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Last Updated : Sep 16, 2019 09:30 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

No more underreporting of faulty vehicle data, thanks to new Motor Vehicle Act

More than 2.12 lakh two-wheelers, cars and sports utility vehicles have been recalled between January-August by more than a dozen manufacturers

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb

The first eight months in 2019 have seen automotive companies recall more than 85 percent of the total vehicle recalls done in 2018.

More than 2.12 lakh two-wheelers, cars and sports utility vehicles have been recalled between January-August by more than a dozen manufacturers that make scooters, sedans, hatchbacks and luxury car models.

The recalls in 2019 were made to address critical issues such as untimely inflation of airbags or a malfunction in its deployment, air-conditioning failure, incorrect instrument cluster readings, abnormal vibrations, issues with wiring harness and batteries and less critical ones like software update.

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At the current pace of growth the number of recalls expected to be made in 2019 will surpass the total number of recalls done in 2018 which stood at 2.5 lakh. In 2017, only 80,000 vehicles were recalled as per industry information.

While recall announcements by some manufacturers are made publicly the data for recall of other manufacturers are not available even on the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturer’s (SIAM) e-portal. As a result only less than half of the total recalls seen by the industry this year is available on the SIAM website.

But, with the adoption of the new Motor Vehicle Act that was brought into force from September 1, it will become difficult for automotive companies to avoid making an announcement of recalls as the Centre will keep a record of it. The Motor Vehicle Act has been in the news for prescribing multi-fold increase in fines for driving habits, drivers and vehicle owners.

“Where a manufacturer notices a defect in a motor vehicle manufactured by him, he shall inform the Central Government of the defect and initiate recall proceedings and in such case the manufacturer shall not be liable to pay fine,” states the Act.

Moreover, the act empowers the government to direct manufacturers to enforce a recall in the event of a failure on part of the manufacturer to do so. The government may cite examples of vehicle defects from certain percentage of owners or a vehicle testing agency to justify the recall.

The sections 110A and 110B relating to recall were newly added after an outcry over the fact that India being the fifth largest car market and the largest two-wheeler market in the world did not have an official recall policy. The Act also empowers vehicle buyers to seek full refund of the cost of the vehicle or a total replacement.

Till date, manufacturers were only following a mutually-agreed voluntary recall code drafted by their apex lobby body SIAM. Buyers were, thus, left handicapped if the vehicle supplied to them was faulty or did not meet the commitments made on them.

“A manufacturer whose vehicles are recalled shall (a) reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the motor vehicle, (b) replace the defective motor vehicle with another motor vehicle of similar or better specifications which complies with the standards specified under this Act or repair it; and (c) pay such fines and other dues,” the act mentions.

Brands that have not found any mention of a recall on the SIAM website are FCA India’s 11,000 units recalls of Jeep Compass, Harley-Davidson’s Street 750 unspecified units recall, Honda’s 50000 units recall of the Aviator and Activa 125, Grazia and CB Shine, Ford India’s over 52000 units recall of the Freestyle, Figo, Endevour and Aspire.

Maruti Suzuki's Wagon R remains the model with the largest recall so far in 2019 with 40,618 units being recalled followed by Jeep Compass with 11,000 units recalled.

 

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First Published on Sep 16, 2019 12:21 pm
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