:

Case 1:
Takata was slow in discovering the serial number of the affected airbags and the OEMs they were supplied to. But, in this age of IT and databases, this should be a matter of hours after the necessary tests are over to determine the affected batches. And they knew the airbags were from Takata's Monclova Plant in Mexico. It was an easy path to issue recalls or inform the OEMS. So, Takata is the culprit here.

Case 2:
OEM got the download from Takata about the airbag serial numbers ASAP and then it conducted its own tests to verify Takata's claim. Finally, it issued a recall. This shouldn't have taken 3 years. The OEM should have recalled these vehicles immediately.

Case 3:
Both Takata and OEM took their own sweet time to figure out the least expensive way out of the problem and then, issued recalls.

These airbags have been the cause of several deaths since 2003 (as Takata said the fault could have started 10 yrs prior to discovery in 2013. And as another thread states, these live bombs continue to tick in several of our cars even today. And the bomb disposal squads, meanwhile, are planning how to go about it.
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