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Why car recalls are not a bad thing

April 02, 2014 10:31 IST

Why car recalls are not a bad thing

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In the last three years, car recalls have been taking place on a regular basis in India. Maruti recalled 1,492 vehicles comprising Ertiga, Swift, Dzire & A-Star models in November 2013 to fix defective steering column free of cost.

Prior to that Ford India had recalled 166,000 units of its hatchback, the Figo, and sedan, Fiesta Classic.

So should we get worried that nowadays cars are not built as solid as they used to be? A recall doesn't mean that the vehicle is substandard.

Image for representation purpose only.

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Image: Maruti Suzuki Swift. The company had recalled only 592 Swift.
Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki
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The Automotive Research Association of India does a thorough check of all vehicles and if during these tests parts work to perfection, then the cars are cleared. But often, due to day-to-day wear and tear, problems crop up.

Most of these are niggles and when cars are recalled to rectify these, they are fixed within a day, more if the problem is complicated.

This practice has been followed in the West ever since cars were built. But due to the lack of awareness among customers and the media in India, 'recall' has become a dreaded word.

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Image: Swift Dzire. The company had recalled only 581 Dzire.
Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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Why car recalls are not a bad thing

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Manufacturers around the world build their cars with the best intentions in mind, spending crores in advertisements and promotions and the brand image which is more valuable than the car itself.

What would a carmaker do in such a situation which can lead to bad publicity? Car makers are learning from their mistakes. Toyota, for example, has implemented some ideas like ‘Poka Yoke’ which means ‘mistake proofing’, in their manufacturing process.

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Image: Ford EcoSport. The company had recalled 972 units of EcoSport diesel.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ford

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Why car recalls are not a bad thing

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Here are a few reasons for recall:

1. Sometimes it happens that braking material used for certain tropical areas may fail to comply in other higher or lower temperature areas.

2. The fuel ignition components fitted in are fragile in nature.

3. Sometimes companies may adopt the same power train for SUV and hatchback. For instance, a successful power-train designed for the hatch may not work in an SUV that needs higher ground clearance.

There are many more reasons but in majority of cases it’s the developed for one geography fail to meet the climatic conditions another.

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Image: Ford Figo. Ford had recalled Figo in 2013.
Photographs: Courtesy, Ford
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Why car recalls are not a bad thing

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Here are some reasons why companies recall their cars:

Gaining back trust: The most important and obvious reason for recalls is to gain back customers’ trust.

Many car manufacturers believe that such recalls bring in transparency between the car company and the customer as it is a progressive way forward in ironing out problems.

If company recalls the vehicle after some fault in the machinery, they are not only keeping the brand image intact but also telling customers that they are ready to serve customers no matter what it takes.

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Image: Renault Scala. Renault had recalled Scala last year.
Photographs: Courtesy, Renault.
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Dedication to minimise errors: There are times when committing same mistakes again and again could be frustrating.

But if the car makers are devoted to reduce these malfunctions, customers are willing to overlook minor errors.

The famous saying ‘burnt child dreads the fire’ is well suited for General Motors, which has learnt from its mistakes over years.

Toyota, on the other hand, has topped the recalls this year again despite its quality control efforts. So no matter how big the company is or how big the customer base it has, if they are not careful in their manufacturing process, they are bound to commit mistakes.

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Image: Renault Pulse. Renault had recalled Pulse last year.
Photographs: Courtesy, Renault.

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When there is a recall, the dealer calls the customer or buyer too can check if your vehicle is on the recall list and go to the nearest dealer to fix the issue.

The customer does not need to pay any money for fixing the part. The entire cost is borne by the company.

However, faulty parts are not always unintentional. The government pulled up General Motors because the company had manipulated Tavera’s specifications to meet emission norms, and then went for a recall.

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Image: Chevrolet Tavera. GM had recalled the SUV last year.
Photographs: Courtesy, Chevrolet.

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